Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Megatron Tuesday

(title idea courtesy of Erza Klein, image from Wikipedia)

Rather than trying to predict this time, since it seems the polls are all over the place, I am going to give you some anecdotes to give this historic day some flavor.

Today, my wife got up at 5:30 a.m. to opening up our polling place. That's right, ours will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. meaning she was there from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Her job is to make sure those touch screen voting machines work and that people know how to use them. I have asked her to tell me how many times she has to replace the paper rolls (our machines have an auditable paper ballot verification)--each roll contains approximately 250 votes. She told me that Mayor Ralph Becker already voted there this morning, which makes sense since his public schedule starts at 8 a.m. I wonder who he voted for, some of his endorsees--Sen. Scott McCoy and Pete Ashdown--have endorsed Obama, so I guess that is as good a guess as any.

I got up about two hours later and took our little McCain supporter on a walk to our polling place. It was about 15-20 degrees outside. My wife and her co-workers for the day said I could bring him in and she got to show off our dog to her new friends while I voted. Turnout was extremely light when I got there, around 8:15. To my surprise, I was listed as "unaffiliated" so I am going to have find out from Sherrie Swenson's people if I have to re-register my party affilation every time or what. Balloting was pretty simple, but none of the also-rans are off the ballot. This puts Obama at a disadvantage because his name is way down on the list, since it is alphabetical, whereas Hillary Clinton is listed towards the top. Tom Tancredo had a notice in the polling area that he dropped out, but I guess his name was still on there.

Anyway, as I left, a man from the New York Times approached me. It wasn't an exit poll per se, but more of a "gee, our website has much more features than just the print newspaper digitized" feel to it. Using a fancy pocket recorder he asked my name, my age, my occupation, what issue was most important to me, and why I voted the way I did. Since I said foreign policy/Iraq, he asked me how long troops should be in there, if I favored a timetable etc. After that, he asked if he could take my picture. Too bad I had my glasses on and was tired and wearing a hat...and that my dog wasn't in the pic (he was in my arms). My best guess is that the picture and sound clip might end up here. But really I have no clue.

Still, it is so great to have national papers care about what Utahns think without the standard "Mormons think" story. Speaking of which, I think it is very cool that President Monson picked a German dude to be in his second counselor. As someone who had a host father also named Dieter, it is nice. Also, it is a good way to show that the Church is international, and not just some Utahn or American religion.

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