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Advertise on the Tentacle

October 30, 2014

Advantages of Early Voting

Harry M. Covert

Amid the brilliant fall colors Taney Avenue was a busy place, campaign faithful were waving flags, the Senior Center parking lot overflowed and election judges were busy certifying voters.


Lots of people were taking advantage of casting ballots early and avoiding heavy crowds next week throughout the county.


Actually, there was no unpleasantness going on even though every inch of space seemed to be littered with political signs. There was one lone figure waving a poster with a big apple. I figured maybe there was going to be a pre-Halloween bobbing contest. I was wrong.


It’s a good idea to have pre-election day voting. This is better than an absentee ballot. Those who took advantage of this courtesy can just back and watch the final proceedings of Tuesday’s gambit to see how the new charter government gets formed.


The next few days are going to be filled with down-to-the-wire campaigning. Not all of it will be calm and kindly in all probability. Standing in the line the judge didn’t ask for any identification. He knew lots of the people there, including me. I had my driver’s license at the ready, but it wasn’t necessary. It’s fun showing off ID’s. I don’t think much of those who object. As a “seasoned” resident, notice I didn’t say senior citizen, it was fun watching all of the activity.


Some humorous grumbling was going on, but everybody seemed in rather good spirits. No one tried to take advantage of the time period and campaign for favorites. One veteran voter got a real laugh telling us: “in politics a man or woman must learn to rise above principles.” That sounded a bit familiar to me.


Our queue grinned and laughed.


I couldn’t resist. “Do you have any local candidates who fit into this category?”


“Can’t talk specific candidates here in this hallowed place. I will if you want to go outside.”


“No, I’m in a hurry for lunch. Another time perhaps.”


I figured there are some smart people still interested in the local lifestyle. A dear lady chimed in as I completed my civic responsibilities.


“Just remember when the water reaches the upper deck just follow the rats.”


Now wait a minute. Seemed like a conspiracy to me.”I know those quotes, you can’t fool me.”


I did, too. They were good readers, too, I discovered. They lifted them from author Marion Elizabeth Rodgers latest book, “The Days Trilogy,” the expanded edition of H.L. Mencken’s works, Happy Days, Newspaper Days and Heathen Days.


I have a lot to say about newspapers. The assault these days on printed pages is almost overwhelming. I miss afternoon papers and special editions from the days when a “news bulletin” was the real thing. Certainly it’s difficult to compete with broadcasters and instantaneous Internet “breaking.”


Back in the glory days of newspapers, there were good anecdotes about reporters young and old. A young fellow loved the sports pages. On his application when asked what position he wanted, he wrote, “sportswriter or truck driver.” He got the latter and made more money.


Another youngster filed a story about a prominent wedding. Excitement over his first story came in the last paragraph, “And the band played music.” When a high-ranking army officer was being featured in a weekend edition a veteran woman reporter asked his favorite sport besides football. The colonel grinned, “pocket pool.” The gullible writer included it and readers of the first 10,000 copies saw the gaff before it was scrapped.


Voters can learn a lot standing in the lines of voting stations. While other civic minded people may just try to avoid the rules and regulations, it is fun to get acquainted with neighbors. This is particularly true when the queues are stagnant and you know perfectly well who’s voting for whom.


One thing is for sure after the ballots are counted Tuesday, all’s not going to be quiet. Jockeying begins again and, if the good people can stand it, the national battleground takes center stage. And, this will be a free-for-all not seen since the Roosevelt’s, the Kennedys and the Clintons figured they should be royals.


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