Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night

I officially became a reporter in October 2004, so this was not my first presidential election. However, it was the first time I was involved in the reporting. (Though I have worked various other school board, school bond and primary elections). Back in 2004, as I recall, a bunch of us from the paper in Yuma got together to watch the results come in. At the time, Benny and Michelle were on their honeymoon - so I'm trying to figure out how it was possible that none of the rest of us were working ... unless we just had our watch party really, really late. Does anyone remember - Kat? Jeffrey? Rich?

Anyway, last night I heard from a couple friends who used to be reporters and they seemed a little down about missing out on the excitement of the newsroom during a presidential election. But even though I was working, I somehow missed the excitement, too. In the afternoon and evening, I did a couple of videos. Once the polls closed, I was sent to the county Registrar of Voters office to observe and file updates for the Web site and be there in case there were any mishaps. I was squished into a small space with photographers and videographers from various news outlets, with the door wide open for when the polling managers arrived. It was freezing cold (it had snowed earlier in the day) and I had to put on a jacket, gloves and scarf to keep warm. There were no TVs, so I found out very anti-climactically online that Barack Obama was the new president-elect. I saw no reaction, no speeches. No one around me was really talking about it. I expected a buzz, but there was nothing. Though I can watch videos online, I felt like I had missed something big.

Meanwhile, polling managers trickled in at first, dropping off cartridges from the electronic voting machines to be counted and then uploaded, and then they arrived in a steady stream. Finally, just three were left. Then one. We waited at least 40 minutes for that last one. (One of the workers suggested the manager at that location must have been really articulate. I think she meant meticulous. Heehee.) Anyway, she finally showed up and everyone thought we were in the homestretch for final results. Of course, it was too good to be true. When uploading the last batch of cartridges, the system said there were too many blank ones and they had to double check them - but first they had to find those 40 blank cartridges out of more than 1,300, boxed in no particular order. This took a long time, and it was nearly 1:30 in the morning before we had those "final unofficial" results in our hot little hands. I spent most of today feeling exhausted, and still feeling like I missed something.

1 comment:

Marina said...

We left our friend's house just after 10, thinking it was going to be a little while for the results to come in. We were on the train coming home when someone got a text message with the announcement and everyone on the train started cheering (DC voted 94% for Obama). We got home to see all the stations covering the spontaneous convergence at the White House and celebrations on U Street (the historic black center of DC). Talk about feeling like you missed out, we were so close from all the excitement, and yet so far away...