Archive for October 29th, 2014

A few more words about voting (plus a helpful tool!)

October 29, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Oct. 29, 2014

Election day is coming. If you’re registered to vote — and if you’re an eligible American, then you should be — then this is one of the most important times of the year.

In fact, the midterm election is one of the most important days of the four-year period bridging presidential elections. Control of the United States Senate, and therefore the legislative branch of our government, may pass from Democratic to Republican hands in this election. If that happens, Republicans’ ability to prevent President Barack Hussein Obama from enacting policy and appointing officials will be enhanced.

I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide for yourself whether or not it’s advantageous to America for Republican officials to gain more leverage in their dealings with the president.

I wrote earlier today about my experience participating in early voting at the Durham County elections office in North Carolina. I was prompted to do so when I saw that WordPress (which hosts this and countless other blogs) is participating in an initiative called the Voting Information Project.

To that end, you can use the VIP voter information tool that I’ve embedded above to learn about where you can vote, what races are on your ballot and other useful facts.

Have a happy and informed 2014 midterm election, America!

Noontime at the Saturday polls: Notes and impressions from my early-voting excursion

October 29, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Oct. 29, 2014

Voting turned out to be a strangely festive experience this year.

I went to the Durham County Board of Elections around noon on Saturday, Oct. 25. Sometime this year, the board relocated from a single-story commercial office complex off of West Corporation Street to a building known as the Judicial Annex, which is downtown on Roxboro Street just north of Main.

(I think that happened this year. I remember stopping at the old offices to cast a ballot during early voting for the May primary immediately before departing on a trip to New York. Anyway…)

I’d never been in the Judicial Annex before, so the whole scene was a bit of a surprise. I parked in what had been (and may again become?) a pay lot located west of the annex and north of a building that locals used to call the new courthouse.

I don’t know how people refer to the so-called new courthouse now; sometime last year (again, I think), the new courthouse was replaced by an even newer, much larger and much more modern courthouse. In fact, I don’t even know what is currently being done with the building that I used to refer to as, simply, the county courthouse. (According my ever-so-correct parlance, the structure that many locals called the old courthouse was simply the “county administration building,” because it now houses the county manager’s office and several other Durham County employees.)

At any rate, I parked my car in the nearly full lot and walked east, stepping across the curb that delineates the parking lot from the pavement that surrounds the annex. This latter space was well populated with campaigners. There were people handing out flyers and (I think) stickers and buttons. There were people wearing matching T-shirts that variously seemed to be declaring support for different candidates and get-out-the-vote initiatives.

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