Well, that’s over with

I voted this morning. It was a less pleasant experience than I’ve had before. Denver used to have precinct-based polling. My polling place was two blocks away. There were usually four or five voting machines, and I seldom had to wait in line more than 15-20 minutes before voting.

This election, Denver is not doing voting by precinct; there are 55 polling stations scattered throughout the city, and you can vote at any one of them. I was in line for two hours before I got to vote, and the line was longer when I left than when I arrived. There were 20 voting machines, but verifying voter eligibility was the bottleneck – I never saw more than about 5 or 6 voting machines simultaneously in use.

Since anyone could vote at any station, the election workers didn’t have books with listings of people who could vote there; they had laptops that connected to a central server. With 20 voting machines, we had 4 laptops. Verifying a voter took about 3-4 minutes, thus, the bottleneck.

Another innovation was that people voting absentee could drop off their absentee ballots at the polling station. There was a large red wooden box with metal straps and padlocks and an insertion slot sitting near the voting machines. When I got to the head of the line, shortly before 10am, the box was overfull, with envelopes sticking out of the slot. I have to admit that I’m not pleased with that situation.

The only good part was the young woman behind me in line – she borrowed my pen to fill out her signature card. When I filled out mine, she said, “Oh, we’re neighbors.” I asked her address, then said to her, “Oh, you’re just the other side of the highway. If you hear banjo or ukulele music drifting north some warm evening, it’s me.”

Her eyes got large, and she said, “I know who you are! I work for Marion!” So we had a nice discussion while slowly shuffling forward.

I knew that I lived in a liberal stronghold, but I hadn’t realized quite how much. Diana DeGette is my congresscritter, having taken Pat Shroeder’s spot. The last time I looked at the election results, Ms. DeGette was the projected winner with about 78% of the vote. Her opponent had 21%. He’s in the Green party. There was no Republican running … I don’t think any Republican could be elected in my district.

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