The elementary school parking lot was full at a little after 9:00 this morning when I went to vote, and the side streets were packed as well, so I parked about a block away. The cool air and smell of turning leaves made for a pleasant short walk to the polling place.
As I approached the polling entrance, a polite woman sporting an Obama-Biden pin offerred me a “sample ballot”, which I accepted, although it was really a Democrat Party voting guide. If the Republican Party had a presence there, I missed it, and they didn’t seek me out.
The line was longer than I’d ever seen it, but really not very long at all; I waited less than 10 minutes. Apparently, I missed the big rush early this morning.
A poll worker told me that nearly half those registered in my precinct had already voted.
Fairfax County was offerring both machine and paper ballots. Most of my fellow citizens opted for the machines, but I was lured by the coolly historic feel of marking my ballot with a pen and placing it in an actual ballot box. There was one bond issue, and the “Yes” checked on the Democrat guide provided comforting reassurance of my long-standing policy of voting “No” on any measure that begins with the words, “Shall the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt …”
On the way out, I was interviewed by an Associated Press reporter. She asked for whom I had voted, and I answered Chuck Baldwin. She didn’t know who he was, and I said that he was the Constitution Party candidate. She asked why I voted for him; her eyes glazed only a little as I cited the doctrine of enumerated powers. She asked whether third-party voting was typical for me. I replied that I had spent most of my life as a Republican, but, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I didn’t leave the Republican Party; it left me. She asked what I didn’t like about John McCain. I cited McCain-Feingold, pointing out that nothing matters more in a Constitutional republic than freedom of political expression. I also mentioned Sen. McCain’s unsatisfactory economic policies, citing his support of the Bush bail-out and call to exacerbate it by saddling the taxpayers with other people’s bad mortgages at original value.
Then it was off to Starbucks for the free coffee. The line stretched out the door.