fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

I Voted

I actually managed to make it to my polling place about 10 minutes before the polls opened. Me and 600 or so of my closest friends. I was relieved that they had somebody out directing folks to parking spots in the overflow lot / lawn. I suspect you have to get there about 4:30 a.m. to get a spot on actual pavement. The line wound all around the house and down the road. (I should explain that my polling place is an historic house in a local park. The park is just a couple of blocks from where I live, but the house is at the far end of it, nearly a mile away. It would normally be a pleasant walk, but I'm leery of walking through the park before sunrise. Also, I have no sense of direction and the park is huge. Hence, I drove.)

By the time the polls actually opened (6 a.m. here in Virginia), the line was quite a ways down the road. Since the road curves, I'm not sure how far it went, but it was well past the volleyball court and somebody else said they thought it went to the far parking lot. Other people joked that it went all the way to the metro station.

While we waited, people passed down the line offering sample ballots (both Democratic and Republican). Poll workers came out with little bottles of water, too. Our State Senator, Chap Peterson, was there and walked around introducing himself and shaking hands. There was also a news photographer, though it wasn't clear who he worked for. Mostly, folks chatted and watched the sun rise over the trees.

Once the polls opened, things still moved slowly. Somebody came down the line and said it was slow because the optical scanner wasn't working. That effectively cut the number of voting machines in half. They got it working just about when I got inside the house itself. I had a minor delay because the person ahead of me in the K-R line to check in had some question come up with her registration, though it turned out to be okay. I showed my voter card and got my yellow "permit to vote" card. There were 6 electronic voting machines and about 8 booths for people who wanted to fill out optical scan ballots. Interestingly, if you opt for the optical scan ballot, you feed it into the scanner yourself. (I should also note that the electronic touch screen machines will not be used in Virginia after this election.)

All in all, it was about an hour from arriving at the parking lot until departing it. The line seemed to have reached steady state by then. Fairfax County is the sort of place that always has high voter turn out, so I'm not sure if one can extrapolate from my experience. But I am always glad to see so many people willing to stand in line to exercise their rights. (And I am particularly pleased that so many parents brought their children. I think exposing kids to voting when they're young is likely to make them more involved citizens.)
Tags: politics

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