I voted last Friday, worried enough by the reports of long lines in certain parts of the country that I didn’t want to risk waiting for hours on Tuesday.

But I can’t help feeling a little unsettled.

I’ve never wanted to mail in a ballot, too afraid it would get lost. So I have to go to the polls for that reason, and also because I like the feel of it all: walking into a room full of (generally aged) volunteers, filling out a form, showing my ID, getting the ballot.

I prefer to do my voting on Election Day. It feels like an event, a ceremony, a ritual that way, as it should. Sometimes I even cry tears of joy over the privilege of voting.

This election cycle, though, showing up early provided an unexpected bonus: I ran into the county clerk and recorder, Russ Ragsdale. We recognized each other, even though it’s been several years since I was at a meeting he organized to explain how the Help America Vote Act was going to work in Broomfield. I very much doubt I would have been able to chat with him on Election Day.

The Colorado ballot had a ridiculous number of initiatives, and I voted yes on three that will put more money into the state government: the one to raise taxes to provide funds for the developmentally disabled (people like a couple of my relatives, though they don’t live in Colorado), the one to repeal a tax break for oil and gas companies, and the one to repeal part of TABOR and give more money to education (Colorado is 49th in the nation on education spending).

Then, for good measure, I voted no on almost all the others, including the labor initiatives their proponents had withdrawn. Just to make sure.

And finally, just to be a hypocrite, I voted to make it harder to get initiatives on the ballot to amend the state constitution.

I was telling my husband that people who want to get amendments on the ballot should be required to read the entire Colorado constitution first and pass a pop quiz.

(Of course, I voted for some of the amendments in the constitution now. Amendments my husband probably had the good sense to vote against because he didn’t want to clutter up Colorado’s founding document.)


One other weird thing about Colorado politics this year? Mike Coffman, the secretary of state, is running for Congress. So in theory he’s supervising his own election.

I’m not concerned about that because he’s a Republican. I just think it’s disturbing that the chief elections official of a state can run for office and supervise an election at the same time. I wish we could pass a law at the federal level to outlaw it—for a quicker result—but I suppose it’s something that must be done at the state level.

You can probably tell that state’s rights are not high on my list of priorities.


I’m not sure this post ever had a point it was driving toward. But Monday morning, I saw something that cheered me a bit: looking out my back door, I saw a vehicle driving down the street on the other side of our park. It had a big American flag on the front of the car and a small one attached to the back, as well as a sign on the side. I couldn’t read the sign, and knew it might be for McCain, but still I was cheered by it.

And then something I heard Monday afternoon saddened me: Barack Obama’s grandmother died, the day before the election.

I really wanted her to make it to Wednesday.

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Leave A Comment

  1. BernardL November 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    The sight of the Stars and Stripes always cheers me up too. I share your uneasiness with mailing in a ballot. There were no lines out here in my precinct first thing this morning.

  2. BruceQ November 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Yep, me too. Ballot might get lost, and it’s not as much fun. I get a kick out of walking around with my “I Voted!” sticker. On the other hand, in 2004 the line at Tattered Cover downtown wound through the stacks on three floors! Being self-employed, I simply could not afford to vote. Which sucked. A lot.

    So it was mail-in for me this year. Thank you, Colorado, for that option. I saw on the news last night that over half of all CO registered voters had already voted! I’d like to see it go online. Now that would be convenient!

    I also share your concern about the Secretary of State supervising his own election. Doesn’t sound right, does it?

  3. saint facetious November 4, 2008 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    No line for me downtown. Tattered Cover was long last time because that was the only polling place. They’ve got three or four this go round.

    I voted “no” on nearly all of the amendments. Except to increase the gambling stakes and to bring in roulette and craps. I much prefer roulette to poker and slot machines as a way to lose my money.

  4. Beth November 4, 2008 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    So voting in Denver was rough in 2004 also? I know there were problems in 2006. Broomfield has never been crowded.

    The people I talked to in Denver today said they had voted early and hadn’t had any problems.

    I did hear that in Kansas City, where I grew up, they had the wrong books in some precincts. But that problem got corrected, apparently.

    It was pretty quiet in Denver today. I didn’t see anybody demonstrating along the 16th Street Mall or in Uptown. I was kind of surprised by that.

  5. steph November 5, 2008 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Wow. Your voting processes sound very complicated. I do vote, and it’s a matter of checking off a box of the rep you want to vote for. In and out in 5 seconds. I just can’t get emotional about it all except for happy that it’s so “quick and painless.” I don’t trust the politicians or what they say, and the campaigning is embarrassing to watch.

    I’ve never even been in a line, but there are usually several advance poll dates as well as entire-day polls the day of. Belleville’s a pretty small place, as well. I also vote for quite a minor party and I suppose although I don’t believe that my vote doesn’t make a difference, the whole thing does leave me cynical. No matter what, nothing ever changes anyway here. We always seem to be voting for the lesser evil.

    I hope for your sakes, well, and for ours, the US experiences much positive change with this election.

  6. Beth Partin November 5, 2008 at 10:40 am - Reply


    I’m looking forward to change myself. It can’t come soon enough.

    I read somewhere that lists of voters are posted in Canadian precincts so that everyone can see whether he or she is registered. Is that true?