John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Ten random things: November 3

Ten newly elected members of the U.S. Senate:

  1. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.)
  2. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
  3. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
  4. Chris Coons (D-Del.)
  5. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
  6. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
  7. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
  8. John Boozman (R-Ark.)
  9. Dan Coats (R-Ind.)
  10. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)

I spent most of Election Day at working as an election official at a couple of Madison precincts. I started the day at Madison Fire Department No. 1, the polling place for the 42nd Ward. It was pretty slow to start--we were averaging one voter every two minutes for the first four hours--but from 11:30 to 1:30 we were swamped. I was working the door at the time, so dealing the the huge influx of would-be voters kept me jumping. Once we slowed down, the election chief asked if I would be willing to head over to another polling place, where some no-shows had left them shorthanded. I was, so I walked the few blocks from MFD#1 to Gordon Commons, a UW dining hall and the 45th Ward polling place. On my way into the building, I met Ben Manski, the Green Party candidate for the 77th District State Assembly seat. I probably would have voted for him if I lived in his district. (He lost to the Democrat despite the Democrat having "a problem with trustworthiness.") Gordon Commons was jumping; it was pretty busy the whole time I was there, and by the time the polls closed they had seen a little under 1,400 voters come through the doors. I don't know how many voters MFD#1 ended up with.

One of the things that made working at these two wards interesting is that they are both predominantly populated by UW students. (I don't know if there are any non-students in the 45th, unless there's a residential superintendent at the private residence hall UW Residence Life career staff living in the two UW dorms located in the ward.) Wisconsin allows same-day registration, and the majority of the students living in the two wards were either first-time voters or had moved since the last election, so we had to deal with a lot of registrations. And while Wisconsin makes it pretty easy for people to prove they live where they say they do, it's not as easy as some of these kids thought it would be, so we had to spend what seemed like an awful lot of time explaining to them what would work. (A bank statement or utility bill? Sure! A letter from your grandmother? Not so much, unless, as I explained to the would-be voter who presented such a letter, his grandmother was governor and the letter was on official state letterhead.) Luckily, since the downtown wards are so small, it generally wasn't a problem for them to run back home and get something.


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