I voted this morning before going to work. I figured it’d take 30 minutes or so. There’s often a line at my polling place (the same polling place as Sean and Caryn, though I’m in a different precinct) because it seems most of us vote before work. I figured I’d finally take advantage of that law that entitles me to up to two hours off of work to vote.
I got there and the line was out the door, down the walkway of the Boy’s Club and up the sidewalk. I counted about 30 people in line in front of me. When I left about 35 minutes later, I counted 50 people in line. Granted, it was two precincts and it seems that the Orange table had more people than that Green table.
Things I thought cool:
– Parents had kids with them. A full 20% of the people there had one or more infants and/or toddlers in tow. Now, my parents were faithful voters and I volunteered at the polls when I was a teen, but I have no recollection of actually accompanying my parents into any polling place while they voted.
– The pollworkers were in a good mood. Sometimes you go in there and you get the guy who’s hard of hearing and feel a little uncomfortable shouting your personal information for dozens of people to hear. Today everything went smoothly and I didn’t notice anyone having any trouble.
– Dots are the same as punchcard. Please look at your ballot when you’re done. I noticed that one of mine was only marked with a crescent, not a full dot and I was able to correct it before dropping my ballot in the box. I don’t know if the little mark on mine would have been read or not, but don’t take any chances if you feel strongly about voting.
– The pollworkers were great at handling people who were new. One fellow came in who not only wasn’t sure if he was in the right place (the line worker showed him a map and asked diplomatically if he lived within the shaded area). He was taken to the right table (green, which had less of a line) and the pollworker explained the ballot process with a little sample system in front of him.
– Have a cheat sheet or your sample ballot filled out as a courtesy to those in line behind you. Standing around reading everything and contemplating the fiscal impact while in the booth is your right, but it’s not necessarily polite. Besides you’ve got all that time in line!
UPDATE: Our polling place must have had a mad rush for day-job folks. At 10:30 the lines were respectably at the door.