Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Election day observations

First off, I won. Sort of. The way it works is, there are two of us who run for inspector, one R and one D. Whoever gets the most votes gets the title of majority inspector and the "loser" gets minority inspector. Kind of the way the presidential election used to work. I got 148 votes out of a possible 452 total. That's about how the district breaks down in terms of democrats vs. republicans. We have an extremely republican district. In the primary, which I wrote about here, the split was 50/50. My math was way off in that post, so ignore it.

It's a weird position I'm in, working the polls. There are two of us democrats in there and we're both pretty laid back. The people working outside the polls are not. And it creates a lot of tension. I want to follow the rules but I don't want to be mean about it. So when the candidate for commissioner creeps a little too close to the polling area, I would have asked him to move back politely instead of, as our poll watcher did, getting out the tape measure. Likewise, the republican representatives who sit inside the polling area crossing off voters are not allowed to touch election materials. My democratic and republican colleagues would often repeat names to the elderly gentlemen who were handling this task. I would not--and didn't. It's not against the rules but I think it's definitely a gray area. And it certainly doesn't help the democratic party to assist the republicans in their campaign. But it also doesn't help to doggedly enforce the 100 feet rule.

The other kind of creepy thing about the polling area is the general attitude of the men who run it. As I said a year ago, they exude very 1950s kind of attitude. My across the street neighbor came in to vote and started talking about how she'd quit her job. The judge of elections said "Good for you" in a way that was like, "Thank god another woman is in her place." Even the woman kind of looked at him funny. Same guy also blamed the riots in France on socialism.

So I spent the day yesterday feeling physically and emotionally uncomfortable. I think what tends to happen to people like me is that they move to an area that has people in it that are more similar to them. Instead what we should be doing is 1) convincing people to vote these old cronies out of office and 2) encouraging more like-minded people to move here. Neither task is simple.