Kate's Voting Experience: November 2016

Kate's Take-Away, 11/9/2016: Absolutely seriously, my biggest take-away is Google did a lovely job on the live election figures, map, referenda (and isn't it nice that someone at Google knows the difference between referendum and referenda?) and all. Seriously.

Will Trump be as obnoxious as a president as he was a candidate? Maureen Dowd says presidents are often quite different in office than on the campaign trail. He may end up being really boring, which will disappoint the press.

My thought: good programming is often considered a given in our world--that doesn't mean it shouldn't be appreciated. Kudos, Google!

* * *
I'll get the big stuff out of the way first: I voted for someone other than Trump and Clinton; then I voted on a number of bond issues; then I wrote in names for all the positions like Water Board Inspector.

On non-National Election years, only the nearest booths
are set up.
I voted this morning before driving up to Central Maine Community College--around 8:45. I vote at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. As usual, I had to run the gauntlet of petitioners. This is, unfortunately, typical for Merrill Auditorium: people with petitions plus the occasional spouse of a candidate crowd around the voting entrance. It is impossible to enter without dealing with them. Today, for the first time, I informed two of the petitioners that I thought their being there inappropriate. Voting should take place without any form of pressure or harassment, no matter how well-meant. (For the record, I have no idea what the petitions were for--I think voting areas should be kept clear on principle.)

One of the petitioners informed me that she had been given legal permission to be there.

"I don't agree with that," I told her.

Once I entered, things got more enjoyable. First of all, there were nearly four times as many people as usual. This is my third National Election voting at Merrill Auditorium; I always vote around the same time, and it's the first time I've ever had to wait in line.

I'm a "W" so I got moved along fairly quickly. The man who took my name was very careful to make sure I was who I said I was. There were also twice as many observers/helpers. When I finished filling in the little ovals on the paper ballots (oh, so that's what taking the SATs prepared me for!), I feed the ballots into the electronic counter while being observed--but not helped--by an aide. She absolutely refused to press the Acceptance or Return buttons on the screen. *I* had to do it.

Vigilance is the name of the game!

Unfortunately, the stickers hadn't arrived yet--so I voted but can't brag about it visually.

So here's my brag :)

I'll add my little soap box here: I know it's de rigueur these days to decry modern society, but I woke up to a quiet city. Even the petitioners outside Merrill were no more exasperating than usual. Despite silly people defriending each other on Facebook, I've witnessed little face-to-face obnoxiousness. No one--from my students to my landlord--has pressured me personally about whom I might vote for. I saw no rioters or even angry citizens on my way to work, and all the voters at Merrill Auditorium were friendly, talkative, and good-natured.

History--even in America--has produced worst voting days. In other places, it's produced terrible days Americans can't even imagine. There's a lot to be said for a reasonably civilized process.


Henry said...

I was asked for my middle initial. That's a first.

Anonymous said...

What surprised me this election is how little campaigning there was. Granted, Maryland is a Clinton state. But while Trump supporters put up big signs - I mean HUGE signs - in their yards, there were few Clinton signs. Generally speaking there were fewer signs than usual and and fewer TV and radio ads than usual. My initial assessment is the enthusiasm for Clinton is just not there. What this means in the big picture I don't know.

Funny anecdote, on Sunday afternoon we drove to Allentown PA to see Emma perform in her last band competition. This drive took us through a lot of rural PA - meaning lots of Trump signs. But the sign that caught our attention - and Justin was reading them to entertain himself - were the ones for Bill Neff. He had hundreds of signs posted along the roadway and for what? To ask people to write him in for Congress! I suppose if you had a few thousand dollars to waste then spending it on a write-in campaign for yourself would at least give you a fun story to tell.