Cold rain, loud doors, unfriendly voters and wary lawyers. These were a few of the things I had to deal with when covering the the election at the Grand Avenue polling place for the presidential election. An election that saw the reelection of the first African American president, and the election of the first openly gay senator.

I've always found the American election process amazing. It really is mind boggling that every four years we gather together as a nation and try to pull off or prevent a bloodless coup against the ruling party of our government. And even more amazingly, when its over, most Americans drop their aversion to their political rivals and return to their daily lives. With this viewpoint of the American electoral process in mind I made my way to the polling location to watch it happen live.

When I heard that voter turnout n Milwaukee was around 85% I was stunned. Not because of the fact that National turnout rate was around half that. But because the Grand Ave. polling location was really not busy at all. Sure, there were constantly people moving in and out, but there was never any significant line. There very well may have been as many lawyers there at one time working as election observers as there were voters.

The role of the lawyers is an interesting one. There were lawyers there from both political parties, as well as from numerous independent voter advocacy groups. One independent lawyer, who asked not to be named for fear it would affect his job, explained the role of the different groups. "In a very general sense, republicans will try o restrict the vote in cities because it gives them an advantage. Democrats try to make sure everyone votes for the same reason. All the independent groups have a specific issue regarding voting that they are trying to work with." All the lawyers at the polls must have done some good because every observer I talked to thought things were running very smoothly at the Grand Ave. polling location.

I also talked to voters who were leaving the location. The overwhelming majority of them voted for Obama, but the one I talked to who did vote for Romney presented me with an interesting concept. If you vote red in a state that went blue, then you're vote essentially doesn't count. so wouldn't it make more sense to have a pure popular vote rather than an electoral college?

I'll leave you with that thought until next time.

Leave a Reply.