Author Topic: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?  (Read 10433 times)

Bill Binkelman

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A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« on: November 04, 2008, 12:27:46 PM »
Hopefully, no one will object to this topic, which is simply asking what your voting experience was like. Here in Minneapolis/St. Paul, I'm hearing lots of folks speaking of long lines, which is fairly unusual here. Myself, I first checked my polling place at 6:50 when I walked Mamie by. It looked to be a hundred or so waiting with lots of folks arriving by the second. I checked again at 8:30 on my way to work...same thing, maybe even worse. So, at 11:00, Kathryn and tried again thinking it would only be retirees and students. Well, it still took us an hour to get in and vote. I think all the predictions of record turnout this election are accurate. 80 percent turnout is not unrealistic, IMO.

Anyone else have a story to tell?

jkn

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 01:03:31 PM »
Heidi and I went at 5:50 this morning to get there early.   We were 2nd in line behind a nice man - we chatted for a bit about his cell phone and what he called "cell time" - who needs a watch anymore?   By 6:00 am when they opened there were about 15 people behind us.   

I've never seen more than 2 other people at my polling place (a very, very small grade school about 2 blocks from my house) in the 17 or 18 years I've been voting at this location.   

My coworker texted me at 7:45 am that he'd be late this morning - there were at least 100 people in line at his polling place ahead of him.

Humor - an older woman was among the polling judges (whatever they're called) - and she was talking about the 'old days' when they had this big book which listed every person's voting record and whether they voted democrat or republican.   So you could see if someone hadn't voted in a couple of elections - and sometimes someone would comment about 'glad you decided to vote this year!' or whatever.    She said there was always an older lady at every voting place that controlled this book and wouldn't let anyone else have it.  It was her job - her book - her right.   This woman was very cute telling this story since by this time she's now probably as old as the woman she was poking gentle fun at way back then.    She talked about how that all changed when the privacy act kicked in and the books got thrown out...

Anyway - a bit of humor for ya... :-)

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mgriffin

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2008, 01:04:14 PM »
I think it's OK to talk about VOTING as long as we don't get into candidate or issue advocacy.

In Oregon we have a "vote by mail" system.  That is, not only are you able to vote by mail if you want to (which is how it was at first), now that's the only way we can vote here.  Once mail voting was an option, it became so popular and increased turnout so much that the decision was made to convert over to an entirely by-mail system.

We get our ballot forms in the mail a few weeks in advance, and you fill them out and sign a statement on the envelope verifying that the ballot was filled out by the person named on it, and that's it.  You can drop it in the mail, or you can drop it off in person right up through today.  I believe our turnout is right around 90%.
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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2008, 01:25:50 PM »
Mike, it's the same here in my county (Stevens) in WA; I'm not sure if it's state-wide or not.  Very convenient; we voted last week.

I do kind of miss going to the little Town Hall in rural Wisconsin; we always went across the road to the Lutheran church for a spaghetti dinner afterward.  It was the only time I ever saw some of my neighbors.   :-\
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LNerell

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2008, 01:33:44 PM »
I went to vote on my way to work at 8:30 this morning. Only one person in line in front of me, but all of the voting stations where full which is unusual in itself. No big deal for me, in and out in ten minutes or less.
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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2008, 02:46:45 PM »
A few people in front of me at 8am(but there are only a few people living out here).  No big deal.
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Chad Hoefler

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2008, 03:00:51 PM »
I voted in Oreland, PA (small suburb just north of Philly) at 10:30am and had to wait approximately 2 minutes.  Very smooth, and I feel great!

mgriffin

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2008, 03:03:18 PM »
Thanks everybody for (so far) not redirecting this topic into no-no-land.
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2008, 04:15:23 PM »
Thanks everybody for (so far) not redirecting this topic into no-no-land.

Well just to stir the pot (  ;D ), I think mail-in "general" (not absentee) voting is somewhat susceptible to fraud...sorry, but I do. I don't trust how secure those votes are as they are stockpiled. Maybe I'm too conspiratorial, but it's how I feel.

Also, if a person (unless they are indigent, a shut-in, in the hospital, etc) can't be bothered to travel, by any means available (drive, hitch a ride, walk, bus, taxi, etc) to cast a vote in person once every two or four years, it doesn't say much about their commitment to the democratic process. I think voting in person builds community...I always get in conversations with folks at the poling place. Immigrants die for this opportunity.

Not picking on your state, Mike. And I'm sure it's very convenient, but this is just my two cents. I've never missed a national, gubernatorial, senatorial or even mayoral election and I'm proud of it. Waiting in line is a small price to pay for feeling part of the process.

Again, when it comes to those for whom voting in person is highly impractical or a risk to their health, fine. But the rest of us, well, man up Nancys!  ;)

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2008, 04:25:43 PM »
I see your point, Bill, but if mail-in balloting increases participation (which seems to be the case, by a large margin), I don't see a downside.  I vote every election, every time; being able to mail my ballot doesn't change that, it just makes it easier for me (I'm assuming that my vote is counted just as accurately and fairly as a walk-in vote).  The whole voting experience is cool, I agree, but increased voter participation is more important in my view.
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mgriffin

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2008, 04:38:01 PM »
Bill, explain why you think voter fraud is more likely by mail than in person.  I assume you're envisioning somebody photocopying massive numbers of ballot forms and mailing in hundreds of identically filled-in ballots, but it doesn't work that way. 

Each registered voter gets one ballot, with a code number and barcode on it, and it's mailed to your registration address.  Ballots are not accepted without a valid code number, and there is no way that more than one ballot with the same code number on it may be counted.

