05 November 2008

Much to Do

When I say "much to do," I'm not just talking about Obama's transition team. A palpable fug of denial hangs over me for what my world involves between now and Monday, so I'll keep this brief.

There's been a lot of curiosity over what the polls looked like yesterday. I was prepared to face long lines, conflicts, manipulations, election incompetence, and the like. Aside from being shy a couple election judges when we opened Casa Loma (an affordable housing facility for seniors) to voting for Denver precincts 414 and 415 yesterday, everything went quite smoothly. Initial observations that struck me:

  • Between the 8 election judges who worked our polling location yesterday, we numbered 7 registered Democrats and 1 unaffiliated voter.
  • Poll watchers for the Colorado Democratic Party and the Campaign for Change (also Democratic) arrived at the polling location before the polls opened. Student poll watchers and a couple of ACORN-type poll watchers (read "young hippies") popped in and out during the day. Only one Republican poll watcher checked in at our location all day. We had not posted numbers yet as a result of late ballot pickups, and he did not stay more than 15 minutes. We did not see him again, nor any other Republican poll watcher, all day.
  • While there were signs approaching the polling place (beyond the 100-foot zone) for Obama, Udall, No on 48 and Yes on 59, there was not one sign for McCain or any right-leaning propaganda of any sort.
  • No voter was challenged on eligibility in our location all day.
  • Voter wait times may have reached 30-40 minutes during a rush at 7 am when we opened the doors and only had one election book judge to check voters in. The rest of the day, most voters at Casa Loma walked right in and were voting within 3-5 minutes.
  • We handed out approximately 240 regular ballots and helped voters complete perhaps 50 or 60 provisional ballots, which remain to be counted yet after the decisive early returns last night. Fairly light turnout.
  • Speculation yesterday suggested that over 50% of Denver House District 4 had already voted before Tuesday, November 4.
  • The election judges with whom I worked were gracious, hard-working, patient, and extremely capable. The poll watchers who turned out were ethical and conscientious. On the whole, I have a quite favorable impression of the Denver Elections process, from what little I saw.
  • Despite being in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood, there was no bilingual election judge. I was as close as we had, y mi espaƱol es muy, muy feo. But with a little patience and a sense of humor from a couple Spanish-only voters, I did help at least two very excited voters to successfully cast their ballots.

That's about all I've got. We were breaking down already 10 minutes before closing time (7 pm). We kept several of the 20 election booths standing. They remained empty. Only one last minute mail-in ballot came in at the wire. I was at the bar watching results come in by 8 pm.