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Voting Today…

Let’s just say that it was interesting. We live in what’s considered a bellwether county in a swing state. Our voting location is rather unique because two precincts are divided into two rooms that are next to one another. One line is full of mostly apartment dwellers and the other mostly those who live in single family homes.

Because of the division, there end up being some observable demographic differences. In 2008, the line for the apartment folks was down the hall, down another hall, down a third hall and rounded back, and then out the door of the building. It is typically a very minority-heavy line. The line for the single family home neighborhoods is more white, and it really didn’t exist in 2008. In 2012, the apartment line was much shorter, though still long and largely minority. There was a line for the other precinct was one of the longer lines we’d ever seen there and mostly people with other family members.

How did these trends reflect in results? In 2008, well, Pennsylvania was never really in play and that showed. In 2012, our county went more red, the state was less solidly blue, and everything was a bit closer.

Today, the precinct for the apartments was still very long. However, unlike previous elections, there were a substantial number of white voters. I almost wasn’t sure which line we would be in because of the change in demographics. Regardless, we ventured down the hallway toward the precinct line that is practically non-existent just to make sure.

Then, shocking, we had a line. We had a line that went out into the hallway, turned a corner and snaked around, and then came back toward an entrance. It was still shorter than the other line, but wow. We had to wait half an hour. The guy behind us isn’t a regular voter, so he waited in the wrong line for an hour before he found out and still went waited in our line with a great attitude. I have no idea who he was voting for, but if demographics in polling mean anything this year – and I’m not sure how much they do in this area if I’m honest – then our line was pretty old, largely men and older couples voting together, and fairly pale skinned. The woman standing out with Democratic Congressional materials who we suspect came from New Jersey was looking very, very unhappy at the people coming in.

If there’s one rule that Sebastian and I share in this election is that we’re not making predictions. There have been too many surprises both nationally and locally. This definitely has to go down as one of the strangest election seasons I’ve ever lived through. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

29 Responses to “Voting Today…”

  1. Ian Argent says:

    Interesting. I guess the apocalyptic language of the campaigns “worked.” Dammit.

    • Bitter says:

      It was very odd listening to people in line. No one was complaining about the lines or having to wait. But there were complaints about the ads and commercials. Everyone who spoke up seemed ready for it to be over, but most people were pretty okay with how the process was going.

      • Archer says:

        That echoes what I’m hearing here in Oregon. I can make recommendations, I can make endorsements (such as they are), I can make the case for how I’m voting.

        The one thing I can’t make is a prediction — not with any accuracy. Even in a solid-blue state, there are several races that are competitive.

        But the only universal thought among EVERYONE I talk to is, we’re ready for it to be over and done. No more flyers (we’ve gotten about 2 dead trees worth of mailers on the State Rep race and “Measure 97” … each), no more TV ads (no commercial break goes by without hearing both sides of the State Rep race and Measure 97), no more “national polling firm” phone calls (my wife and I have each gotten a dozen or so), and above all, no more tension.

        We’re just ready for it to be done, and let the panic-buying begin … because there WILL be panic-buying, whichever way it goes.

        • The ads this year on the down ticket races have been very interesting here in North Carolina. The Senate race ads were that Sen. Burr (R) had gotten rich in DC and that Ross (D) was against DNA tests for felons and for sex offenders. One ad that Burr should have run more often was that of his wife saying SHE was the one who had increased their net worth through HER small business.

          You’d think that the governor’s race was all about rape kits in the state crime lab. Gov McCrory (R) pointed out the backlog and AG Cooper (D) said he’d cleared the backlog when he became AG 16 years ago. That and the Dems railing about HB2. Dems said the state lost business over the transgender bathroom bill but they failed to say that they encouraged business to go elsewhere.

          All in all a very strange election from the top on down.

          • Archer says:

            Yea, the ad campaigns for our State House Rep race were weird, too. Our district had five people running from ALL the major parties, but it’s going to be between the Republican Patti Milne and the Democrat Teresa Alonso Leon.

            We’ve been getting near-daily mailed flyers for both of them, and seeing TV ads for both of them. The “national polling firm” calls I mentioned above usually ask about this race: who we support, what we know about them, and how we learned it.

