Thursday, November 04, 2004

Chads? We Don't Need No Stinking Chads!

So the election has come and gone. Kerry conceded, and we are now underway. I think this was an overwhelming rejection of the liberal agenda, and I am heartened. Perhaps the US will not fall into socialism. At least, not in the next four years. I’ll start to sweat in 2008 again. I’ll comment more on this subject after I ponder it for the next several days. For now, I want to confine this post to the actual process itself. Being part of Election Day 2004 was pretty darn cool.

I would happily volunteer to work the polls again. I do not want to be the guy in charge, but I think I can make a decent aide-de-camp. I have the organizational skills of a spider monkey with an extra chromosome, so I had better not be running the thing. Matt Graham did an amazing job running Precinct 3570 in Tarrant County, and I was proud to be there to help him. He was organized to a fault, and really went above and beyond the call of duty several times during the course of a very long day. If you folks don’t realize it yet, the heart and soul of the election process are the volunteers like Matt. They make it all happen, and that should be a lesson to all of us. I worried that Matt was going to have a coronary a few times during the day, but he pulled through. Though I haven’t heard from him today, strangely enough. I’ll start checking hospitals tomorrow if my cell phone does not ring. He is probably still getting well-deserved sleep.

It was great to see people standing in line at 6:30 in the morning, waiting for the polls to open. We never had more than 15 minutes between voters, even at the slowest point in the day. We had people who made it in at the last minute.

Matt had the rest of us volunteers ready to roll. We all had a job, and the whole process went amazingly smooth for such a complicated venture. I also have to give props to the other volunteers, who worked their rear ends off all day long. Again, everyone out there should really get involved in the process. It will give one a new perspective on the whole thing, and hopefully give everyone an appreciation of what all goes on behind the scenes. While Washington calls most of the shots, not a thing would happen if it were not for the citizens making sure the polls run correctly.

In our little corner of the world, 565 people cast their ballots. It amounted to about a 76% turnout for the precinct. If you are familiar with the average voter turnout, 76% is well above normal, and probably set some sort of record.

We had people voting for the first time ever in this election. These were not 18-year olds, either. I hope they found the process to be satisfying, and easy. No country in the world makes it any easier for people to cast their ballots. All it takes is a bit of time, and we all owe the country that much, at the very least.

I tried to make the process pleasant for everyone who came in. I thanked everyone who came through, and I did my best to answer any questions the people might have had. From my point of view, it was actually a rewarding and fun experience.

It was a long experience, I’ll say that. Readers to this blog probably have noticed my posts don’t go on until fairly late at night. I tend to be a night owl, and most of my school papers got written sometime after midnight. Early morning is not a happy time for me. I am constantly amazed there is even air outside at 6:00am, much less people running around and doing things. Even getting up to play golf early is difficult, and there is not much that gets me going more than golf.

At any rate, volunteering for the election was a lot of fun. I hope more people get involved, and I hope I get to participate again. I also hope Matt survived, and decides to come back and do it all again. Please check the cardiac ICU nearest you, and let me know if he’s there.

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