I wasn't sure if I was going to vote in this election or not but challenging the Photographers to document their voting experiences made it the whole stupid thing more compelling. The polls opened at 7:00 today but Daylight Savings screws with my sleeping schedule so I may as well make it a habit to get into work early (my schedule is flexible) instead of wasting time lying in bed awake for hours.* Anyway, I got to the polls much later than I anticipated. 5:24, to be exact.
I haven't voted since 2004 and have moved one or two times so I wasn't completely sure of how it would all work. I went into this as a grudgingly good-sport. However, after having gone through the experience, the process was much less hassle than the worst case scenarios that play out in the mind when something is unknown.
I was certain that the polling place had moved from the school up the street to the church down the street. I received a postcard in the mail some time in the summer. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. I departed downtown and took the train Lake Street/Midtown and walked home, trying to get a hold of my partner** to meet at the polling place (you know, to save that extra block of walking and a little bit of time). The concern for us both was that the lines were going to be terrible. As I approached the church, Saint Albert's Catholic Church, I saw no line, no cars. Odd. Hmm. I'll have to look it up.
In retrospect, I looked at that postcard, saw 'Holy Trinity Lutheran Church' and briefly thought my initial presumption was incorrect but decided that it was the Catholic church right there and threw the card into the recycling. The Obama flyer too.
I spent the entire day contemplating who I was going to vote for and why. Well, that's not totally accurate, I was at work after all, but I did do a"poll" among a few co-workers and friends when the opportunities arose. Should I vote against Obama? Should I vote against Romney? I could go either way, frankly. Picking one or the other is virtually impossible. Obama is likely to win Minnesota regardless of my vote so I could deduct one vote from that win. He won't sweat it out, I'm sure, but it could feel good.
Should I give my vote to a third party? One person I talked to today did. Apparently 5% is all it takes to end the two-party hold on the elections. He figured that it was worth a shot.
The polling place is about eight blocks away. I walked down Lake and cut through the library. The election people had anticipated this and taped signs pointing the way. I had expected to see a line. There was no line, only a sign and few people walking in and out. Open the door, walk inside. The signs here confused the gentlemen that walked in ahead of me. It wasn't totally clear that the stairs to vote was to the left and the elevator was to the right. I told the guy that I'm pretty sure the stairs are to the left and walked down the stairs.
The line here was not very long but then lines have been known to move slow. I checked the time the moment I took my place in line. The gentlemen at the front of the line asks me if I'm a registered voter. I say yes. He asks me what my last initial is. He points me a table. The student election judge asks me for my name and requests that I verify my address. I'm not sure how they got this address. I'm then told I can go anywhere to vote so I make my way to the only space that appears to be open at a table.
I sit at the table contemplating who should get my vote for President. I skipped over it and moved on. Oh, I should have looked into what was all going to be on the ballot. I don't know anything about these education officials and judges. I'll have to abstain (except in cases where the incumbent was identified).
I'm certain I spent more time sitting at that table contemplating than I did in line. I guess voter turnout in this ward is relatively low. And I can see why that would be the case. I asked one person today if she would like to share who she was going to vote for, after telling me this was her first election, and she respectively declined. I'm choosing to do that here too. However, I'm certainly open to guessing, just give me a reason why you think I voted that way.
I exited the polling place at 5:38.
*Note to future presidential candidates: If you will get rid of this god awful setting our clocks back and forth, you will have my unconditional vote.
**Who decided not to go vote at the last minute. In the beginning it was "yeah Obama!!!!" and frustrating political arguments, then it was "meh". I'm pretty sure that first debate is responsible.