Saturday, October 27, 2012

No One Votes Early; It's Too Crowded

I really meant to wind up my Retail Saga today, but I want to take another breath before heading for home.  Plus, there’s a lot of shit going on this weekend.

With ten days remaining before the election, our state opened up for early voting this morning.  I’ve never done that before; I always run down early on Election Day, before work.  But the presidential elections can really bring in the crowds, so since my schedule was open this afternoon, I figured I’d run down to the voting place and get my vote locked in.  I’d be in and out in 10 minutes, and then treat myself to lunch.

There were no more than 20 or 25 cars in the lot, so I thought I was right on course.  When I got in the door, well, I thought otherwise.  I walked in at an “L” joint between two hallways.  The voting rooms were about 100 yards in front of me, with a line going back to where I was standing.

My first thought was, “Oh HELL noI got shit to do.” I hate waiting in lines and standing kills my feet.  But then I realized, “OK, I really don’t have any shit to do, so what the hell?

And then I further realized I was only standing at the halfway point… the line went another 100 yards to my right, and it was doubled back about half way.  Fuck.  Me.

But then I figured, “Maybe it’ll be fun… I’ll talk to some people and maybe gather some fodder for the blog.”  (You’re welcome.)
This is from the far wall of the section that was doubled back.  I wish I’d brought my camera, so you could see something, rather than this blurry blip from my dumb-phone.  I had to put it online by using my camera to take a shot of the picture on my phone.  Don’t ask.

It took a full hour to get down to the wall and back to the point where I came in, and it gave me ample time to consider what I was seeing.  The line was full of African-American people and a ton of seniors.  Most of them were there because they had to work during the week.  And with Frankenstorm Sandy coming, no one wanted to take any chances that they might not be able to vote later on.

You could see in their faces that they would go through anything in order to cast their vote for Barack Obama.  I heard people talking to each other in line, telling how they so regret their parents not having been around long enough to see a black man win the White House.  There were a good number of people that were wearing their Obama hats or t-shirts too, probably trophies from 2008.  People were taking this shit serious.

It also made me think about all the gyrations the Republicans are trying to put in place to prevent just this kind of thing.  Even something as simple as early voting has been made into an issue by the GOP. 

In Ohio, just this year, the governor tried to cut back on early voting, but was reversed by the state courts.  See, Ohio was one of the leading dirty pool players in the 2000 and 2004 elections.  They were notorious for understaffing polling places in urban districts, (read “likely to vote Democratic”), ensuring that the lines would be long and provide a deterrent from voting.  There was also plenty of room for foul play because the Republican state party chairman was also the CEO of the leading voting machine manufacturer in the state, Diebold.  Stalin couldn’t have engineered the results better himself.

Right here in Maryland, the legislature passed an early voting bill, which was vetoed by the (then) Republican governor.  His veto was overruled and the initiative upheld in a popular referendum.

There is really no substantive reason to prevent early voting.  Any safeguards in place on Election Day are in place when you vote early.  The movement to suppress our citizens voting rights under the guise of preventing voter fraud is not now, nor has ever been anything but a smokescreen to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. 

Anyway, I got to vote after roughly a 2-hour wait.  They had 20 voting machines set up but the major holdup was in that besides the presidential, senatorial and congressional races, 3 judgeships and a raft of other judges running unopposed, there were 20 different “Questions” to vote on.  Most of them were run-of-the-mill financial and bond items, but lurking in all of those were the 4 referendum issues I wrote about a few months back.  These include permission of same-sex marriage, the Dream Act and an expansion of gambling.

That’s where all the commercials have been coming from around here.  The party leadership knows that Maryland is a true-blue democratic state, so neither party are wasting any money advertising here.  Judging from what I saw at the polling place, it had to be about 90% for Obama.  Granted, it’s probably the other way around out in western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, but there are many more of us than there are of them.  Maryland will go to Obama, I’d say, 65-35.

Anyway, I did my part to speed things up by coming prepared.  Earlier last week I’d received a sample ballot, which I promptly marked up with my votes.  So when I finally got my turn, it didn’t take me more than a minute or two.  I swear; I saw one lady at a polling station for at least 10 minutes.

I’m just bummed that I didn’t get my “I Voted” sticker.  I love those things.  Why vote if you can’t lord it over everyone else?

Stormy Monday
In other news, it looks like we’re going to have a whopper of a storm next week.  Baltimore is smack square in the projected path of Hurricane Sandy.  I’m already lining up my emergency supplies (booze) and entertainment options (confirming that the local bar is prepared).

It’s kind of funny, because “Sandy” is my Ex-wife’s name.  It makes all the headlines (“Sandy roars through Jamaica!”) that much more fun to read.  What’s even funnier is that for a time, there was a storm running around out there with my name on it too.
When these two get together, shit is going to blow up!  Obviously, she got custody of the Islands.

Hurricane naming cycles repeat every 6 years, with the names of any particularly damaging storms getting replaced.  So I saw the possibilities of this occurrence in 2006, but there weren’t enough named storms to make it come to pass.

