I voted Saturday.
That's not me. Pshaw! I wouldn't be caught dead in front of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections without my plastic Obama/Biden hat, slacks and tennis shoes. And my Redistributionists for Obama! lapel pin.
That lady, only partially committed to the Democrat agenda, walked up and down the street, handing out propaganda to everyone waiting in line.
And she got a workout. It was a long line.
It started in the basement of that white building way, way up to the right, wound up four flights of stairs, out the front door, around the corner, all the way down the street (as you can see), then behind me, across the street and up the next block. Which was where we parked. Illegally. Cleveland is notorious for not having enough parking. Voter suppression tactics! So, we parked on a side street, crossed our fingers and got in line.
We got into the back of the line behind a beautiful African American woman named D. She was beaming. And so was the guy behind us. And so were all the people behind him. And every single person in front of us. People were excited and proud and eager to vote.
Obama's volunteers must've learned over the last few weeks that people have been a little too eager to vote. Every five minutes a new volunteer appeared to tell us to only "Fill in the bubble next to Obama's name. Do not also write it in. Because if you do, that's voting twice and your vote will not count!"
"C'mon, everyone! Fill in the bubble! Don't write it in!"
The cheer fell flat. People were eager to vote, not eager to cheer. I have a feeling that's going to change tomorrow night.
D told us she has a friend who works for the Board of Elections who told her everything was really organized this year. Seemed to be. Although the line was really long, it was amazing how fast it was moving.
Then again, time passes quickly when you're having fun. Twenty minutes passed very slowly Friday night after trick or treating was over. Our neighbor, Joe -- Joe the Neighbor -- came over and we stood at the door talking. He kept saying how "risky" it was to vote for Obama. I couldn't figure out what "risky" was code for, so I said, "Like we haven't learned what the consequences of risky are after the last eight years?"
And things went downhill from there.
He rolled his eyes, barked and blamed Clinton.
I popped off about Reagan.
He stomped off and went home. No Milk Duds for him!
I felt bad the next morning and thought of walking across the street to apologize. The Skimmer said, "Yeah, go over and say you're sorry. You're sorry Bush has been the worst president in the history of this country!"
As we approached the Board of Elections building, I told D the story about Joe the Neighbor. She shook her head and said, "Oooh, can't say anything negative about Ronald Reagan!"
"I know. Cardinal sin. Ketchup is a vegetable!"
We met a few politicians while waiting in line.
Peter Lawson Jones, running to be re-elected as County Commissioner.
After more than two hours, I was sitting in front of the petite lady who was explaining to me that I had to fill in all the bubbles, fold my ballot in half then in half again, put it in the envelope and seal it. I thanked her, took my ballot and found an empty voting booth.
I took a look at the presidential candidates' names and filled in the bubble to the left of Obama/Biden very carefully while not also writing in their names. Looked at the names McCain/Palin and was stunned for a second that that choice was actually a real one. I filled in the rest of the bubbles on the ballot, folded then folded again, sealed my envelope and walked over to drop it in the big blue box.
A lady, in her mid 50s, was taping hers closed.
"Tape yours, too, honey! Don't let them mess with your vote. Yeah, that's good. Tape the edges, too! Wrap that tape around to the front on both sides!"
I did what she said wondering to myself if Ken Blackwell had secretly enacted some Scotch tape law in 2004, then dropped my bubble-filled, sealed and taped envelope into the ballot box.
The Skimmer and I walked up the stairs and outside and stood there with a group of people for a few minutes before heading to our car that we hoped had not been towed. It was a beautiful fall day. 70 degrees, the sun was shining and this was playing on two loud speakers across the street.
One lady yelled out, "Ya'll feelin' good?!"
And finally, a cheer rang out!
Jill Miller Zimon, fellow Buckeye, of She Writes Like She Talks, was down at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Saturday, too. Click over and watch her video coverage. And remember, she is very powerful, so be nice to her!
What McCain Has Going For Him
John McCain has spent a tremendous amount of time in Ohio, as has Sarah Palin. Rural Ohio is still Republican country, and Ohio has many more rural -- if more sparsely populated -- counties in Ohio. Joe the Plumber is also from Ohio. "American" ancestry is a bigger-than-the-median draw in Ohio, Ohio is slightly undereducated, slightly less favorable for same-sex households, and has more self-identifying Republicans than most states. There are more seniors than normal in Ohio, which also favors McCain. The evangelical base turnout was huge in Ohio in 2004, and if McCain's addition of Palin can generate huge turnout from these voters, he can perhaps take the state and overperform the polls. While we're skeptical from what we've seen that McCain's ground game is even in the ballpark of Obama's, stranger things have happened.
What Obama Has Going For Him
Ohio's economy is in shambles, and Barack Obama has hammered an economic message for months that resonates with Ohio voters. Southeast Ohio, the swing area of the state, is Joe Biden country, and when we caught up with him there he seemed in his element -- literally. Although the Ohio River valley was tough turf for Obama in the primary, some polls have put him ahead of Kerry's pace there, and increased turnout in other parts of the state could put him over the top. Unquestionably, Barack Obama's ground force is as good as it gets in Ohio, and if there is a sporadic Democratic voter in Ohio, one of that voter's neighbors has talked to him or her. In the Secretary of State's office, there's no Ken Blackwell this year, as Democrat Jennifer Brunner is in charge. The vote here will come down to the economy and ground game, and Barack Obama holds well on both of those fronts...
...In the presidential race, if John McCain doesn't win Ohio, only three of our 10,000 simulations yesterday showed him winning the election. Simply put, McCain must win Ohio or the election is done.
And lastly, my heart breaks for Barack Obama and his family. So completely unfair.