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Voting Day Observations

Timothy Kincaid

November 4th, 2008

I’m not exactly liveblogging here… but I want to use this post to give you a few of my observations as the day goes along (All times Pacific):

6:08

OK, I’ve got to log off for a while. My final observations for now are:

With 41% counted, Florida’s Amendment 2 has a yes vote of 61.9% and a no vote of 38.1%. However, Miami-Dade had no precincts reporting and Broward County only had 7%. So this is still far to close to call.

Arizona’s polls just closed. But the exit polling suggests that we will not be celebrating there. They project that the proposition will pass with about 55% of the vote.

California polls will be open for another two hours.

5:32

With 29% counted, Florida is still 60% to 40%

5:13

With 20% of precincts counted, Florida’s Amendment 2 is 59% to 41%.

CNN’s exit poll on Florida’s Amendment 2 is very very close.

Male (46% of voters) 61% yes
Female (54% of voters) 60% yes

To pass, this Amendment needs 60%. Depending on the rounding, the exit polling could be on either side of that number. This is a squeeker and may well go late into the night.

4:44

With 0% of precincts reporting, Florida’s Amendment 2 is ahead 59% to 41%. It needs 60% to pass.

Hmmmm. Now MSNBC is telling me that there are no ballot measures in Florida.

4:03

Polls are now starting to close in some states and news sources have started the process of declaring winners based on pre-election polling, exit polls, and the handfuls of votes that have been counted.

While this provides and exciting and entertaining evening, there is concern that calling the election for one presidential candidate or the other may hurt voter turnout in Arizona and California. And the expectation is that this would be advantageous to both Proposition 8 and Proposition 102.

3:46

Churches have traditionally been viewed as good locations for polling places. As part of their sense of civil duty, and because they placed emphasis on godly rather than worldly goals, they were ideal. However, with increasing partisanship and political activism being part of the message of some churches, they may soon find that election boards view them more as a liability than ideal polling source.

Take, for example, this story of a church marquee in Florida.

Cape Coral resident Matthew Neff was excited about casting his vote Tuesday until he reached his polling location.

As he entered Diplomat Wesleyan Church, where his precinct was, he read the church’s marquee: “Yes on 2.”

After a complaint, the message was changed to “Marriage Yes!”

According to the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office, as long as the sign is outside 100 feet of the door it is not a violation.

That may well be the case, but election officials may soon tire of hearing from citizens that their official polling place is trying to influence votes. And non-Christians lose respect for the faith when churches behave in such an arrogant and offensive manner.

2.49

Because nothing says “sanctity” like a mass marriage arranged with a stranger.

The Unification Church (better known as the Moonies) perform mass marriages, often arranged between total strangers. But, of course, they support Proposition 8:

Rev. Michael Jenkins, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (USA) announced his support today for California’s Protect Marriage Act, Proposition 8.

Why is it that those who have marriage rituals or beliefs that most folks view as peculiar and out of the mainstream seem so eager to try and dictate mine?

2:05

No on Prop 8 responds to “outrage” over Mormon missionaries ad:

The ad has been produced by an organization not affiliated with our campaign. Mr. Schubert should direct his questions to the organization behind the ad.

As we have stated previously, the Mormon Church deserves the same respect as any other religion. But it is wrong for the Mormons to push their views about marriage on the rest of California through the ballot box

We note Mr. Schubert has failed to denounce despicable statements by individuals affiliated with the Prop. 8 campaign.

At an official Prop. 8 rally at the State Capitol in Sacramento last week, a Prop. 8 lawyer compared the fight against gay marriage to the fight against Hitler. That outrageous statement was denounced by the Anti-Defamation League but not by the Prop. 8 campaign. Instead, the campaign Web site described the event as successful and thanked attendees.

At the same Prop 8 rally, another speaker said homosexuals “can’t reproduce, so they must recruit our children.”

Both videos are posted to our YouTube channel.

