I spent the entire day – from 0630 to 2030 – at my local polling place. Here are a few thoughts:
- It was a great day. It was fun to see people. Some were excited to vote. We had several first-timers vote and most people were pretty excited to vote.
- The polling place was amazingly sanitized. Voters used a sanitized pen once and then kept it or put it in a box to be sanitized. All surfaces were sanitized after being touched. People were generally very considerate about social distancing and sanitary practices.
- There was a wide range of attitudes toward the CDC recommendations. Some people were practically in a hazmat suit. Some folks weren’t doing anything. Some had some interesting homemade masks.
- Turnout was pretty good. Out of about 2,100ish registered voters in our polling place, we had about 535 returned absentee ballots when we started and several that were dropped off. That’s only absentees returned as of Saturday morning, so there will be more. Then we had 234ish people vote in person. That’s a turnout of roughly 36%-40% – depending on how many absentee ballots came in during the last few days. Given that it’s a Republican-majority district and the presidential primary uncontested, that’s not bad. For some perspective, turnout in this district for recent April elections was:
- 2019: 40.6% (heated school referendum)
- 2018: 32.9% (kinda busy supreme court race)
- 2017: 14.6% (yawn)
- 2016: 55.9% (Heated GOP presidential primary)
- 2015: 12.3% (yawn)
- 2014: 14.11% (yawn)
Overall, it was a great experience. I encourage all of you to support self-governance by volunteering and making sure the machinery of voting is open, free, and fair for everyone.