Battleground Blogging

Mike M files his last pre-election report from Ohio.

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Voting starts in less than twelve hours here in Ohio, and I’m getting set for an early bedtime to wake up at 5:00 AM tomorrow to prepare to work the polls. I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous never having done this before, but I’m confident that there will be five other poll workers and the Board of Elections there to back me up.

It will be a long day, as polls are open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM with probably at least another hour of work on top of that, but that doesn’t bother me. It could actually be quite a bit longer, as everyone in line at closing time gets to vote. Judging by the lines on the news today for “live absentee” (absentee voters voting in person at the BOE instead of mailing the ballot in) voting downtown, turnout will be quite heavy. Returns could easily be delayed an hour or more if there’s a big rush right at the end.

I’ll have quite a bit more tomorrow night and Wednesday, but I had some additional thoughts to share:

– The decision to allow challengers at the polls is *still* up in the air. I in fact just got a recorded message from the BOE instructing workers to expect a final decision tomorrow morning before opening the polls!

– Weather in Ohio (and most of the midwest) is expected to be terrible tomorrow. Heavy rain all day. Advantage: Bush? I guess we’ll find out.

– Hostage extraordinaire Terry Anderson is running for a State Senate seat in southeast Ohio. He moved to Ohio a few years ago, got a teaching gig at Ohio University, and is now running for office. I couldn’t find any poll numbers for him, but I have read he’s had serious fundraising problems, and has been ripped mercilessly by his opponent in ads that have been virtually uncontested.

– Ohio Issue 1, a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman, is expected to pass by a wide margin. Opposition has been fairly weak and disorganized, especially after proponents recently began running ads reassuring voters that things like hospital visitation and joint ownership rights for non-married couples would not be effected. More likely to help conservatives at the polls than hurt, in my opinion.

– Here’s what I plan on doing a lot of tonight…relaxing!

That’s it for the pre-election warm up! The next time I post we’ll all be glued to the TV watching the results come in…and yes, I’ll will have a vote count from my precinct on election night. I’m leaving my predictions to other threads, but let me just say that judging from recent history and the type of campaign he’s run, I’ll be very surprised if Kerry pulls off Ohio. If he does, it means his base is energized in a big way and he probably wins the election. If the Bush wins and it turns out that the Dems aren’t as hot for Kerry as it might seem, Bush gets four more years. “So goes Ohio, so goes the election” has been accurate since 1960, and I think it will hold up in 2004.

Remember to vote, and don’t forget the efforts of the thousands of poll workers who will be working to give us all a fair and accurate election.

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Mike, obviously, will be busy all day Tuesday. But if he can give us a report or two after all is said and done, I’ll ship him a very large bottle of his poison of choice.