1:54

Jennifer Roback Morse, a self-promoting anti-gay activist, has started the Ruth Institute to push her idea that it’s just downright Cool to support one-man, one-woman marriage. She’s managed to get a whopping 245 members to sign up on her Facebook. Morse has decided to declare tomorrow to be International Mormon Appreciation Day:

We, the members of the Ruth Youth, hereby declare and proclaim November 5, 2008, to be International Mormon Appreciation Day. We hereby express our gratitude toward and solidarity with our LDS brothers and sisters.

No matter how the election for Proposition 8 turns out, we are grateful to the courageous, dedicated, and always cheerful members of the LDS Church.

1:00

The Yes on 8 voter:

In Sacramento. Richard Jackson, 56, an in-home caretaker, voted for Proposition 8 because he didn’t want same-sex marriage to be taught in schools.

“In the Bible, it wasn’t Steve and Steve, it was Adam and Eve,” he said. “They don’t need to put that in schools. It ain’t right. I’ve got 24 grandkids and a little girl who’s seven, and I don’t want them around that.”

12:51

Yes on 8 seems to be trying to cheat in San Diego County:

Stephanie Colter, a teacher from Bay Park, said someone had placed Yes on 8 signs outside her polling place at the First Baptist Church in Bay Park, right next to the signs directing voters inside.

“They’re all over the parking lot,” Colter said. “I’m really upset. They shouldn’t be a polling place if they want to do that.”

Signs in support of Proposition 8 were reportedly placed at precincts in Rancho Bernardo and in Bonita. Officials at the Registrar of Voters Office said they had also received complaints about Yes on 8 signs being placed too close to polling places.

In Ventura County advocates opposing Proposition 8 obeyed the law:

In Camarillo, Sheriff’s Deputies had to be called out to settle an angry dispute over whether a group of No on Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage, protesters were too close to a polling station at the county Board of Education office. The argument was settled after poll workers and protesters used a tape measure to mark off the 100 feet distance that campaigners are supposed to maintain from polling stations.

12:35

LA Times’ Karen Kline thinks the Mormon Missionary ad is fair game:

Having viewed the ad, I can’t see what the big deal is. Skits like this are common fodder for campaign ads. Were opponents of Prop. 8 supposed to never touch the religious aspect of this? Is it supposed to be unfair to play the Mormon card, considering the role Mormonism has played on the Yes side (e.g., pressing its members to donate and work for the campaign)? Surely the Mormon church and its members never expected to leap into a campaign with this much vocal and financial might, funding it in large part and pushing for it relentlessly, without expecting that they would be viewed as a force that is trying to roll back the clock on gay rights in California. And considering that the Yes on 8 campaign has tried to depict gays and lesbians as attempting to take over elementary schools and force themselves on religious weddings, it’s not in a great position to claim bigotry and intolerance, let alone misleading advertising, coming from the other side.

12:23

File this under “info provided more than a little too late”:

Are you sick of reading a well written editorial about how the supporters of Prop 8 are telling lies, and then see right next to it an ad with happy heteros telling you “think Prop 8 isn’t about marriage? Click here to see how the perverts will seduce your children and kick your dog” (OK, slight exageration)?

Well it seems that users of Google’s AdSense aren’t too happy either. So today Google is releasing info on how to block such ads.

12:06

Yes, Proposition 8 is a California effort, Amendment 2 is in Florida, and Proposition 102 is in Arizona. But the recognition that the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the funding and volunteer force behind the anti-gay efforts is driving the observations in this report from Salt Lake City:

Most interesting is the high turnout of male and female couples wearing “Vote No on Proposition 8″ shirts, and the amount of signs up and around the area at various homes, business and proximities to voting centers. 800 miles away from Utah, Proposition 8 stands as a hot-button issue for voters who are turning out to the polls this morning there. But you would think that in Utah, the issue is our own to vote on. Proposition 8 is one of the most heavily covered issues here in Utah on radio, TV, and newspapers.

It appears that those who feel the powerful hand of the Mormon Church on their back most closely may have adopted this issue as a way to state their defiance.

(There’s no need to read the rest of the report. It’s mostly defensive of the church’s position.)

