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What's Going to Happen on Wednesday?

Wife Lila and I hit the voting precinct this morning around 10:30 and made it home in about 20 minutes.

There was no shortage of parking spaces in the lot and there might have been four or five voters in front of us.

Not crazy about the ballots

Palm Beach County (remember Palm Beach County from 2000? I'm still trying to forget 2000) is on its third voting system.

We went from punch cards to touchscreens to paper ballots and scanners.

It's huge

The ballot is much larger than the voting booth, which makes for some awkward juggling. And it's two pages long with races on two sides of one sheet. While I was juggling my sample ballot and real ballot, I was concerned that the (provided) black felt pen was going to inadvertently make a mark that would count as a vote for someone like Pat Buchanan again.

Thoughts on Election Day

I used to say that Americans never get a president as good as they hoped, nor as bad as they feared. Of course, for every rule there is an exception and we've been living with that exception for the past eight years.

Someone on a radio talk show asked the host, “”What's going to happen if the wrong person wins on Tuesday?”

The answer is, we'll keep on keeping on.

I've covered thousands of public meetings over the years, but this shot has always stuck out in my mind as a demonstration of what this country is all about: a place where a common working man can stand up and say his piece and have his words count.

Elections are like small-town football

Everyone turns out and cheers for their team. Sometimes there are close calls, where a first down – and maybe the game – depends on inches.

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The smaller the town, generally the more rabid the fans. The warden of a stockade in a small Florida county, who served as a rodman (chain holder) told me on a Saturday morning that he had gotten into a dispute with one of the field officials at Friday night's game. “I had my hand on my Buck knife. If he had pointed his finger at me one more time, he'd have taken it home in his pocket.”

Everybody showed up

Big games would bring out every facet of the community: young, old, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters. As you can see from this picture, every play would produce the whole gamut of human emotion from anticipation, joy, despair, excitement or, in the case of the baby, bewilderment. Kind of like a political rally, now that I think of it.

Then it's over

The winners and losers shake hands and walk off the field to look forward to next weekend's game. Just like politics.

Let's hope for a landslide

No matter who wins, I'd rather have it decided by voters than niggled to death by lawyers.

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2 comments to What's Going to Happen on Wednesday?

  • Just in case this thing goes to a recount, I added the following text on the bottom of both ballots…

    “For a good time and to determine voter intent, please contact Matthew Steinhoff.”

    If everything goes well, no one will every see my name. However, if Palm Beach County it its typical mess, I’m hoping the folks doing the recount will see my name and give me a call to figure out how I voted. Then, I hope to get my 15 minutes of fame on CNN.

    I just gotta come up with a cool nickname; something better than ‘Joe the Plumber’.

    —Matt

  • kls

    I should have done that in 2000. That was the first year your brother could vote. He was going out of town or something, so I said he and I’d go down to Election Central to get absentee ballots.

    We took them back to my office and we were poking chads like nobody’s business.

    I realized that I had made a mis-punch, so I carefully stuck the chad back in the hole and put a tiny piece of tape over it to hold it in.

    It was on a down-ballot race, so it shouldn’t have made any difference on the Bush-Gore affair, but I’ve always wondered if my ballot was one of those held up on the evening news.

    After everything went crazy, I dug around in the wastebasket and recovered the chads. I ran across them the other day in a Ziploc bag. Wonder what they’re worth?