Looking at the mid-term election

I should have written this yesterday, but I was beat. A 16-hour day and several short nights’ sleep plus a looming tropical storm/hurricane combined to do me in migraine-wise. Not doing that much better today, but at least I’m rested.

Election Day at our precinct was busy. We voted over 1000 people during the 13 1/2 hours the polls were open. There was a line at the 6:30 AM opening and it was steady-to-busy all day, but by the time we hit 7 PM it had died off to less than a trickle, although we did vote our last people at 7:28, 2 minutes before the polls closed. Then it was two hours of shutdown procedures and cleanup. We had no machine malfunctions, but we did have one gig on our paperwork trail. As best we can determine a voter left with a piece of paper that should have been left with us.

In our county, we use voting machines from ESS. I don’t care for machines in my elections because any machine can be gimmicked. Then again, so can paper ballots. Anyway, one of the checks built into our system is a printed page that is given to the voter along with their ballot. That printed page is supposed to be handed off to a staffer (me, in this case) after the voter is put in front of their machine and voting. The voter used a machine to mark their ballot and then takes it to another machine (too damn many machines here) which “tabulates” it. We count the number of pages and the number of votes tabulated, which is available at any point in time. The two should match.

Somewhere early on, while everyone was finding their groove, we had one of those printed pages fail to make it to me. I caught the difference quickly enough, but the damage was done. We went through the entire place including trashcans and the parking lot, but no printed page was found. At this point, we call the mothership who tells us we’re bad people but not to over-sweat it because it happens. Honestly, that doesn’t make me feel better.

I was able to figure out a change in procedure (it’s more like having an actual procedure) that should dramatically reduce the possibility of this happening again. Of course, I didn’t finally see it until almost closing, but we’ll have it for the next election. This same group works the same precinct every election, so I doubt it gets forgotten. I sure won’t.

As far as I can see, the vote in our precinct and county went pretty much as expected, both in the mechanism and in the numbers. Very Red county voted very Red. The overall North Carolina election also went the same-Blue areas voted mostly Blue, Red areas voted mostly Red. Want to know where the battle lines will be drawn? Look at a national precinct voting map. You’ll be able to make some very accurate estimates.

Nationally, after almost two days, I see a similar situation–places where I expected shenanigans appear to have had shenanigans. Places I expected to see vote Blue voted Blue, ditto Red. Places that were expected to flip Blue-to-Red didn’t. Those votes don’t look obviously gimmicked. Is that because they weren’t, or because the Democrats have improved their cheating process? We’ll never know, I expect.

Some are blaming Trump for the Republican “underperformance”. Others validly point out that the vast majority of Trump-approved candidates won their races. Major gains have been made down-ballot, especially in school board races nationwide. Trump is saying some nasty things about DeSantis. Close races where the counting isn’t complete are starting to break more (R) than (D). Some are laughing that the “red wave” failed to appear while others reference a “crimson hellscape” before editing that away on the fly.

What I see is Red areas getting redder and blue areas bluer. The National Divorce continues. I don’t find this comforting. I simply see it as another step toward something that will be decidedly unpleasant.

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