Thursday, October 30, 2008

Arizona Early Voting

Early voting location:

There were a lot of cars parked out front. I rolled in a little after nine in the morning. I followed the signs down the hall to where I was greeted by a gentleman handing out numbered sticky-notes. Mine was 111.

He directed me to a room where about thirty-five people were waiting. Another room across the hall was similarly about full, but not uncomfortable. People chatted amiably. Every once in a while the gentleman called us out in batches of five.

The volunteers (there were four) have to print up an individualized ballot for each early voter because we have come from different voting districts. One of the volunteers even folds it up correctly before you fill it out and put it in an envelope, seal it, and place it in the ballot box.

It's a paper ballot read by an optical scanner.

The process took me a little more than one-and-a-half hours, mostly waiting.

I would have waited all day standing on my head. With a full bladder. While listening to Kenny G. Anything to get out of my afternoon dentist appointment.

It wasn't that bad. A routine cleaning.

But unfortunately I did hear people ask about the wait and upon hearing that it would take that long said that they couldn't stay to vote. Hopefully they'll be able to work things out for tomorrow (Friday ends early voting in Arizona) or next Tuesday.

Eight early-voting locations here in The Valley, and about four million people live here. I would say that sucks. What also sucks is that less than half of those four million are registered to vote.

There was an elderly man wheeling his own personal oxygen tank. He practically crawled in to perform his civic duty. A lady using a cane. A young couple with a baby. The woman next to me was a city worker who said her boss gave her the morning off so she could vote.

The Arizona Republic reports:

"Officials predict 80 to 85 percent turnout from about 1.7 million registered voters this year, said Yvonne Reed, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Elections Department.

As of Wednesday, more than 13,100 county voters had cast early ballots in person, Reed said. About 486,000 early votes, including mail-in ballots, have been cast among the 861,000-plus early ballots requested."

The way people were talking when I was waiting to vote, I don't think 'Zona is a red state anymore. Maybe not blue, because it'll likely be a close race here, but definitely purple, as indicated in a local poll released earlier this week:

"TEMPE, Ariz. ––Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by two points (46 percent to 44 percent) in Arizona, a margin that makes the race too close to call, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll of 1,019 registered voters in Arizona was conducted Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points."

That in itself is very interesting, but it gets more so later, continuing:

"The statewide telephone poll of 1,019 registered voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET. The statewide sample for this Cronkite/Eight poll was 37 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 29 percent Independent. Fifty-eight percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 17 percent in Pima County and 25 percent in Arizona’s other counties. Forty-seven percent of the voters interviewed are men and 53 percent women. The Maricopa County sample was 43 percent Republican, 33 percent Democrat and 24 percent Independent, with 49 percent men and 51 percent women."

Details. I just love the details. Even though more Republicans than Democrats were polled, it's a dead heat?


Marc said...

Looks like I just missed you, as I was #163. When I found out the wait was going to be over an hour, I went to the library across the street and picked up a book.

wunelle said...

I voted in Appleton earlier this week before heading back to KY to work. There were lines all day (I got right in early in the morning, but had to return and wait in line when I forgot to sign my absentee ballot application).

The worker told me the lines had been long, all day, every day, since early voting began. That's encouraging.

People weren't disclosing their choices (though WI is pretty solidly blue this election), but everyone talked amiably.

dbackdad said...

That's the same place I voted. I agree with you ... if the talk there is any indication, it definitely tended purple if not outright blue.

Heller said...

I mailed it in early. And it felt great. The only thing I didn't like was the big red box on the outside of the envelope: "Mark This Box if Your Ballot Was Spoiled and Another One Will Be Sent To You."

Uh, anyone could check that box at any point in time after I mail it... and the new one wouldn't arrive until too late.

That's why I'm a registered Independent. They don't know which way you're leaning so they can't afford to slice you off.

Eli Blake said...

I've talked to a lot of Republicans who really are disgusted with how badly their party has screwed up.

I get the bonus when I vote (I always wait for very early on the morning on election day, though there is never any line in the small rural precinct where I live, even later in the day.)

The bonus is that besides voting for Obama, I get to vote for Ann Kirkpatrick for Congress (a race we hope to win and replace Rick Renzi, R-Indicted). Plus, we also live in a very competitive state legislative district.