This election cycle has had a pleasant build-up, as sexy stickers go: no fault absentee voting (a.k.a. "early voting") has shown a pleasant lead-in to today's frenzy of stickers.
Get a picture of yourself with your sticker today. . . Maybe tomorrow we'll have a post for sexy "I Voted" stickers (and yes, your sticker counts, even if it says something other than "I Voted," so long as it's what you wear to show you voted)?
This morning, I braved the lines as I have in the past. I arrived at my polling place at 6:15 AM, and was greeted with a line longer than the one I encountered in 2004. Settling in for a long wait, I had my brand new copy of the Rgveda (Griffith's complete translation, finally!) with me, and as I watched dawn prepare to break over the gymnasium I was to vote in, I read two hymns: RV IV.51 and RV IV.52, both about Usas, the dawn. I wasn't really planning to read them (they're hymns I have not often read), but they were wonderfully appropriate for this election and this time of year, and my book sort of fell open to these two hymns this morning.
The first hymn states that "the far-refulgent Mornings, Daughters of Heaven, bring welfare to the people."
And the second, "thou layest bare the gloom with light."
No matter who is elected, change will come. I'm positive of that. I'm not so sure whether the change will be good or bad, or even if I can be certain that one candidate will manage better than the other, should he be elected. Today is the first blush of that changing dawn, though, and I felt blessed to be part of it.
I waited in line for an hour and a half total. As there was four years ago, there was confusion about which school to vote in. This year, they started telling people about the other polling place at 6:30 AM, however, instead of waiting until 8 AM.
The key difference between this year and 2004, however, was that in 2004 there were four voting machines, and in 2008 there were ten. Franklin County has nearly doubled the number of voting machines this year, which is what we ought to have done in 2004, when voter turnout was projected by the then-Secretary of State at 73% (instead, he moved machines from Democratic areas to Republican areas with a net increase of 13 machines). In addition, paper ballots were also offered to anyone wishing to use those instead, which decreased wait time.
While there was some normal confusion at the polls (no matter what, things can't go smoothly), the lines moved reasonably fast and I didn't notice any of those dreaded "irregularities" that I noted last time. The law against campaigning at the polls was enforced somewhat erratically, but probably most appropriately: even sample ballots from political parties were banned from being shown in the voting area, but we were informed we could take them out once we were in the booth. Perhaps the most annoying part of the whole thing was the fact that they weren't registering people fast enough (they had little old ladies at the registration desk, squinting at the small-print books), and so there were times when voting booths were actually vacant for a short time while the line was still about an hour long.
People came out in droves, though, and most people were good-humoured about it. A number even brought their kids to participate.
Today, I'm rather proud of our system. I'm happy with the turnout. While the time it took to cast my ballot was not much improved (I actually waited longer than my 1 hour 20 minute wait from 2004), I feel far more confident in this election that my voice will be heard than I was in the last election. I've been singing the Jimmy Buffett song in my "current music" field all morning. Here's hoping that tomorrow's song isn't "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money."
It was a beautiful morning to watch the refulgent dawn and know that tomorrow will be the first of many brighter dawns to come.