Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day Dispatches

Brother Tim writes from his polling place in Vienna, Virginia:
I did my shift this morning at the polls and several things struck me. First, every 90 minutes to 2 hours, several of the Obama reps came outside with lists of the people who had voted so far. They matched up those names with the lists they had of prospective voters for Obama. By keying names via cell phones into a central computer bank, they were able to quickly determine who had voted and who hadn't. Those who hadn't made it to the polls yet where to be called or even visited in-person. That's what my son was doing later in the day in Vienna -- going door to door for the third straight day.
I was outside, handing out Democratic sample ballots. Of course, not everybody took one. But some people who turned me down going into the poll asked for one coming out. Why? They wanted to hang on to it for historical reasons.
However this shakes out, it will be a memorable night. Either we elect the first person of color to the highest elected position in the land or a genuine war hero mounts the most impressive comeback since Truman beat Dewey a generation ago. Whoever wins is going to need our thoughts, prayers and best intentions. That's what I wrote about in my USA Today column that will appear tomorrow.
Enjoy the wild ride. This has indeed been one for the history books.
Voting in Leland was much less dramatic. There was no line and no last minute campaigning. I was approached twice because I was wearing a button, but it was only Anna's basketball picture so they let it go. There were poll watchers who were marking off names on a voter list when you came through. Ir took 15 minutes to fill out all those bubbles, even though I skipped the unopposed. On the way out we wondered aloud why people in other places had to wait hours to vote, and that voting means so much that people will wait for hours. I was standing outside talking with the neighbors about giving them some creeping thyme when we realized that someone was waiting for their parking place, so we moved on.

Local election results will be posted on the county website as soon as they come in. Liz will send us an account of her night at Grant Park, also.

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