            Here’s the weird part, and what I was going to share with the pollsters if they called again (they haven’t): We know from Patti Milne’s flyers and ads that she supports small businesses and school choice, and opposes minimum wage increases and additional taxes. We know from Teresa Alonso Leon’s flyers and ads that she opposes … Patti Milne.

            (Also, that she wants to “fix Salem” – somehow – by replacing the retiring Democrat with her Democrat self, and perpetuating the same-old Democrat-led policies. Or something.)

            Like I said, weird.

  2. Stephen says:

    I expect to see triumphant headlines about President Hillary tomorrow but wouldn’t be shocked if this is a “Brexit” type vote where more people grudgingly voted for Trump than for Clinton.

    I’ve been through many elections and this is the first one where about the only issues pushed where how awful the other candidate is (unfit to be president/should be in prison/Rapist/Isis supporter/ etc.). Unfortunately this crap works or they wouldn’t do it.

    But the worst thing is that if you believe this strategy and it works for you for one candidate or the other, then how can you respect someone who voted the other way? They were voting for a criminal or a rapist.

    • Bitter says:

      I read that the gambling pools were looking very similar to Brexit. More money was placed on stay, but more low dollar gamblers were betting on leave. The same was apparently true about a week out in the presidential race – more money on Clinton, but more people actually placing bets on Trump.

      Certainly, I would argue that there are similarities in the behavior of the left and popular culture. It has become “unacceptable” in certain circles to support Trump, so no one can admit to doing so. The same kind of attitude was seen in Britain before Brexit. I think that there are also more complexities to those who might be considering a vote for Trump than the media is willing to give them credit for, and we definitely saw that post Brexit.

      This is just a strange election year, and there’s a part of me that would like to just get drunk tonight and remain that way for the next 4 years regardless of outcome.

  3. Whetherman says:

    I experienced snaking lines for the first time, and in the past I worked the polls in most elections, so I’ve seen lots of elections at all times of the day.

    Voter turnout was about 26 percent at 10:30 AM.

    Since I had to stand in line 15 – 20 minutes I had time for people-watching, and I observed a number of young, sullen and angry looking white guys in line. I had the feeling they were people who would not normally have been voting, and perhaps were voting for the first time. I suspected they were Trump voters.

    • Bitter says:

      I hesitate to make snap judgements on demographics this year partially because I don’t think pollsters are doing a good job of forecasting the electorate. I was up in a swankier suburb just north of us yesterday visiting a friend and stopped in their grocery store on the way home. I overheard a guy in probably his mid to late 20s who worked there telling someone he hasn’t voted since he was 18, but he was showing up to vote tomorrow. Is he with her? Location and likely family members tell me he should be. Is he not with her? Assuming it’s not a job while he goes to school or something tells me that with his skin tone and gender, he might be a Trump guy.

      I honestly don’t know what the results tonight hold. Except for State Rep. I’ll predict that Frank Farry – uncontested – wins in a landslide. :)

      • Whetherman says:

        I was aware I was doing a lot of un-subtantiated “profiling” when I assumed young, sullen-looking white guys would be Trump voters.

        And I’ll bet on state rep John Galloway in the 140th — same reason!

  4. Stephen says:

    One last thought … when I was young and liberal my first election was 1980. I really disliked Carter so I held my nose and voted for Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan and then Bush I were the only Republicans I voted for until Bush II in 2000. But I didn’t vote for Reagan because I believed in him, but because I was angry at how Carter handled things, particularly the Iranian embassy hostage situation.

    Ironically … the only time I ever voted for a President that I was excited about was Clinton I. Although I didn’t agree with him on gun control, I had given up on that in the 90’s (it seemed like a lost cause) and I liked him on other issues.

    If somehow Trump manages to win it will probably mostly be because Hillary sucks, but no matter — hopefully we’ll still get better Supreme Court picks and serve notice to the Dems that the gun vote matters more than Bloomberg’s money.

  5. RAH says:

    Turnout seems high all over. This seems to indicate a large passionate desire. Clinton does not engender that except in dislike. I think this is a change election and that is for the change candidate which is Trump. That matches those enormous rallies Trump was having rather than the star studded ones that Hillary had.

    • Stephen says:

      Dangit — I’ve accepted the reality of a Hillary victory and the overturn of the 2nd amendment via court action and the probable slow death of the gun culture — but now you guys are getting me all hopeful again!

