Friday, November 7, 2008

MSMIB commentary. Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

This commentary is by the most sensitive man in Bexley, Simon Doer. The actual identity of the commentator is not disclosed.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs.

Yes signs. Neither crop circles nor close encounters of the third kind. But political yard signs as well as many telephone calls, television, newspaper and internet ads, and ongoing political conversations. Rather political conversations going on and on.

It has been the political campaign season once again; this time the quadrennial Presidential election contributing its own set of audible and visual voter consequences.

Bexley, the city of trees, is awash in color, not only in the changing leaves of the fall season, but with the vast (or half vast) variety of national and local political yard signs, brown for Brown, for example, and patriotic red, white and blue for McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden.

This sensitive man ponders whether presidential yard signs really have the same impact that signs promoting local candidates have in helping voters to make their decision at the polls.

Well do they?? Are presidential yard signs really going to influence the vote? Do voters look at the neighbors and the volume of presidential yard signs as a criterion to make their presidential decision as opposed to decisions in judicial or other local races?

Presidential signs may simply be a "Statement!" The yard signs may also be an informal support group.

As we all likely noticed, yard signs and vehicle stickers (both bumper and window cling) have become the dramatic statement that political campaign buttons previously were to the wearer. While some of us collect the buttons few appear to wear them in the same constant display that yard signs and posted vehicle stickers enjoy. The signs and stickers have become a statement in what has increasingly become an anonymous world. We still see George W and Kerry (and even Gore and Edwards) vehicle stickers on prominent display. Neighbors who have no other contact with each other connect or disagree politically through their yard signs.

Interestingly as I travel the streets of Bexley it is surprising how many times neighbors tout the same candidate for president and how often whole blocks appear to agree or disagree on a presidential choice with a lone holdout occasionally in evidence. All without apparent violence (well perhaps a few stolen yard signs on politically hardened streets such as Parkview, but still rather tame).

This voting exercise in democracy inspired this sensitive man to vote early (but not often, which would be wrong) and he or she (gender being truly sensitive) was impressed with the diverse sea of voters, each with their individual commitment to vote, at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial as they stood in line for over an hour and a half (many more voters exercising their democratic right stood in line for four hours h or more) to cast their hand completed ballots for the 2000 election.

We often see voters in other lands (those with skies as blue or red as ours) standing in long lines and may marvel at their commitment, while we take our own for granted. We should rejoice that our field of candidates for 2008 has engendered citizens to respond by going to the polls.

It may well be an historic voter turnout as forecast by some or as an historic election as promoted by others.

On election day the atmosphere at voting precincts appears to vary by the personalities of the voting officials. While some are jovial and permissive in enforcing election rules such as electioneering voting distance from the polling place, others more strictly interpret the distance, insisting that electioneering be held on the other side of the street when the sidewalk on the polling place side of the street is a foot or two within the 100 feet rule.

This is a closely watched election and observers are out in full force. This sensitive man enlisted the observations of other voters on election day and they filed the following reports suggesting that these voters experienced an easy and efficient voting process with small lines and courteous and younger than usual poll workers.

Here are the observations of the first voter reporting to the MSMIB.

“Report on voting experience at Precinct 4A and 4E polling place at the Capital University student union.

Tuesday November 4, parking is abundantly available. There are Obama campaign workers at one parking lot entrance. No McCain workers.

My first impression based on the parking availability is that turnout is light.

I arrive at the student union at 9:10. A nice feature is that near the entrance to the student union, there is a cart selling coffee and juices to voters.

Quick count of eighteen voters and ten to fourteen poll workers. A few poll workers are mobile, going in and out of the room where the voting machines are.

Ten electronic voting machines. All are being used.

There are four lines where you identify yourself and get the little ticket for authority to vote. The longest line had five voters.

Three minutes in line, one minute to identify myself with a driver license and sign the register. I even develop a connection with a poll worker.

The poll workers are younger than usual. One third, about four, maybe five are less than twenty-five years old. One appears to be about eighteen. Poll workers, some seniors from prior years, are not present.

After receiving my authority to vote ticket and standing in two lines, my wait is still only four minutes.

The voting machines are the electronic machines from the primary. The ballot is long but I’m still behind the machine for only three minutes.

The machine is easy to use.

Easy to review your votes.

Easy to correct a mistake.

I confirm my votes on the ballot and then hit the vote button.

I leave with only eleven minutes elapsed time.

A poll worker gives me a “I voted today” sticker.

At the edge of campus near where I parked, there are two Issue 5 (payday lending) opponents encouraging people to vote.”

One voter sought a sticker explaining she teaches “new citizens” and it is important to show them that she had voted.

MSMIB comment:The “I Voted Today” stickers appear to be popular bling rewards for voting. Some have suggested they are like receiving a Cracker Jack prize. Do some citizens vote to receive the stickers?

In another report filed by a second voter for this commnetary, the voter made the effort to travel by bus from college, indicating that:

“There were only two other people voting at the time with half a dozen poll works and that the precinct was not busy at all.

The voter observed that the height and angle of voting machines were not comfortable for voters over six feet in height.

Identification process easy. Driver license.

Outside, no campaign workers in evidence. No one approached the voter.”

So, another election year shall pass and we will return to some balance of political order no matter the outcome. Yet although the yard signs and ads will quickly disappear the political conversations will surely continue the day after, with congratulations or complaints. Can you participate in those conversations.. …..Can’t you read the signs? Did you vote?

This is one sensitive man’s opinion. What’s yours?

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Design is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. The styles "The Most Sensitive Man in Bexley" and "MSMIB" are the property of Bexley Public Radio Foundation.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

MSMIB is long, boring and poorly written. Maybe a writer wannabe? Can you find better use of blog space? Truth hurts! Yawwwwn.

WCRX-LP Editorial collective said...

Gee--

I kinda liked the MSMIB commentary.

It pretty much described the campaign experience in Bexley and also the election day experience in Bexley.

I'd fault MSMIB for not mentioning John McCain, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama's visits to Bexley.
These were memorable events that were part of experiencing the campaign in Bexley this year.

Truth hurts. Falsity hurts too. Your point?

Maybe its time to take a nap.

Ed Collective