Manning the Polls in a Red State

Former editor and publisher, David Roffman retired from the Georgetown in 2009 and moved to Alabama, a very different place compared to his years in the nation’s capital and the Old Dominion. Today, he lives in Foley, Ala., with his wife Carmen and two dogs, Brando and Bogart, and goes to the beach a lot.

On my 69th birthday, Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012, I spent 16 hours working the polls at the Foley Alabama Civic Center.

Voting in Alabama is not like voting in Washington, D.C. or McLean, Va., where I had spent 42 years before moving to the Gulf Coast. Alabama is a decidedly Red State and has been for quite some time. Mitt Romney’s winning here was a given before polls opened at 7 a.m.

Voting down here is antiquated. Paper bal- lots are still used, and there are no computerized machines counting votes. The seniors working the polls had to stay an extra four hours after the polls closed to count write-in votes. Was this even important?

At the age of 69, I was the youngest person working the polls here. To think that the entire election process is put into the hands of people in their 70s and 80s . . . amazing. Half these poll workers can’t even get a driver’s license anymore.

The ballot here in Foley, Ala., consisted of voting for president and vice president and sev- eral judgeships and state positions as well as 14 amendments, including one proposing an amend- ment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit any person, employer or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any healthy care system. Alabamians voted 59 percent to 41 percent to repeal Obamacare. Again . . . amazing.

Roy Moore won the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court position. He ran a campaign espousing that the court buildings should post the Ten Commandments. Hmm, I wonder if one of the commandments he had in mind was “Thou Shall Not Do Meth.”

I was glad to see a couple of states voting to legalize marijuana. More than 1.6 million per- sons are in prison, and many of them are there for using or selling marijuana. Perhaps this futile war on drugs is ready to take a new turn to freeing up our prison system.

President Barack Obama was re-elected with a big minority vote, especially among Hispanics. Alabama will probably remain a Red State, how- ever, because down here Hispanic immigrants are frowned upon and forced to move to another state. Farmers have no one to work their fields anymore, crops die on the vine, but the good ol’ boys still vote Republican. Go figure.

The one-cent tax to save the school system of Alabama was voted in once again. Maybe President Obama should institute a one-cent tax increase for all Americans whenever they buy something. It seems to work down here without much protest. There are lots of ways to skin a cat. Even an ol' poll cat.

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Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:13:17 -0400

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