An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

November 4, 2008

Bloom Day Democracy

This morning at 6:09 a.m. I arrived at my neighborhood polling place. I could find no place to park and drove home to walk back. There was an orderly line of close to 600-800 people who endured pouring rain while waiting to get in. The line stretched around the block of the elementary school, and it took me two hours to finally cast my vote. I have been voting for 30 years and have NEVER seen lines or a turnout like this. I got the distinct impression that a good number of people in line with me had never voted before, and not all of them were recently 18. Many older people seemed new to the process as well. The people in my district come from widely varied backgrounds, ages and come in all skin tones. I found it ironic that I was voting in such a mixed crowd, for the first serious black presidential candidate - in a school named after the Confederate cavalier J.E.B. Stuart. It was as beautiful as any bloom.

I was glad to suffer the inconvenience of the wait and the weather, and just kept reminding myself that this 8 year nightmare would soon be over.


  1. That is dedication! We voted early here and waited 45 minutes, in the sunshine on a nice day. Not too bad, all things considered:)

    It has been SUCH a monumental election.

  2. Congratiolation US, we are so happy for you here in Europe. Bye bye to Bush !

  3. LOL, I can only agree with Tyra. Hopefully the thorny ''bush'' days are history now, both for US and the rest of the world.

  4. Hi, Les--Voting wasn't so hard for us--we had about a 40 minute wait indoors (one of the advantages of small town life). But I stayed up until 1 last night and I'm having trouble getting going this morning--who thought Obama would ever carry Virginia! Here's to the future.

  5. Hey, I was happy to see that Virginia went for Obama! North Carolina too. South Carolina is still a holdout - but at least my county went firmly for him.

    I waited an hour and fifty minutes. Didn't mind it a bit! Today I felt proud of my country - hadn't had that feeling in awhile.

  6. Tina,
    Considering the outcome, the weather was fine here.

    Thanks for greetings from Sweden.

    Thank you also for Croat greetings.

    Who'd a thunk it!

    I too was proud of the country, but I am often that way. This time I did not have to work so hard to feel that way.


  7. That's the face of America you saw in that line. Thanks for hanging in and voting.

    Here in rural New York, we vote on those old mechanical machines that I remember from when I was a little tyke and my parents first took me into the voting booth. Those machines provide a confidence-inspiring clank of pins and gears when you pull the lever that opens the curtain and registers your vote. Very reliable.

    I arrived half an hour after the polls opened and there were 40 people in line ahead of me and the line was just starting to move because the machine was broken. Ended up voting on paper ballot.

  8. Craig, That is so interesting you vote on the old fashioned machines and you describe the reassuring clinking sound. The new ones we use make no noise and you kind of have to struggle just to see the screen. Sometimes you wonder if you voted right. I had to go back and double check twice just to be sure.

  9. Wow! We had record turn outs in Maine too, but luckily I chose a quiet time to vote at midday. No wait at all! It’s great to see our country truly being a democracy. I’ve been walking around with a big grin.

  10. Felt like we've overthrown a dictator...Yes We Did!

  11. Craig,
    Yes I did see the face of America and it is changing. The changes are happening even down here in formally red states, but I hate that whole red/blue state mentality, as if Americans can either be one or the other. I do think a lot of people in areas where things were once more homogenous are having a hard time dealing with changes in demographics and attitudes.

    Tina and Craig,
    We use a touch screen system that is activated by a card with a magnetic strip, like a credit card. This is given to you after the poll workers verify your registation. It is all very easy and when you are done making your choice, you give the card back to a poll worker. These cards are then "downloaded" and re-used. It is all very simple, but requires a GREAT DEAL of trust in the system.

    Besides high turnout, one of the reasons we had to wait so long was the number of new voters and the bottleneck where the poll workers checked registrations. I never saw the voting machines full. Like I have said, it was worth the wait.

    I have been restrained in my celebrating unable to believe it has actually happened.


  12. Amen Les! I have such hope for change but am being realistic that it will take time!


  13. I have great hope for the future with this new change of office. We stood in line for an hour to vote, but it was worth it. This was the first year that my eldest son was eligible to vote too and he was proud!

  14. I vote by mail. It's so much easier. Although you do have to trust your ballot gets to its destination...a little bit of a stretch every time.

    I worked at a polling place during the 2000 election. The whole time I was sitting there thinking, "why not vote by mail?"