Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Those Who've Gone Before

I'm glad I didn't lug a book with me. I wouldn't have had time to read a page.

Despite predictions that voting could take more than three hours, I exercised my democratic right and duty today in only about 5 minutes. My polling place had absolutely no lines, and I quickly marked the box with an X to send McCain one step closer to victory in Georgia.

Our state is in the first round of poll closings (7 p.m.) and McCain will need a win here to defy the doomsday, landslide predictions and make this historic election closer than the experts think.

The fact that the lines were so short leads me to a few possible conclusions. One is that not as many folks turned out as expected. Generally, new voters tend to favor Obama, the change-monger, so if this could boost McCain's prospects. The more likely scenario is that the 40 percent of Dekalb County voters who cast their ballots early helped the rest of us avoid the tragic fate that befell some of them - lines of three to five hours.

What propelled so many to the polls early? I think it was a simple herd mentality, the fear that election day crowds would be too great. Funny that by succumbing to this sentiment, they actually created the scenario they wanted to avoid in the first place. I think the state government did a bad thing by pushing early voting and only opening select precincts that couldn't accommodate the crowds. This created the quagmires that suckered people in for such long waits. We should never have to wait two hours to vote. It's interesting that we have mismanagement of these processes and wonder why our turnout rates are so low.

If you were one of those who stood in line, I applaud your patriotism and I feel sorry for you, but I thank you for going before, preparing the way for my easy waltz to the ballot booth. Maybe next time you'll take the advice of my wife, who says, "None of this early voting, absentee stuff. Just go to the polling place on Nov. 4 and get your historic election day experience!"

Caption: Georgia flag outside the Governor's Mansion. Copyright Trevor Williams 2008.

No comments: