Obviously, Hurricane Sandy failed to blow us away. (We didn’t even lose power – it rated slightly more exciting than Irene, much less than various other natural disasters.) The man-made perfect storm that is the US Presidential Elections is, however, less avoidable, and today’s the day. I have friends coming over and a lot of alcohol stockpiled. It’s going to be a long night, either way.
The shenanigans surrounding Americans actually getting to the polls to cast their vote are many and varied – check out Charlie Pierce’s blog for the details on some of them – but Massachusetts is as far from being a swing state as you can get, dyed-in-the-wool blue ever since the Democrats and Republicans settled into their current political conformations, and voting here is a little less fraught. A few people in our department who voted early reported very long lines and parking spaces running out – my guess would be turnout fueled by Elizabeth Warren and her Senate campaign, she’s very popular in these college-town parts – but my friends didn’t go vote until mid-afternoon, when it seemed likely to have calmed down, so I tagged along to see how they did the voting thing around here, and maybe take some pictures. (Which is legal in Massachusetts, though not everywhere – and I made very sure to explain to everyone I spoke to that I was a foreign student interested in seeing American democracy at work.)
The line was relatively short, maybe ten or fifteen people – they were moving them through efficiently, which relieved my friend Kelley, born and taught to vote in Ohio. She’d brought three forms of ID, her voter registration letter, and an American flag, just in case. (Okay, one of the three.)
It was all extremely civilised, polite, and friendly; after all the shouting and punditry and accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression and so on and so forth, it was a very positive experience to see people (middle-class white voters in a college town, admittedly) just getting on with casting their vote for their chosen candidates. Whoever they may be.
(Just, please, please, please don’t let it be Romney.)