Our Man in Ohio , OD1, pretty much summed up my feelings about election day when he wrote over the weekend-- even though the latest polls showed Democrats leading there across the board-- "All I can say is that I am cautiously optimistic. The poll numbers are astonishing, and we cannot celebrate until the votes are counted." We're all used to that terrible dichotomy.
In an excellent piece
for Salon today, Gary Kamiya wrote something else that I'm sure will resonate with a lot of folks out there as much as it did with me:Bush's reelection was the most depressing political event in the postwar era. It was close, but that only made it more painful. Most of the people I know still haven't gotten over it. We felt like some perverse deity had switched countries on us when we weren't looking. And we were filled with deep anger not just at Bush but also at those Americans who reelected him.
We knew there would be problems on election day, too. Dirty tricks from the GOP, electronic voting machines that weren't working-- more of what we've come to expect in the last six years. And Salon's War Room has been doing a bang-up job of reporting them, with a gaggle of contributors. (Think Progress has also been on the ball today-- covering stories like Laura Ingraham encouraging listeners
to jam a Democratically-run voter protection line (now that's great comedy!) and fraudulent signs in Georgia.)
There's some good news. Turnout is reportedly high
in a lot of hotly-contested areas. That might not always break in the Dems' favor, but it's a good sign-- especially given the frequent observation that likely Democratic voters were much more fired up about today.
And in a very unpleasant example of the shoe being on the other foot, right-wingers are already firing up the media echo chamber with allegations of voter fraud and suppression. There was never any doubt in my mind that if Bush and Gore's respective positions had been reversed, committed Republicans would've had a similarly reversed view of what the 'just' and 'principled' course of action would've been in 2000. Get ready for some proof of that
. And even more proof
Where have there been reports of voting problems? Pittsburgh
. Florida's notorious Broward County
. The FBI was said to be investigating reports of GOP dirty tricks
in Viriginia-- which you might recall as the place where George Allen's supporters wrestled a critic of the candidate to the ground.
Then there was the funny. Creepy, but funny. Ohio's "Mean" Jean Schmidt went to vote for herself, only to have the optical scanning machine vomit up her ballot
-- two of the three scanners weren't working. (Video here
In my home state, the Missouri Supreme Court had struck down a rule requiring photo IDs at the polls. Nevertheless, the Secretary of State was told by a poll worker
that she had to have one. The poll worker was finally straightened out. But what about all the others?
Things didn't go so well
for South Carolina's Republican governor, Mark Sanford. The law there requires a voter ID or a state-issued photo ID. Sanford had none of them and was denied the right to vote.
There have been other reports of faulty electronic votings machines, and in some of the usual states-- Ohio
-- as well as Indiana
, New Jersey
, and (earlier in the day) Pennsylvania
. How bad was it? Time will tell. Or maybe it won't. That's been the problem with the unreliable and easily-hacked machines all along.
I didn't encounter any problems, and the poll workers were very nice. Just like 2004.