      Fortunately I was able to turn to facebook and crush that false hope by reading all the idiots proclaiming “voting for the lesser of 2 evils is still evil. I’m voting Johnson.”

      Democrat voters (and some really understand and believe in the Democratic party platform) and idiots who vote Johnson because Trump isn’t perfect enough will still turn the election.

      • Bitter says:

        I really am going into tonight thinking that anything goes. I don’t know what the turnout means. I’m seeing high turnout photos in areas I expect to see Hillary win, but then a closer look shows them wearing hats and other clothing with Make America Great Again slogans. I say don’t get your hopes up, but don’t assume it’s the end of the world. 2016 is just weird, and I don’t think it’s safe to assume anything until the votes are counted.

      • Ian Argent says:

        I was very thankful I could vote my conscience, as there is roughly no chance of NJ going red

  6. great unknown says:

    I am afraid that even if Trump wins by a solid margin in the popular vote, and an ostensible majority in the Electoral College, it won’t be over. Suddenly, the MSM will be full of editorials and learned comments about how the Electors don’t have to follow the dictates of the popular vote, and nothing is over yet.

    And that, I am afraid, will be the straw that broke the back of the Republic.

    • Stephen says:

      I end up having a lot of conversations about the electoral college every election. I agree without how presidential votes are divided by state, but the concept of electoral college candidates who can still vote how they want is ridiculous. I’d say keep the concept of the electoral vote but remove the voters — the state legislature decides how votes are tallied (all or split) and it is strictly based on vote.

      If what you say comes true and the electoral college votes in Hillary regardless … that will be very, very bad on many levels. Hopefully even the Democratic party would find it unacceptable (who am I kidding — Obama will encourage the electoral college to use their pen and their phone to fix the broken election system that chose Trump).

      • great unknown says:

        Unfortunately, what you are suggesting requires major tinkering with the Constitution. Even those state laws which require their electors to follow the popular vote under penalty may be, if challenged in court, declared unenforceable.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’ll be honest, if the Electoral College said they couldn’t in good conscience make either of those two President, I’d be fine with that. The EC was put in place as a check against the people making a dreadful error. I feel like if they aren’t going to do anything for us this election, what good are they? :)

      • Stephen says:

        Democrats consider democracy/freedom a train you get off once you’ve reached your stop but I have to disagree. I still trust the people as a whole more than any small group of “electors” chosen by career politicians. And while we don’t have a lot to lose if the electors go rogue this time around … wouldn’t like to see it in general.

        I know it would be a change to the constitution but it is doable. You are simply “voting your electoral choice” and then votes are tallied up with 2 for senators going statewide and the others either divided up or not (of course if you divide them up by district it makes gerrymandering even more powerful — might have to think that through a bit but once the country is ready I’ll have engineered a good plan ;-).

  7. JC_VA says:

    One of our local areas (mainly African American) had yard signs lining both sides of the street in both 2008 and 2012. We counted 6-8 Hillary signs on it over the weekend. Some places around only have the local candidate and not a Hillary sign. Very strange.

    • Bitter says:

      The presence and lack of yard signs where expected and in front of different households is one reason why I’m a little hesitant to assume too much on visible demographic data.

      • Whetherman says:

        I am told that the Democrats deliberately did not produce or distribute a lot of yard signs this year, as they are a waste of resources — something I’ve been saying for a long time.

        But, I can verify no part of that.

        • Ralphie says:

          maybe….. but tie that in with the low turn out at most (not all of course) of the Democrat rallies and your statement doesn’t really work out well.

          Time, of course, will tell.

          • Bitter says:

            He may not be incorrect for this area, which you have to take into account. While I haven’t heard anything specific, I know that even diehard Democrats didn’t go out putting out signs in our area until very late. They didn’t find them easily.

      • Stretch says:

        I traveled through five states from Somerset Co., PA to Augusta, ME before seeing the first Hillary sign. We’re talking heavy union areas where TRUMP signs were on almost every house and never a block without one.

        I’d say “Trump in a landslide.” but I know how crooked the Dems are. If the count is close don’t count on it being over until: A)the Electoral College meets in December. B) both sides exhaust the legal system C) I don’t wanna think about C)

  8. Jack says:

    One of the more interesting aspects of this election is shown by a hand made sign I saw posted at a major intersection that read:
    “The people vs evil. Vote 2016”
    What is interesting is I have no ides which side the person is supporting.

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