Friday, March 7, 2008

The Election

As many know, the day after Miss Lynchburg I decided to drive home and enjoy my spring break. I made the trip on Monday and got home about 7 P.M.

The next day, I had the fortune to receive that last minute phone call that I was needed at the Board of Elections here in Ottawa County. The roads here were questionable at that point, but I started driving and only had to stop once before getting there. Once there, we delivered extra ballots to precincts, helped several people in the hospital complete their ballots, and then I stayed on hand at the Board to prepare for that night.

It was a blessing they used a cell phone system this time, where each precinct had a cell phone so we could reach them quickly. As weather got worse throughout the day, it was necessary. And since requests for Democratic ballots were up 76% from the 2004 primary, many precincts were running out constantly (although they had plenty of Republican ballots...)

I made an error a few weeks ago when talking politics with an English professor. It used to be in Ohio that you had to be a declared Democrat or Republican to get that particular ballot, but times have changed and it is now a "semi-open" state, meaning that you are free to choose if you want to vote Democrat, Republican, or issues only. For this reason, many people crossed over from Independent or Republican to cast a ballot for Obama or Clinton. I think this is really interesting, since turnout was huge. I don't know how any board managed it- turnout here in Ottawa county was 46.43%, which is huge for a primary election. Precincts were calling all day letting us know they were running low on ballots and then we'd sent people out to them.

As weather got worse, we called in the Deputy Sherriffs. This was interesting, because we had 7 Deputies suddenly part of the election process. I bumped into someone I graduated high school with, Kevin, who has dreamed of working in law enforcement since his diaper days. It did not surprise me in the least to find him working as a Deputy. He was one of the group driving around, giving older pollworkers rides home if they needed it, and eventually, picking up the ballots.

We were in constant communication with the precincts getting information from them and letting them know that plans had changed. Generally, the precinct workers have to close up shop and drive the ballots in the lockbox to the board. The board was concerned about road safety, so the deputies went and picked up all the ballots. Things went really smoothly, but I was so caught up in this board that I didn't even know what was going on in the rest of the state. Clinton was doing great here, but I have to admit I was a little surprised about her overwhelming success statewide. Could it be all those non-Dems requesting dem ballots? Hmmm...

In any case, it was a great opportunity to be involved in an important election, and well worth not getting home until 2 A.M.!

The wheels of democracy have turned in Ohio, and made this race even closer!

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