Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tales from the polls

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 3:24 PM

I knew when I headed to the library that I needed to be prepared to wait. Last week, I’d talked to people standing in line to early vote and was in awe of their calmness. We’re an instant gratification society and waiting to do something is what we do in the microwave era

I made it to the Beatties Ford Road Public Library at 12:45 p.m. The line was already spilling out onto the sidewalk, but they were taking people in eight at a time. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. I’d already driven past three other spots looking for a short line. Didn’t find one, so I figured it was best to stop already.

Surprisingly, there were no Republican party members out on Beatties Ford Road, but the Democrats were there suggesting to people they should vote for. I didn’t want to carry a bunch of papers in my hand, so when the sweet lady who was politicking for her party came over to me, I told her; “would you be mad if I told you I’m not a Democrat?

For a minute she looked taken back, but she replied with, “Well, it doesn’t matter, I’m just glad you’re voting. So, you don’t need this paper, huh?”

And when she moved on to the next person in line, I started thinking, why aren’t all of the parties out here? I’m sure there may have been a few GOP supporters in the line. For the record, I’m not a Republican either. As the line and the wait grew, I expected people to get a little tense, but this was the most peaceful group of people I’ve ever been around. There was no grumbling, everyone was willing to wait.

Even the CMPD officer stationed in the parking lot looked to be having a good time talking to voters and holding the door for people as they exited the library. Once you made it from outside, guess what happened next, more waiting

The election workers lined us against the wall and admonished us to keep quiet because we were in the library. OK. When you finally entered the room where the voting machines were, you sit down in front of an election worker and give your name and address. Then you have to read a white slip of paper that informs you a straight party vote doesn’t mean you’ve voted for the president

North Carolina has taken some heat for the design of it’s ballot.

Once it is verified that you are an eligible voter, you’re given a piece of paper and another line to stand in

There is certainly a lot of waiting in this early voting process, which I thought was supposed to cut down the time that you wait.

Finally, it was time to vote. And though the ballot is eight pages, it doesn’t take that long to get through it if you studied a sample ballot beforehand.

So, how long did it take me to cast my vote? About 1 hour and 15 minutes -- just enough time to make it to Starbucks for an espresso.

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