Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Foliage, Voting and Chickens

By this time in October our deciduous trees are usually well done with shining golden, orange and red.  The chill autumn wind, brisk and cleansing, would have stripped the brightly colored leaf-confetti from the branches, blowing candy corn-tinted swirls across the yards and down the streets.  But on this day in late October, many leaves are still green and well-attached to their branches.  I'll call it anecdotal confirmation of global warming.

October 28, 2008 in Jefferson County, WV

But back to voting and chickens.  :)

I went to our local courthouse for early voting today — about 10:00 AM on a workday.  There was a steady stream of folks coming in the doors, with at least 30 people in line or voting at any one time.  First stop was at a table where two clerks helped sign us in, comparing our signatures with records they seemed to have on their computer screens. We then moved down the corridor to wait in line to enter a fairly small anteroom with six voting stands where we received a large two-sided ballot.  The process only slowed down when a few people finished voting at the same time and waited to return their completed optical scan ballot to the single clerk whose job it was to slip the paper ballot from its outer jacket into the reader and then pronounce, "Congratulations, you've just voted."

The fellow who was sitting by the entry, separating voters from other courthouse visitors and pointing them to the end of the early voting line, told me the turnout has been much larger than he's ever seen. I hope that is a good sign.

While there, I verified when and where the poll tapes would be posted, and plan to return (on November 5th) to take a photo of the results from the machines.  

But tell me if this isn't at least a little strange — at the top of the ballot we had the option to vote for a straight party ticket.  Here's what those ovals and descriptions looked like:

Image from 56th District, Jefferson Co., WV ballot

The Republican Party has a proud, wings-outstretched eagle, the icon of American patriotism.  The Mountain Party has an emblem depicting, well, mountains, as in 'purple mountain majesties,' and all that.  But the Democratic Party gets ... a chicken?  An indignant chicken even?  There's no pronounced comb or wattle befitting a rooster, so it must be a chicken.  Call me silly, but I have to wonder who is responsible for this imagery.  What's wrong with elephants and donkeys?

I don't understand how West Virginia became a red state.  It never used to be.  We have two Democratic Senators and a Democratic Governor.  Yes, well, my congressional district does have Republican S.M. Capito but I'm hopeful her Democratic opponent can unseat her.  Half the local races for positions like County Clerk, Sheriff, and Judge didn't even have Republican contenders.

On the way home I took comfort in noting that my neighborhood's Obama signs clearly outnumber the McCain ones.  I spotted two new Obama signs today, one at the house right across the street from me.  Now if the leaves would only turn color and drift down, we chickens would be able to rake up some fun piles to scratch in.