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Three Thoughts on Election Day

November 10, 2016

There will be plenty written on the big picture; I had three small thoughts.

To outsmart everyone, I arrived at my polling place at 11:10 am to a long line. Someone leaving said he’d only been there ten minutes so I lined up. Fifteen minutes later the line had only gotten longer when an officer called out “E through K and S through Z”.  A big group followed him out of the line and directly into the building.  The rest of us got to wait some more.  

My first thought:  At forty minutes I thought about how often government treats us poorly. Our county has an $800 million budget so why can’t they do this better? We only have one election day a year?

After falling for the classic Disney trick, the line entered the building only to find more line doubled up and down the hall. At the one hour mark an election worker called “L through R” and another large group moved ahead of us.  

At an hour and ten minutes I became the sixth person in the final “A-D” line. The registration books had been divided equally so each line should move at about the same rate. In fact “E-K” had no one, “S-Z” one person ,”L-R” a few and our six… plus fifty more in the hall and who knows how many more outside! A closer inspection revealed the sweetest (but oldest) volunteers working the A-D table. They were happy, smiled at everyone and took the time to chat with their many friends. My wife has done this job in other elections so I know these people get paid almost nothing for a very long day.  

My second thought:  What keeps the other volunteers from helping out the “A-D” crew? Half the tables were empty and everyone could see the line of people slowly getting angrier as others behind them were moved in front. Seriously… if the “A-D” line had been waiting to check out at Publix, how long before something happened?

At an hour and thirty minutes I got my ballot. With many judicial races and and second page just Amendments, it was complicated. Apparently our tiny Alabama town can’t change the trash pickup date without a Constitutional Amendment. Somehow, at one hour and forty minutes, I was done. I walked outside ready to trade barbs with the voters still on line.

The lines were gone! People were walking straight from their cars to the registration tables. Not just the lucky ones, even the “A-D’s”.

My third thought:  America just completed a long, bitter and unpleasant Presidential Election campaign. Both candidates did an outstanding job of getting their supporters angry at their opponent. As turnout was low this year the nasty campaign may have turned many people off.  Maybe all the mad people just showed up at the same time!

Only the smart ones were able to beat the crowds and wait an hour and forty minutes in the “A-D” line.

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