Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Waiting on the First Returns

Polls in Virginia are now closed. However, anyone in line at 7 PM will still be able to vote. Given the heavy turnout, there likely won't be any returns for a while. Still, since Virginia is among the first states to have polls close, it will no doubt be among the first to have returns come in.

If the state does in fact go for Obama (as the polls suggest it will), this election will be over. It's not that Virginia's 13 electoral votes are a major prize. Rather, it's because Virginia has not gone democratic in a presidential election since 1964 when it went for Lyndon Johnson. If Virginia changes now, it will signal a national trend that favors the Democrats.

Incidentally, the Republican that lost the 1964 election was Barry Goldwater, a Senator from the state of Arizona. Goldwater returned to the Senate in 1968, and held the seat until he retired in 1986. And guess who replaced him? None other than John McCain himself. That may not quite qualify as irony, but it will still be good for a few laughs.

I voted at 6:30 this morning.... Well, more precisely, I arrived at my polling place at 6:30. I didn't actually get to vote till almost 7:00.

When I arrived at my precinct, there must have been over 200 people in line. That immediately shot my theory that by voting early I'd avoid the crowds straight to hell. I overheard one of the election volunteers that there were already 15 people in line when they arrived at 5 AM (the polls opened at 6:00). Despite the heavy turnout, they did a reasonable job with crowd control, however.

In 2004 I had to wait about 45 minutes in a much shorter line, and we were outside for much of the time. This time they allowed us to queue up inside. Folded tables had been set up to snake the main line through the auditorium. Then near the end we were divided into three shorter lines depending on the first letter of your last name.

Most people opted for the paper ballots (as did I) since there was only one touchscreen voting machine, and that had its own little separate line.

The paper ballot was a little confusing. I think I may have ended up voting for Pat Buchanan.

0 thoughtful ramblings: