Sarah and I voted this morning. Who wants to guess how Alabama will turn out? (my guess is Santorum...)

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Summary: Sarah and I trudged out to the polls right about the time they opened this morning. Good times. Our new polling place. My guess for the state's elections (Republican ticket, anyhow), and so forth...

BLOT: (13 Mar 2012 - 03:33:44 PM)

Sarah and I voted this morning. Who wants to guess how Alabama will turn out? (my guess is Santorum...)

Left the apartment early to go vote this morning. I thought it would be good to get there as close to 7am as possible to avoid any backed-up lines that might make Sarah, more so than myself, late for work. I forgot that this is a largely Republican themed primary being held in a community that is not known for its "traditional voters". Minorities, college students, and internationals are pretty rampant in these parts and so now that there seems to be more voting precincts than ever and we have even fewer people from neighboring communities coming in that meant that at about 7:20am we were not only there before other voters but were really early in the day for the poll workers. They had to essentially find out where to set stuff up, get the pens out, get the papers out, and so forth, as we got there. I was the first ballot of the day, Sarah was the second. There was one other voter in at the time.

It felt a little odd as interactions go, but then I was half asleep and so probably was acting odd myself. "Probably" nothing. When the woman brightly chirped a welcome to us, I responded by welcoming her back, except I caught myself half way through so it came out: "Hey, welco... o... o." Then we stumbled through the sign in process and got my paper and proceeded to slide my pen right across the front leaving a weird mark. Who knows, maybe I just voted for a ton of people at once, or maybe the first ballot of the 39th precinct got immediately discarded? Either way it's a party. If you start hearing about the mad man at the polling station, it wasn't me.

Our polling place was different than what we have had before. When I first started voting up in Huntsville around 1998, I was sent to University Place School. I was on campus, so this made sense (the school is right on the edge of UAH campus). Then I moved off campus, to Quail Pointe, and was close enough that I was still at University Place. Then moved from there to Saundralane, and was still at Univerity Place. And from there to Fontainbleu Terrace, which was still attached to University Place. Sure most of the zip codes were 35816 but I got used to it. Then, last time around (the governor race ), there was the slight hoo-ha over people voting at schools so things got changed and we got sent to Spragin's Hall at UAH. Spragin's is the place where phys-ed classes were once taught at UAH and some still are, though the University Fitness Center eats up a bit of that, now. Rather than stick us in a largish gym, which would have made sense as a place of use, they stuck the voting apparatus in a little side hall that meant there was no room and you had to sort of use the walls as makeshift polling booths if more than a couple of people were in at once.

Spragins Hall is still the voting place for people on campus and near campus, though apparently Fontainbleu is too far, now. We got moved to the Calvary Hill Neighborhood Center. Of which I had never heard until I got my new voter registration card a few weeks ago. Looked it up. For Huntsville folks, the best way to get you to the right place is this: go down University between Jordan and the Parkway. On the left hand side, across from Jet Pep and a burned out old warehouse and the Neighborhood Thrift Store and "Tobacco Depot+" (the plus is in the back?) and what used to be the Unfinished Furniture Store (I loved their bookcases), is a series of red brick houses. It is one of the Huntsville Housing Authority Communities (at time of linking, scroll down to bottom, the Northwoods one). Single family style units spread out and down in that area and the whole place tends to look a little unkempt but not really dangerous. If you drive up and down University, you should know exactly what I mean.

If you turn down one of those roads, and then wiggle back and forth for a bit around streets that look pretty much identical—and have names strangely terse names like "Yukon"1, "Poplar", and "Turf"—in about the exact middle of that complex is the Center (see what the planning committee did there?). From the outside, looks a little dinky but once you go inside it has a bit of space. I dig the concept of a place where kids can hang out being right in the midst of the place where kids live. I'm not really used to that. Lower Alabama, from whence I am from, loves to put youth-themed hangouts, usually just parks or clearings out in the woods that kids can burn tires, well away from any civic center lest some sort of adolescent lust spread to the community at large, I imagine.

Right next to it is a magnet school: The Academy for Academics and Arts. Google Maps also has something cryptically called "The Huntsville Board of Education" which doesn't seem to be right since (a) the spot marked on Google Maps as such appears to be just another house out of many and (b) that's not where any other site posits the BoE as being.2 There are at least two or three churches in that relatively small area.

Huntsville quantum folds space around the curves of apparently straight roads, so just about any time you have see a handful of houses with a small road beside them jutting off into the distance, and there does not seem to be room for more than one or two other streets back there, I guarantee there will be blocks and blocks of housing and even stuff like stores and office buildings. We rarely believe in building things vertical here, but horizontal we have strange ways for handling.

I'm not sure why they picked it as a voting place, though, because it had even less room donated to the cause that Spragins did. We were in a little back room with four or five real tiny voting booths. For the primaries that seems fine but with the kind of long lines you get around a presidential election, it will take forever if we have to go back to that small room again. It does have some larger rooms, and they may open those up for voting next time around.

We cast our votes in under five minutes and were on our way. Neither Sarah nor I, who voted for different people, voted for Santorum, but I'm willing to half wager he will take the state. Gingrich has the Southern thing going, but we voted a governor largely based on his claim that he would be the ethical one and if any of the candidates are like our governor, it is Santorum. I would prefer either Gingrich or Romney to win the state, since I think Gingrich probably reflects the state the best and I'm still thinking that of the Four Horsemen, that Romney (on a black horse, for sure3) would be the least likely to lead the country down an even darker path, but what do I know? I can't see the future. I can just mock the present. Speaking of having to choose which flavor of genital warts you prefer, there was also the Parker Griffith versus Mo Brooks primary. Good sweet baby Jesus. Few things were more soul crushing than having to check one of those boxes. OH, and apparently Roy Moore was up for something? Totally missed that. Damn!

1: Being the "Northwoods" community, seems appropriate to have street names like Klondike, Alaska, Timberlane, and Anchorage.

2: While looking up the H'ville BoE, I found a website with a mad complaint about said BoE, and that webite claimed trademark on the phrase, "Let the truth be known!". This might be a parody of rampant trademarking of everyday things like "Windows" and "Apps", but I'm willing to be the answer is no, not really.

3: White Horse - Paul. Red Horse - Gingrich. Black Horse - Romney. Pale Horse - Santorum. That's all the explanation I'm giving. Exegesis, friends, exegesis.

Me in 2012, Huntsville


Written by Doug Bolden

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