As is my custom, I voted before coming in to work. There was quite a crowd but the polling place was well organized and efficient. The ballot was long, what with judges and referenda that had to be decided. Our precinct uses optical scanning machines so the ballot has those bubbles that have to be filled in to indicate your vote. Since I am the kind of person who likes to fill in the little ovals very neatly, staying carefully within the lines, that took some time but I was still out in about 20 minutes.
If so many people had not voted early, the lines may have been longer. I enjoy the process of voting in person on election day, though I can see that it is declining in popularity. Ohio, and my community in particular, has that mid-western friendliness and there is something nice about everyone gathering together to vote and you often run into neighbors and friends you haven’t seen for awhile at the polls
There were only three people outside the polling center, and they were handing out the Democratic party recommendations. There were no Republicans. Interestingly there is usually a lot more outside activity when there are purely local elections such as for the school board or for school levies.
During election season, I toss all the election-related literature as they arrive into a pile and last night I went through it all and was surprised by the fact that almost all of it was for Democratic candidates and in favor of Democratic positions on the ballot issues. The only Republican literature was for Josh Mandel, who is challenging Sherrod Brown for the US Senate seat. I also noticed that most of it was addressed to me and relatively few to my wife, though we both vote in every election.
I am not a registered Democrat or Republican and do not vote in the party primaries so should be considered an independent and I was curious as to why there was so few Republican mailings. I have read that the two parties now have sophisticated databases that can identify the political leanings of voters and maybe they have figured out that there was no chance in hell that I would vote the Romney-Ryan ticket. But where would they get the data that makes them so sure? Do they read my blog? I usually do not respond to the phone calls that I get. It is true that I live in Cuyahoga County in the city of Shaker Heights, both of which are strongly Democratic but by no means universally so. In fact, I was surprised by the number of Romney-Ryan lawn signs during this election.
It may be that parties are now foregoing the direct mail approach in favor of TV and internet advertising blitzes.
Another thing that struck me last night is that there were no newspaper ads for candidates during the campaign, except oblique ones like those from Billy Graham that did not specifically tell you to vote Republican but pretty much strongly hinted that you should. Looking back, I do not recall ever seeing a direct political ad by a political party in the newspapers even in past elections, though it is possible that my eyes simply glaze over them. Is there some law that prevents political ads from appearing in newspapers? Surely that would not be constitutional?