Poll Report: End Of Day

Ken AshfordElection 20081 Comment

Not a lot happened at the polling station where I was the Democratic Observer.

I mean, it really was dull!
With the exception of the first hour, from 7:30 to 8:30 am, there were absolutely no lines.
I despaired, thinking that low voter turnout would be bad for Obama.
However, the precinct that I was monitoring broke turnout records.  You wouldn't have known to be there, though, because of early voting.
Basically, it breaks down this way:
Percentage of registered voters who voted:  70%
Percentage of registered voters who voted today: 43%
Percentage of registered voters who voted early:  27%
So, an easy day.
A couple of thoughts:
1.  You know, back in 2000, a lot of people (NOT me) mocked Florida voters who were confused by the butterfly ballot.
Well, you know, when you are elderly, or voting for the first time, it IS confusing.
The ballot at my monitored precinct was a simple optical scan ballot.  You fill in the bubble, just like the SATs, except with a pen instead of a No. 2 pencil.  Then you stick it in a machine.
Couldn't be simpler, right?
But if you've never done it before, it CAN be tough.  Some people didn't understand the straight ticket issue (which IS kind of weird in North Carolina).  Some people thought you HAD to vote in every single race on the ballot.
Okay, there were one or two who tried to puncture the ballot with the pen.  And of course, MOST people "got it".  But still, for others, it IS hard, if not intimidating.
Fortunately, we had some good poll workers.
2.  It was always nice to see parents bring their kids.  Many of them didn't want to fill their ballots out in the "booths" but preferred to sit at a long lunchroom table (my polling place was an elementary school), so that their kid could sit on their lap.  They would fill out the ballot together, as the parent explained. 
And the kid got an "I Voted" sticker (a popular item, since the words was out that both Starbucks and Krispy Kreme were giving out freebies to anyone with such a sticker).