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06 November 2008

A few observations

I worked at the polls on Election Day, a volunteer with the Obama campaign, collecting data for Get Out the Vote efforts.

- People started lining up at the polling place around 4am. There were about 200 people in line when the polls opened at 6am.

- I was at a polling place that housed 3 precincts. Once inside the room with the voting booths, the room was well organized, but the facility didn't allow for 3 separate lines, which slowed things down.

- There were voter assistance advocates there, but not until later in the day. I can't say that they didn't help, but there were quite a few people who didn't know where they were suppose to vote and many found, after waiting in line for a long time, that they were at the wrong polling place.

- I wish that technology had been access able to look up voter registration & polling places. There is a web site from the Secretary of State's office where registration can be confirmed. This would have been much more efficient than calling the hotline number, waiting on hold for up to 10 minutes, to get the same information.

- After the early morning line dwindled, there was a steady stream of voters, but only short waits. After 9am, I don't think that anyone had to wait more than 30 minutes. I wish that our polling process could be more efficient that a 30 minute wait seems exceptional and too long, rather than a good thing.

- 80 year old men and women in walkers shouldn't have to wait in line for a long time. Nobody should.

- I was in a precinct that was about 99% African-American. The atmosphere was exuberant. It was exciting to be a part of this.

- Around noon, a poll worker at one of the other precincts said in a loud voice: I have a new voter here who needs some help. Can you lend a hand? Everybody stood up & applauded. This continued for the rest of the day. It was awesome!

5 comments:

patrick said...

it's awesome that there has been this "problem" of long lines all over... people taking a greater interest in public issues is always a good thing

Cam said...

I think it is awesome in terms of the turnout and couldn't agree with you more about people taking a greater interest in public issues. I only wish that was an even higher turnout than it was. I think every person should be registered, and every registered voter should vote. What I don't think is awesome is that we aren't more effective with our polling processes.

(un)relaxeddad said...

I'm really quite jealous that (not being an American) I didn't get to vote! That we should have such a leader.

Dorothy W. said...

That sounds great -- the exuberance, I mean. It must have been a wonderful atmosphere.

stefanie said...

The turnout was amazing even in my state where we lead the nation in voter turnout. We had 77.5% of eligible voters go to the polls. Now, the hard part, keeping all those new voters and people who haven't voted in a long time engaged enough to do it again next year and the year after that and the year after that.