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Archive of Stump Stories

11/ 7/06

4:46 PM

Stump Stories 

Out of the Brownstone, Into the Booth

There was more action at the bake-sale table than the voting booths at my polling place this afternoon, though this may say more about creeping domesticity in Cobble Hill than the races themselves. When I arrived, a cop was twirling his baton immediately in front of the door of the polling place. In plenty of places, that might look like voter intimidation. In brownstone Brooklyn, it was like the start of a parade.

But the real ground for sociological inquiry is what goes on behind those black curtains. The first guy to vote after I arrived spent what I'd put conservatively at four to five minutes in there. I don't think I could invent enough reasons to spend that much time voting if I tried. I was in and out in maybe 30 seconds, and so was the voter just before me. So what takes some people so much longer? Paralysis in the face of all the tiny levers? Extreme procrastination about deciding which candidates to support? Performance anxiety? Maybe they're just that much more deliberative than the rest of us.

Jeremy McCarter

4:19 PM

Stump Stories 

No Third Parties in Queens

The deceptively undercrowded Astoria Pool.Courtesy of the City of New York/Parks and Recreation

Two and a half blocks before I reached P.S. 85 in Astoria today, I was handed a leaflet imploring me to vote the Democratic ticket. Right outside the polling place, a woman was offering a handout relating to education. I refused. "You'll have children someday," she warned. She may have a point, so I took one on the way out. Turns out it was an advertisement for a tutoring program. I felt somewhat duped, but also very American.

The polling place was, as usual, staffed by foreign-born citizens, a cheerful consequence of living in Queens. Next to my name in the roll book were the letters "BLA." A subcontinental man asked me, "What does 'BLA' mean? Black?"

I am so very white. "It means 'blank,'" I told him. "I'm an independent. Not affiliated with a party."

"Ah, yes," he nodded without conviction and escorted me to a booth.

Aileen Gallagher

2:00 PM

Stump Stories 

Voting: Two Morality Tales

This morning at my polling place on the Lower East Side, there was a kindly, paternal maintenance man chatting with a Yeshiva student in his late teens. The maintenance man was on the sidewalk with a broom, dustpan, and rolling garbage pail — his pulpit — talking to the student about the importance of voting. It was a lovely little moment.

Susan Avery

It was interesting to chat with a few Park Slopers about whether they were voting for Alan Hevesi. I didn't vote for him and instantly regretted it. But everyone I talked to here went ahead and did vote for him. (Of all the sins, using state money to drive an ailing wife around seems relatively benign …)

David Edelstein

12:51 PM

Stump Stories 

Good Turnout in Fort Greene

Urn atop the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Green Park.Courtesy Fort Green Park Conservancy

More voters, less literature than usual: That was my unscientific impression this morning at my polling place, I.S. 113, a junior high in Fort Greene. The latter condition made sense — with only one competitive statewide race, for comptroller, the other candidates didn't bother spending money on handouts. The sole leafletter, though, wasn't even pushing the embattled Alan Hevesi. She was handing out palm cards for the Green Party ticket, and instructions, on pink paper, for how to register a write-in vote for city councilman Charles Barron in the Tenth Congressional District. Barron did surprisingly well in the September primary but couldn't topple incumbent Ed Towns.

The strong-ish turnout, however, was a surprise. At 9 a.m., I was voter No. 60 in my election district, a higher number than I usually draw. There were lines of roughly six to ten voters at all the other booths as well. Was it because angry Brooklyn Democrats saw this as their chance to send a message to Washington? A desire to give Hillary and Eliot whopping wins? A nice, warm November morning? The ample supply of doughnuts for sale at the PTA table outside the school gym?

Chris Smith

12:14 PM

Stump Stories 

Exit Polled? Little Old Me?

This is not the exit poller in question, though he does look like a Patrick.Courtesy

Unlike at the last few elections, there was no one — well, except a lone Working Families Party regular — standing on the street outside my polling place, begging me to vote for his candidates. This speaks, one presumes, to the predictability of today's races in New York State, and probably also to the predictability of West Village voters. The crowds inside were bigger than usual, but, then, I was also voting earlier than usual. I waited, I voted down the Democratic line, and I left to come back home. Boring.

But then came the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me in a polling place: I was exit polled! (Not that I care, but are they really allowed to stand inside the building, right at the doorway to the polling room?) Patrick, according to his name tag, told me he was polling for ABC News. His forms clearly bore the logos of the three broadcast networks, CNN, Fox News, and the AP, which make up the National Election Pool, and also the name of Edison/Mitofsky, the polling concern. I checked that I'm a Democrat, I'm a Jew, I went to college, I voted for Democrats, and I think Hillary Clinton would make a good president, a better one than Rudy Giuliani. And I can't figure out why they selected my voting place for exit polling: Do you think they get different answers from anyone who votes at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center on West 13th Street?

Jesse Oxfeld