11:10

Supporters of marriage bans certainly seem to have their undies in a bunch about an internet ad that something called “Courage Campaign Issues Committee” created and placed on YouTube. It shows two Mormon missionaries invading the home of two lesbians, searching for their marriage license, and ripping it in two. It ends with one saying to the other, “That was too easy” and the other replying “Yeah, what can we ban next”.

According to Jacobs the 1:00 commercial will air tomorrow morning – Election Day – in various parts of California. It’s expected to be on MSNBC and CNN.

The Mormon Church, the California Catholic Conference, and the pastor of an evangelical church in Thousand Oaks have each issued their own press releases full of words like “blatant discrimination” and “hate and intolerance”.

I agree that it’s a tacky ad. But there are certainly a lot of tacky YouTube ads supporting Proposition 8 that are more blatant in their unmasked hatred. And none of these good religious leaders felt the need to object. Nor did they object to outright lies that were produced, funded, and televised by the official Yes on 8 Campaign.

All of which suggests to me that these groups are far less principled and far more driven by a desire for worldly power than they would like to believe.

10:41 (LA, CA time)

I didn’t get to the polling place until after 8:30 am and so there wasn’t much of a line – about five folks in front of me. The poll workers were trying hard to be helpful but were pretty much confusing themselves and everyone around them on how to work the mechanics of the vote. My neighborhood is mostly asian and hispanic but for some reason the few white folks I see when voting set off by gaydar.

The LA Times ran a little blurb about some random person they interviewed while voting. It’s someone I know; we both work in the same field.

Proposition 8 also resonated with Pena. Even though he and his girlfriend haven’t gotten married, Pena said he believes that people should be able to marry whomever they want. “I really think it’s more about love than marriage,” he said. “Marriage isn’t that important to me, but it may be to some people.”

Comments

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kevin
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

Voting observation from San Francisco: I got to my polling place at 7:30AM and was shocked to see the line go down the block and around the corner. I’m not sure if these are new people to the neighborhood or people who are excited about voting since, after living in the same neighborhood for 10 years, I’ve never had to wait in line to vote before. Most of those voting were educated, middle-class, young professionals of various ethnicities, including a few interracial and same-sex couples. There were no voting irregularities I could see and the poll workers were doing their job very well. I’m hoping this turnout is good news both for Obama and opponents of Prop 8.

Josh
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

Lines in Wichita, KS, were pretty long and packed, at 5:15 am, but trickled down during the working day, but are picking up again according to my friends in the election office. I voted like two weeks ago. Early voting is the way to go (and even that was crowded!)

And I have never, ever understood why churches are allowed to be used as polling places. Separation of church and state much? Anybody got any answers to that?

Todd
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

I was lucky, I went to vote at my polling place in Orange County, CA and was immediatley taken by the lady at the doort to a worker who quickly found my name and within two minutes I was voting at a machine. I like the machines we use here because it asked yout two verify your votes once on a screen, then prints out a copy for you to review as well. I always feel pretty confident that my vote was accurate.

I did complain as there was a lady about 20 feet outside the door with a Yes on 8 sign scrawled on a cardboard sheet and pasted to a Boogie Board. As I was leaving, the same lady who helped me asked the lady to move farther away from the polling location.

Louie
November 4th, 2008 | LINK

In our neighborhood, we saw SEVERAL churches with “Yes on 102″ signs at the entrance to their property! I believe that it was 100 feet away from the actual polling stations, but still. Every single person going to vote there HAS to drive by that sign.

Separation of church and State is reapidly deteriorating. No thanks to the “new” Republicans getting into bed with the evangelicals. All for the promise of getting out the vote in their favor.

Very troubling indeed.

Norris Hall
November 5th, 2008 | LINK

Rather than waste 20 million dollars to support a ban on Gay marriage why doesn’t the Mormon church do something useful like spend it to feed the poor or provide shelter for the homeless. There are so many good uses for that money.

What kind of Christian message does it send when you spend that kind of money on political campaigns while the poor go hungry and the sick can’t afford to see a doctor.

Handing 20 million dollars over to television stations for anti gay ads is a big waste of money in a world of suffering.

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