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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mid-Term Elections Night

The Seal at the front of the courtroom 

Tuesday night elections were held in many places, including our county. Many offices and positions were to be decided and voted on. I have always treasured my right to vote and last night I had the opportunity to be there as the boxes from each area came in and were tallied. 
I was interested in watching this part of the process and I wanted the man-child to experience it too. It was held in one of the courtrooms at the county courthouse. I don't know what I expected. I tried not to go in with any expectations. I went to watch, to observe the process. 

It was interesting. People began gathering before the 7 o'clock closing time for the polls. The folks that were running for an office milled around working their way around the room greeting people. Their families began to gather, anxiously waiting as each polling place box was brought in and added to the tally.

As more and more people arrived the courtroom was filled with the hum of the multiple conversations and voices.

Each district's boxes were brought in by a sheriff's deputy with the election official that was in charge of that polling place close behind. 

They were taken through blocked off aisles at the back and side of the courtroom, to be unloaded at a table. Computers have changed a lot of the procedures. In addition to the ballots the votes have filled out, information is stored on flash drives and is able to be loaded much quicker and the totals update faster.

There were giant TVs set up so people could see the totals being displayed. As the totals came in, they were able to not only update them to the crowd but they were simultaneously being updated on the website, which the local and state newspapers and news media were following and posting to their social media sites.
After several of the districts had been delivered and the tally's were rising the candidates could be seen watching the numbers quite intently 

At about the midway point the totals, percentages and other information was read out loud. The buzzing in the room instantly ceased as everyone listened and as soon as the speaker was done, the volume of the room returned to maximum. Like a switch had been flipped!

One district was delayed, so we had a little gap of time with no new activity. When they finally arrived and made their way into the courtroom there was a ripple of electricity that seemed to move over the crown. Those were last number that would come in for the night. Even as the man read the finals numbers, backs were being patted, a few faces were grim, hand were being shaken and people began filing out into the hall.
Once those last numbers were added to the tally the final numbers were read aloud. Several offices were under the 50% + 1 vote needed to win and will have to be decided in runoff elections that will take place next month. The boxes marked "PROVISIONALS" held the ballots of those that may or may not have been eligible to vote or election officials questioned. Those are not opened on election night. They will be opened and the ballots checked and votes added to the tally one week after election day. Usually there are not enough provisionals to drastically alter a race.
The ballot boxes at the end of the night

I did find it all interesting to observe. The man-child was mildly bored with it. It didn't help that it was past his bedtime. I was still glad he got to be there though. It was all orderly, no disturbances or altercations. This was the mid-term elections. I hope to be able to watch when we have the next presidential election. I'm sure there will be much more activity during that one. 

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