Despite a lot of people taking an initial, cranky sort of "I just don't like it!" approach to this method on first hearing about it, nobody has been able to advance any argument or proof as to how this system is more likely to result in invalid votes compared to "stand in line on election day" voting.

On the other hand, it clearly does result in many more valid votes, which I think anyone would see as an advantage.
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judd stephens

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2008, 04:41:03 PM »
I just got back from voting pretty late, around 6:15pm from the local elementary school.  Lines out the door earlier in the day, but man, my experience couldn't have been much smoother, sorry to everybody else.  Straight in, direct, and no nonsense...

Bill you trust computer-voting over mailing yours in, eh? 

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2008, 04:53:40 PM »
My wife and I went to vote at different times (me 6:45 AM, she at 5:00 PM) and there were no lines.  We've got a lot of different polling locations in our city in NJ, though, so that only represents my section of town.

jim brenholts

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2008, 05:57:51 PM »
no wait at all. my wife voted at noon and was #150. when i voted at 4:30 i was #170. the workers told me it is busy at opening and closing.
all the best and God bless
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2008, 06:09:28 PM »
One, Minnesota doesn't use computers. They use paper/pen voting, fill in the dot, etc. No, I wouldn't trust computer voting. Two, Mike, the fraud is not on that end of it. I think I would need to see the security measures for what happens to the ballots when they arrive where they are tabulated...how are they secured...are they tabulated immediately? and if so, how are the totals stored...it's the methodology of it AFTER the voting occurs. I don't think the fraud exposure is at the end user part of things. And I agree...if it increases participation, hurray.

Two things to remember..I admitted to being obsessed with black helicopters and grassy knolls...so take my statements that way. And also, I think the communal act of voting is intrinsically more "empowering." I'm not saying it's "better" but I "feel" better doing it this way. Fuck, maybe that's stupid, I dunno. But I'm not meaning anything by it, and I sense you're being defensive Mike...Forrest, you're not (thanks) but Mike, I tried to phrase my comment in a way as to make it clear this is my opinion. I'm not saying the system IS fraudulent...just that if I lived there, it'd be my belief that I didn't trust the system unless I had the methodology, from start to finish, laid out for me and I believed it was leakproof.

Well, I guess I found a way to make even this topic fraught with peril.  ???

Oh, and no wonder some of folks didn't have lines...you must live in small districts. When I went to vote at 11 am today (polls open at 7), I was already voter number 775. And local public radio is talking about long lines most of the day in almost all precincts.

Anyway, truly sorry if anyone is offended by what I wrote about not trusting methodologies. I'll slink back under my rock now. But remember...just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you! ;D

mgriffin

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2008, 08:29:20 PM »
Sorry for the misunderstanding, Bill -- I wasn't defensive or annoyed at your post.  I was just trying to get some understanding of the "I don't like it!" reaction I've encountered so often from people hearing for the first time about Oregon's vote by mail system.

I suppose I can imagine situations where corrupt election officials fail to count mail-in ballots but it's just as easy to imagine scenarios where a ballot placed into a ballot box by hand is not counted.  What proof do you have that your ballot was included in the vote totals?  Really, a certain amount of faith in the system is required of any voter.
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michael sandler

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2008, 04:25:47 PM »
I did early voting (Cary, NC), hoping to have a shorter wait than if I went on election day. It took about an hour to get through the line. Then on Nov 4 a lot of places had short lines. I guess everyone went early. I should have used reverse psychology and waited.

But the important thing is I voted and as far as I know my ballot counted (as we still wait for results from NC). I heard about a glitch in Rockingham Co. which is holding things up.

Mike S.

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2008, 06:17:45 PM »
Humor - an older woman was among the polling judges (whatever they're called) - and she was talking about the 'old days' when they had this big book which listed every person's voting record and whether they voted democrat or republican.   So you could see if someone hadn't voted in a couple of elections - and sometimes someone would comment about 'glad you decided to vote this year!' or whatever.    She said there was always an older lady at every voting place that controlled this book and wouldn't let anyone else have it.  It was her job - her book - her right.   This woman was very cute telling this story since by this time she's now probably as old as the woman she was poking gentle fun at way back then.    She talked about how that all changed when the privacy act kicked in and the books got thrown out...

That's interesting, because anyone can go to the NC State Board of Elections website and find out if anyone is registered to vote, when they voted, and what kind of ballot they cast (absentee, in person, etc). It does not say who they voted for, but it does say their party affiliation. You can just look up a name and it will give you all this.

I guess it's a matter of public record, but do other states have all that info so available on websites? I'm too lazy to go to 50 state board of election sites to find out  ::)

Mike

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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2008, 11:58:16 AM »

Each registered voter gets one ballot, with a code number and barcode on it, and it's mailed to your registration address.  Ballots are not accepted without a valid code number, and there is no way that more than one ballot with the same code number on it may be counted.

In Oregon how does one vote if they are homeless? Just wondering, I think its a valid question. Basically if it increases voter participation I am for it.

On the subject of early voting, we had it here in California, but their was only one voting place per county. So you had to drive to where ever the polls where and then you had to wait in line, Here in LA county it was at least a five hour wait to vote.
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Re: A Safe Political Topic...how long did you wait to vote?
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2008, 12:03:23 PM »
I didn't know the answer about homeless voters in Oregon so I did a little search, which told me this:

Can people who are homeless vote?

YES, people who are homeless can vote. People who do not have a home should use the address where they spend the greatest amount of their time as their Oregon residence address. For example, “at the corner of Burnside and 2nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon” is acceptable. If the person has a place where he or she picks up mail, that should be the mailing address. If a person does not have a place to pick up mail, he or she can use the county clerk’s office as the mailing address. He or she will have to go there to pick up a ballot there when the ballots go out.
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