Well, so much for the long lines that had been anticipated at Lexington County polling places, partly because of the plethora of referenda on the ballot.
From the time I got out of my car until the time I got back into it, 17 minutes passed. I figure at least seven of those were due to:
- My obsessive carefulness about voting. I’ve always been this way, since my first time voting in 1972 (I stood in the booth agonizing over the fact that I saw Nixon as an abuser of power, and McGovern as an incompetent, and trying to decide which was least bad). Once, in the days of actual booths with curtains, a poll worker asked, “Are you all right in there, sir?” When we used punch cards, I would put the card in and take it out a couple of times to make sure it was aligning properly, then take the completed ballot out, make sure the numbers next to all the holes corresponded to the numbers of the candidates I had meant to vote for, then run my hand up and down the back of the card a couple of times to make sure there were no bits of cardboard stuck there (this was before I knew they were called “chads”), and hold it up to the light to make sure all the punches were clean and complete. To this day, I find it absolutely inconceivable that anyone in Florida could have inadvertently voted for the wrong person in 2000. I always made sure. (And I preferred the cards to electronic machines because there was a physical thing proving how I’d voted.)
- The fact that the machine offered me two chances to go back and check — when it offered a summary of how I’d voted, and when it asked me to make sure that the races I’d left blank were intentionally left that way. I went back and reviewed everything both times, and then once more before hitting “confirm.” I take my vote very seriously.
- I took pictures of the how-I-voted summary pages, so I could remember how I voted, and not only for blogging purposes.
- When I initially got back to my car, I realized I hadn’t gotten an “I Voted” sticker, so I went back for one.
Then, of course, there was the small matter of making 27 separate voting decisions. Sure, I’d already made up my mind on most, but I took a little “are you sure?” couple of seconds on most of them.
Some stats and trivia:
- I voted for three Democrats, seven Republicans, and one member of the new “American Party.”
- I voted a straight State newspaper ticket, where applicable (they endorsed in some S.C. House races other than mine, and did not endorse in any of the Lexington County referenda).
- I voted “yes” on four of the five referendum questions, and “no” on the other.
- I left seven places blank, including, of course, the execrable, contemptible straight-party option, which should not be allowed under the law. Most of these involved unopposed people, but some involved competition between candidates with whom I was unfamiliar. And my standard rule, which I only occasionally break (see next bullet), is not to vote when I’m unsure of the candidates.
- I voted for myself as a write-in for Congress. I had to choose three candidates for Lexington Two school board. I was not familiar with any of them. I wrote in my wife and my Dad (my Dad actually ran for the board once, many years ago), and the guy who had shaken my hand outside the polling place. That was my one whimsical, irresponsible, uninformed, against-my-own-rules vote. He had an honest face.
Overall, it went smoothly. There were three people in line to sign in ahead of me when I walked up, and one of those was gone before I could get out my phone and shoot the picture above. I had been handed several sheets of paper with explanations of the referenda, supposedly so I could study them in line, but I had no time in line even to glance at them.
The picture ID thing afforded me no trouble, beyond the hassle of digging it out of my wallet.
So how’d it go for you?