Unfortunately, my storm never came anywhere near land, and just kind of drifted around in no-man’s land before running out of steam.  I must say it was pretty well named.

The Mojo Boogie
This has been a weird year in mojo too.  So far, every single Steelers game has been on local TV, including tomorrow’s game against the Redskins, and the next 3 after that.  Now I’m all for watching the game on my big TV from my easy chair, but I kind of miss going out to the sports bar to see the game in public.  So I decided to go out for the game tomorrow anyway.  Sitcom Kelly is going to meet me there.

It’s going to be unusual, though, because the Steelers are wearing their 1934 throwback uniforms, which happen to be the butt-ugliest things I’ve ever seen. 
You can pull off this look when you’re young and buff.  I feel sorry for poor 360-pound Casey “Big Snack” Hampton.  He’s going to look like a cross between a bumble bee and the Michelin Man.

So naturally, I’m going to have to wear MY ugly jersey.  No, I didn’t buy one of these atrocities… I already had a different one.  Back in 1994, to celebrate the Steelers’ 75th anniversary, they brought out the jerseys from their first season, in 1933.

I remember when I first saw them, I said to myself, “Those are the ugliest jersey’s I’ve ever seen.”  But I wish I would have said it to someone else instead of just myself, because for my birthday that October, guess what I got?

Yeah, I got the 1933 jersey.  Gee, thanks Dad.  So I don’t wear it much, especially since the 50’s-60’s era throwback jerseys look so good.  (Gold block numbers on a black jersey.)  So I might as well take it out for a spin on this occasion. 

Now I just have to see what kind of mojo it packs.  If the Steelers lose tomorrow, it’ll go back to the back of the closet, with the Zubaz pants.


Facie said...

So were like 20 people to a car where you voted?! I have been lucky that I have never waited more than 10 minutes to vote (and that was in 2008), and most of the time it is under 5. Either I have great timing, or not many people vote in my neighborhood.

Yes, damn ugliest jerseys ever. They might work to the Steelers advantage as the Redskins might find themselves either laughing or mesmerized during some plays.

bluzdude said...

Sorry... I meant to come back to that point...there was another parking lot on the other side of the building, from the side I drove up on. That one was quite full.

dad said...

A little different in NW Fla. Land of the Bigots. Our Obama Signs lasted 5 days, then Stolen. 830am Sunday Morning, we went up to Early Voting to Vote before they Steal that too. Not crowded, the evangelicans who stole our signs were no doubt in Church.

bluzdude said...

That's Amurca for you... where you're completely free, as long as you agree with the loudest voices in the crowd.

Mary Ann said...

Remember to include the raw chicken and blender in your storm prep. Also eggs, white bread and toilet paper.
One elderly Obama Mama showed up at the Romney rally yesterday. She had her walker and declined an offer of a ride, saying she was too old to ride the bus
I want to be her when I grow up. Meanwhile, "Old White Women for Obama", attached to my shirt, will not disappear.

bluzdude said...

I'll have a shirt made for me that says Weird Old White Guys for Obama.

Cassie said...

Yay for voting early! I'm so glad it's not for another week because this weather is going to SUCK. I can't even imagine what Ett is up for in NYC.

bluzdude said...

Ett ought to hole up in her lair and wait it out. Not sure how she's going to eat, though, if she can't go out. Do you think she has a kitchen? (Or knows what to do in one?)

Judie said...

I'm just glad the damn thing missed us. You are probably without power right now, and I hope you have enough beer and beef jerky to tide you over. If we don't hear from you soon, we'll send out a search party.

The REALLY bad news is that Romney is up in the polls today, leading Obama by 5 points. I personally cannot imagine that there are that many stupid people who don't see through his bs. Oh, well!!

bluzdude said...

So far, we've made it through with power intact. Baltimore didn't get it nearly as bad as it first looked like we would.

With the combination of the huge amount of misinformation out there, with the lack of critical thinking skills, it's a wonder that Obama's in the race at all.

Just remember that polls don't matter, only voter turnout matters. People can say anything to a pollster. Actually showing up in the voting booth takes effort.

Jessica R. said...

Two hours of waiting?! Oh my! At least Maryland voters make it to the polls. I rarely have to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes, and our polling place only has about 10 booths. I guess that's location for you.

bluzdude said...

I totally should have spun and walked out of there, and faced with another line like that, I probably would. But then, I’m done now and don’t have to worry about it. And I didn’t have to miss any significant amount of work, either. All I gave up was some laying-around-the-house time.

It made sense that the early voting location was crowded, though, because when you think about it, on Election Day, there are hundreds of polling places across the region. But there are only a handful of early voting places. (I think there were 5 for Baltimore City and 6-7 for Baltimore County.) Given the density of our population, the lines were inevitable.

Glad you had fun in The Burgh. Loved the pictures. Fall in the Northeast and Midwest rocks!