Hope you got your free Starbucks coffee. Starbucks said they would provide a free cup if you voted; this morning I heard that protests of unfairness caused our coffee giant to offer brewed java free to everyone.
I wrote the following earlier. Right now it's just about time (5:41 on the west coast) to start getting some early results. I am not eager.
It's 1:30 pm here in the Northwest, in the overcast, rainy season, and the polls are open. Wide open. Empty, in fact, since 80% of the electorate votes via absentee ballot, like I did. We've got some crucial issues on our ballot, most notably, the election of Dino Rossi, who was elected three times in the LAST gubernatorial election. He won. He was challenged and won again in recounts two more times. Not satisfied, current Gov. Christine Gregoire demanded a THIRD recount. In that recount, 125 provisional ballots, all for her, were found "lost" in the back of a sofa. The election was overturned, to our state's detriment.
We've got other important issues on which to vote, not the least of which is for President. But with the battleground states in the east, and Washington state solidly Obama-land, the election will be "called" in a couple of hours. Long, long before our polls close at 8 pm, we'll "know" the outcome of the Presidential race.
Not much of a motivator to go vote, if you're one of the 20% who still shows up in person. And it confirms that we in the west are second-class-citizens. My husband is in Phoenix, and will go to the Biltmore for the Republican she-bang, where John McCain will appear to either concede or celebrate.
Oh, he'll be there, but there may be no results. This time, it's quite possible that the final determination of the election--one that looks historically close--might not be known for days, even weeks. Lawyers across the country are salivating, looking for means they can reverse an outcome that doesn't match their preferences--or defend against challenges when their guy wins.
But that won't stop pundits and statisticians from announcing the outcome tonight, or, from my perspective, this early evening. I'm planning to go to the Bellevue Hyatt, the traditional site where all the area Republicans gather to watch election returns. Dino Rossi will be there along with the senatorial and local office candidates, local talk show hosts (I was invited by one to come) and die-hard politicos. We'll be there awaiting local news, but will be either buoyed or depressed by a backdrop of national results already widely disseminated. We'll have wall-sized TVs reiterating everything. But I wish they weren't there.
We think we're so advanced because of our instant media and sophisticated polling, our plethora of pundits and analyses. But all this noise interferes with the basic message that in our nation, each person who votes in a booth or mails in a ballot, no matter his location, is equally respected. Our west coast choices are just as important as those made in an earlier time zone. Just keep your projections to yourself until you open my envelope and count my vote.