Ohio2006 Blog

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Wednesday, May 3

Election Day (part 2): "Streams of Paper on the Floor."

More from my election day. A campaign volunteer named Rachel had turned her SUV into a Julianmobile by sticking signs in the windows. It made me think of cars with loudspeakers on top, a phenomenon I recall from elections long ago. Sure enough, such a car showed up later in the day (from the Shirley Smith for State Senate campaign).

Another volunteer named Jenna had a 300-watt smile, which never seemed to dim during three hours of talking to voters. I asked if her face was getting tired, but she assured me that it never goes away, that she smiles all the time. I don't know how she manages that, but in the middle of a very long day I certainly appreciated it.

Twice, Adele came by to ask voters about their experiences with the electronic voting machines, in connection with a study by the Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition.

She determined that the machines were started and restarted several times before they worked properly (one voter told her that there were "streams of paper on the floor," a sight sure to kill voter confidence), that two of the machines didn't work even in the afternoon (when the rest had finally been started up), that a shortage of voter cards caused long delays (presumably resulting from poll workers allowing voters to leave with their cards), and that many voters were not instructed properly about verifying their selections on the paper receipt before casting their vote.

In the afternoon it rained. Workers for Barbara Boyd, Annie Key, and Bryan Flannery fled to a car for a while, all ofthem smoking. A poll worker on break joined them, and soon the car windows acquired an opaque, grey look. I took no little pride in toughing it out in the downpour, under my umbrella -- I started greeting voters with "Hi, I'm standing in the rain for Julian." Another volunteer named Ashley arrived with her two daughters, who promptly brought over a puppy named Chester. I'm very sorry that my pictures of them did not turn out. Shortly after that a couple of voters arrived with two big, sweet golden retrievers, and then a car drove up with two more (it was my wife with Sam and Stella). It was a very damp and furry experience for a while.

I expected a big rush after work but there was never more than a steady stream. No sudden crowd at closing time, either. At 7:30 I was so exhausted it was difficult to walk the several blocks to our house, carrying my lawn chair and supplies.


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