Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Did you? Here's how democracy happens in my neighborhood.

I went at 6:50 a.m. It had rained earlier in the morning, and the canyon was full of mist. I turned off the boulevard and drove up the winding road to the community center, a private non-profit built in the 1950's by the people in Topanga. This is where I vote for high turn-out elections. During off-years, the county bounces us around - I've voted at a trailer housing a conservancy agency, a church, and a former Legion Hall turned restaurant.

Already the lot near the building was full, and cars were parked along the road, and the spaces above the ball field were full, too. I pulled off the road onto the dirt shoulder, and almost immediately someone else pulled in behind me.

My sample ballot indicated I should go to the "Orange Table." There were helpful signs to direct orange table voters around to the back of the building, into a little meeting room off the main hall. The line out the door was maybe 15 people long. A poll worker walked the line and made sure everyone was in the right place. She carried a demonstration Ink-a-Vote device, and asked if anyone needed a lesson in using it.

I ran into some neighbors in line, and we chatted about our kids, gone off to college. Further back in line I saw another neighbor, and waved at her.

In front of me at the table, an older lady fretted about making sure she signed her name as it was shown in the roster. She'd heard, she said, that they'd disqualify your vote if you misplaced an initial. The poll workers were patient. The lady pressed further - she wanted to make sure her vote was counted. A few people in line rolled their eyes - Geez, lady, this is Topanga! These are your neighbors. But soon she was satisfied and the line continued to move.

By 7:20 I was signed in and had my ballot. I voted, slipped my ballot in the machine, accepted my sticker, and departed. For the first time in my life, someone approached me to take an exit poll - a couple guys with clip-boards, shivering in the misty morning.

On the way to the car, I stopped at the edge of the ball-field and looked out over the canyon.

Note: in compliance with California Law, all photos were taken more than 100 feet from the polling place.


Stephanie said...

Voting...didn't that feel good?

Thanks for sharing!

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Queenly Things said...

I voted in the lobby of the Hampton Inn up the street. Coffee and Cheerios all around!!!

JCK said...

How cool that you were part of the exit poll data! :)