Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 11.04.08
Just Outside Washington


Election 2008

November 4, 2008
5:30 AM

Kathy and I arrived at our polling place. There were already about 30 people in line ahead of us. As we waited for the polls to open at 6 a.m., about 100 more people arrived. The crowd was very unusual at our polling place -- usually we arrive about 6 and there are maybe five people waiting.

The mix of people was very diverse. I observed all shades of skin color and identifiable ethnic backgrounds. We had men with turbans, people with tattoos and piercings, guys from da hood, and a woman with a long black robe over street clothes and a bright blue head scarf (fuchsia pants and black 5-inch heels peeked out from under the robe). We had a lot of old people and many young ones. They can't be old enough to vote, can they? There were even six people that we knew.

Most people look pretty scruffy that early in the morning -- it was clear that we were not in Hollywood with the stars. A very orderly crowd.

The polls opened on time and we were out at 6:10. Our polling place had three registration tables and things went rapidly. Fairfax County, Virginia. had put new voting machines in our polling place; no more electronic voting.

We were given a paper ballot in a folder so no one could see our ballot. We filled in the circles with a pen for each candidate. We then went to a scanner and fed our ballot into it. The scanner reads the ballot and deposits it in a locked box underneath. Looks like a good system.

To my friends in California, what is the deal with propositions on the ballot? There is the one to tell farmers how to raise chickens and the one messing with the health care system. Oh yes, there is always the gay marriage thing. I suppose it could be worse, we could all live in South Dakota.

And dead people can vote! Barack Obama's grandmother cast an absentee ballot, which will be counted by the state of Hawaii. So how many people died after casting an absentee ballot? If you decided that dead people's ballots should not count, how would you do that? It is a secret ballot, after all.