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I voted in an elementary school gym.

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Nov. 4th, 2008 | 11:02 am
mood: peacefulMmm, American traditions
music: Death Cab for Cutie - You Can Do Better Than Me | Powered by Last.fm

Sorry, kids, for taking away a day of your physical activity. Have a donut.

After getting maybe five hours of sleep riddled with dreams that I'd missed my chance to vote because I was going on vacation, I woke up at 7:45 this morning, got dressed, and gathered my junk. List of judge endorsements, voter registration card, a utility bill showing my current address (recommended for first-time voters, which I am in NC). I didn't end up needing them, as the poll workers had my information all correct. Two Obama volunteers, including one of my co-workers, had set up a canopy outside with donuts, coffee, and endorsement lists. No one else was out there, not even the B.J. Lawson groupies that had been outside early voting sites. I walked into the gym, waited in line for maybe 2 minutes (behind my second pre-major advisor, oddly; he didn't remember me but was mega-nervous about the lack of crowds), and then got my ballot and filled in bubbles.

Who earned my vote

It's no surprise that I voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden for president and vice president. I proudly voted for Obama in the January caucus, narrowly chosen over Hillary Clinton because of a few issues differences. Had Hillary won the Democratic nomination, I still would have voted for her, and happily. In all the furor this election season over representing the "Joe Sixpacks" and "Joe the Plumbers" of the country and not being an arugula-eating elitist, it was clear that this rhetoric was not designed for me. I do not want a regular ol' person to be President; I want someone who is undoubtedly smarter and more shrewd and a better negotiator than the average American. Obama, for me, fulfills that well, on top of supporting the general vision I have for our country. His stance on almost every issue I can think of meant that I would not have voted for John McCain even before he picked his running mate and they started a months-long parade of misinformation and scare tactics, but I do recognize that his experience would serve him well in the unlikely event that he won today. Contrast this with 2000 and 2004, where George W. Bush was almost dangerously unprepared for the job, in my opinion. Someone you'd like to sit down and have a beer with, many people said at the time, and I hope that we've learned from how poorly he performed in the last 8 years that this is not something we want in a President. At least not until many other requirements are satisfied.

In the Senate, I voted for Kay Hagan. I have lived in North Carolina for almost all of the last six years but have heard barely a peep out of Elizabeth Dole in that time, until it became clear that her seat was in jeopardy. Then she and her party came out with the mad and ridiculous "Fibber Kay" ad campaigns, and all of a sudden Dole cares about me? Yes, her office would process a visa for me if I were to travel abroad extensively, and other such routine constituent services, too. But I can't help but feel shortchanged by a senator who doesn't really live here; the much-touted number of times she's been to the state isn't even the problem (and it also may not be completely accurate). It's just that she's not visible, not active (she even bombed at chairing the RSCC in 2006), not an advocate for us, and I'm not okay with that. In the primary I was rooting for Jim Neal, but Kay Hagan is still a good, progressive choice, and I was proud to vote for her.

I won't list all of the other candidates I voted for, and some of them didn't have opponents anyway, but I have one more note. I voted for the proposed 1% prepared food tax in Durham County. This was our only ballot measure and has been hotly debated; I voted in favor of it because the actual impact on people's wallets is small, with a potential for outsized benefits to Durhamites, in my opinion. My neighborhood listservs exploded with name-calling and tantrums from both sides on this measure over the weekend, but it did not change my mind. Though I am wary of the county potentially using the money to service current debt in the meantime before the stated benefit projects can begin, the reality is that I generally support the way they operate and don't think denying this revenue source is a good way to slap the hands of the government, when I and other residents would lose out as a result. I have no idea which way it's going to go, and will be watching out for that tonight.

I am running off to a lunch talk right now (and lunch meetings have cropped up tomorrow and Thursday too, so I don't have to pack a lunch until Friday!), but will post another entry later on the last couple of days. They have been far better than the weekend, believe me.

And you know I'm going to say it: if you haven't voted, go do it now! Polls are open until 7:30 in NC, and happy volunteers in Durham are handing out baked goods and coffee where the lines are long. Plus you can get free food at various restaurants with your "I voted" sticker! :D

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Comments {2}

CrazyKidBen

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from: crazykidben
date: Nov. 4th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
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I didn't get an "I voted" sticker :(

But I thought I'd share with you that I too voted for Obama in January and felt like the only gay guy I knew to do so. For some reason everyone else was 110% Pro-Hillary. I know she was much more vocal early on about support the GLBT community, but that wasn't the only issue I was voting for so I took her entire platform into account when I chose Obama.

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jonathan

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from: silverthief2
date: Nov. 4th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
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Aww, I'd totally give you my sticker if we weren't in completely separate swing states. :)

This was a very pro-Obama area in the primaries, but I actually absentee voted in the New Mexico caucus, which Hillary won. And yes, you're so right that although her support for GLBT folks was more prominent, I couldn't vote just on that when questions about Iraq troop withdrawal and other pressing things were factors too.

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