Sunday, November 05, 2006

PAPER BALLOTS, FRITO PIES

Though normally I enjoy the Election Day ritual of going to a nearby elementary school, hopefully seeing some neighbors and perhaps some stray sign-holding politicos I know, this year I decided to vote early. I wanted to see how the new paper-ballot system worked, and, with all the dire predictions of long lines Tuesday, I thought I'd just get my personal voting out of the way.

So I went, along with my son (who isn't old enough to vote) to the Santa Fe County Fair Grounds, where voting was taking place in the Small Animal Barn.

At first it looked daunting. There were dozens of people sitting on bleachers waiting to be called to vote. Among them were J.R. Damron, who briefly was the Republican gubernatorial candidate, with his wife Barbara and their children.

I figured it was going to be a long wait. But, to my pleasant surprise, I barely had time to read the literature on the constitutional amendments before my name was called.

I was careful to fill in the bubbles and not color too much outside of the lines. The machine accepted my ballot on first try.

The whole process took about 25 minutes.

In the building right across from the voting barn -- but not within the 100-feet zone where politicing is forbidden -- attorney general candidate Gary King was hosting a rally complete with mariachis, Frito pies and other goodies. I saw a bunch of my Dem friends there. The atmosphere was more of a light-hearted social gathering than a heavy political rally.

So have fun voting Tuesday -- too bad you probably won't get a Frito pie.

My story in the Sunday New Mexican about the new voting system can be found HERE.

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