Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Day In The Life: US Election Day

Voters' Precinct
A Chronology:

November 6th, Monday 11 a.m.

Had a bit of dilemma about the Election Day scheduled tomorrow. Since I had moved to another city in another county and had not transferred my voter’s registration, I will have to drive 70 miles in order to vote.

So decided with the wife to drive to Daly City, San Mateo County, a day earlier so as to have time to vote the following day. And since we had some other businesses to transact, this was the best thing to do.

Drove the truck and got to Daly City at past noon. Got to the old house that we are trying to sell and started to settle in, with the barest of amenities since we have already moved our stuff out of the house that is now at escrow.

However, we weren’t prepared for the phone call of the real estate agent basically telling us that there is a material hitch in the sale – the prospective buyers are not amenable to the monthly amortization quoted them by their bankers. So things are on hold.

Anyway, did not allow this to faze me, so proceeded with the intended chores that I knew awaited me – trim the yards since we had not been to the house for over a month.

With nothing much to do in an empty house except for the basic appliances, focused on getting some sleep early.

November 7th 8 a.m.
Walked to our voting precinct, situated in a nice park and nestled close to a little hill. (Pictured above). Were gaily welcomed by the poll watchers, composed entirely of minorities – an African-American, A FilAm lady, a Sino-American lady, and a couple of Hispanic Americans scattered in what looked like the main meeting room of the park clubhouse. A quite typical setting in this part of California.

While we have voted for countless number of times on the same precinct number, this time the wife’s name was missing. Funny because she is the one who was born and registered a US citizen. And the poll watchers could not explain why. Just remember that these poll watchers are paid volunteers, who come in only during election time and maybe, a little time for training. Anyway, that was easily solved because she was handed a provisional ballot.

For the first time, we were asked whether we wanted to vote electronically or by paper ballot. But there was only one electronic machine and though it was early and voters were just starting to trickle in, we did not want to be delayed. We decided on the usual paper ballot which when completed is fed into an electronic sensing machine.

Since we carried with us our thick 191 page General Election booklet issued by the California Secretary of State and the accompanying Sample Ballot booklet of 20 pages, the ensuing voting was easy and quick, aided by the sample ballot already marked.

This time around the sample ballot looking much like the actual ballot was four pages long, with each the size of two bond papers joined together. This was only a state-wide election, but the many propositions sure added more heft to the ballot.

November 7th, 1 p.m.
Started the drive back to our new place hearing not much radio coverage of the elections, which campaigns have been very hotly debated and contentious over the last several months.

But then remember most precincts nationwide do not close till 8 p.m. Except that while it may be 8 p.m. in the east coast, it would still be 5 p.m. in the west coast.

So got home and attended to usual chores attendant to taking any trip that far and long. Even had time to put on the old sneakers and sweat pants for a quick jog around the park quite visible from the house.

It is now November 7th, 9:21 p.m. and so this would technically be live-blogging.

Voting has now finished in all of continental USA. I still have to hear from TV or radio about far-flung Hawaii.

Anyway, as expected the Republican-dominated Congress is slowly changing composition with Republicans losing seats. But as it stands as of this minute, the Republicans still have to lose 3 seats in the Senate to give away control. However in the House, the Democrats are already enjoying a 6-seat margin.

But there are still many races to be tallied. Remember in the west coast, the election ended only about an hour and ½ ago.

Update:

November 7th 9:45 p.m.

It looks like even this early, barely an hour and 40 minutes after the polls have closed, Arnie the governator of California has clinched his re-election. A strange combination this Arnie, registered a Republican but with a Kennedy-Shriver wife which can't get any more Democratic than that.

But the fight to watch is still that in Virginia were both candidates are literally running neck-to-neck. This is between Republican George Allen, once projected as presidential timber, and Democrat James Webb, one time Navy Secretary.

November 7th, 10:38 p.m.
It looks like a couple of Senate contests are too close to call, eventhough for at least one race initial count has completed. Two issues may come into play. One is that if the margin is very little, the losing side has recourse to an automatic recount of all votes. And the second is that the absentee ballots will have to be manually counted. And in some states, it is reported that absentee ballots are counted a day or two after election day.

But overall, Democrats still have the opening to wrest control of the Senate, too. After all, right now they need only 3 seats to get it and at least two races are leaning either way.

November 8th, 7:57 a.m.
The Republicans continue to hold control of the Senate but their control may end if the two contested races fall toward the Democrats. Even this late, the Missouri race is still up in the air with the Republican candidate (Talent)holding a lead of a couple of thousand votes; while the Virginia race has the Democrat leading but will surely be contested. And the history of recounts has shown that rarely has the count been overturned. Whatever the result of the recount, the presidential aspirations of Virginia's George Allen has been dashed to pieces.

One harangued Democratic timber who surely is sighing in relief is Sen. John F. Kerry, since many had predicted that his most recent "botched joke" gaffe could derail the expected Democratic landslide in Congress.

Last Update:

November 9th 8:25 a.m.
Putting an end to this account, NBC has announced that the Virginia Senate seat goes to Democrat James Webb, giving control of the Senate to the Democrats. But I still have to hear if defeated candidate, George Allen, has given his concession speech.

Earlier yesterday, Pres. Bush punctuated the proceedings by formally announcing the resignation of Defense chief Rumsfield. Noticed that during the almost hour long TV appearance, the Prez appeared quite animated, and surprisingly, very self-confident.

Thus, Election 2006 is now part of history, specifically that history of the 6th year of a sitting president mid-term elections where since post-war, the incumbent's party has always lost considerable seats in Congress. Is this worse than the past? Let the punditry roll.

Ironic that this late, I still do not know the fate of the local officials that I voted for, being many miles away. Specifically the FilAms who I voted for.

Lawyer and former Mayor Mike Guingona, who has now become more publicly visible with his appearances as host on the Filipino Channel, was seeking re-election to his Daly City council seat.

Together with a FilAm lady named Anette Hipona who was seeking a first term. Now, what could be more Filipino than that last name?

And lastly, well-credentialed Anthony Fel Amistad, who was seeking a county seat. I believe his second run for it having failed the last time.