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Election Day. I Need A Band-Aid

Election Day. I Need A Band-Aid

NOTE: A computer glitch failed to record my final version of this post at 2:30 am and it didn’t post at 6 a.m. as scheduled. No idea why. Below is the updated version:

As I write this on Tuesday night - Wednesday morning, actually - the polls are closed, votes are counted and I’m contemplating the blisters on my feet. 

Sure, some might say it was stupid to wear pumps with four-inch heels to work the polls for 11 straight hours. A rookie move. But my mother always told me that nothing elongates a girl’s legs better than a nice pair of high heels and who are any of us to argue with my late mom?

Those blisters are also weirdly satisfying. I earned them by doing something I’d never been able to do during my 42 years in journalism: I campaigned for candidates I believed in on Election Day.

 (During a late-afternoon deluge I changed into rain boots, featured in the photo with this column. My mother would be horrified.)

From early in the morning till the polls closed at 7 I asked friends and neighbors at my polling place to please vote for Aaron Rouse and John Moss in the At-Large City Council race.

Some smiled and swore they would, others waved me off, still others just grinned mysteriously and disappeared inside Galilee Church to cast their secret ballots.

Our precinct was slammed most of the day. It took voters about 25 minutes to cast their ballots during the heaviest periods.  Shortly after noon, one of the election workers came out and said the North Beach precinct had seen 1,370 voters so far. The busiest polling station in the city.

Yay. We’re number one!

As a journalist, Election Day was always chaotic. For decades I spent that day interviewing voters and candidates, winners and losers and trying to make sense out of results.

My first election was in 1976 when I was working for The Washington Post and Jimmy Carter won. I think I got back to my Dupont Circle efficiency around 4 a.m. after an exhausting 16-hour shift, running copy and fetching coffee for the Post’s political stars. I fell into bed that night feeling like I was a very small part of something very big. 

During my three years in Ireland in the early 1980s the Irish government kept collapsing. I covered several national elections and had to learn the crazy, complicated Irish proportional representation system, which uses the single transferable vote method.

Highly democratic, quintessentially Irish.

It took days to get results, which were tallied on a giant chalk board in a Dublin government building. Members of the press corps got no sleep as we camped out on folding chairs waiting for final totals and watching as the votes moved between columns.

On Election Day in 1994 I was covering the Oliver North campaign in Richmond when he lost his bid to unseat Chuck Robb for the U. S. Senate. On that night I learned there is nothing sadder than a victory party without a victory.

As I write this there are no doubt victory parties and wakes being held around town.

Our new good government mayor Bobby Dyer announced that he was taking his wife out to a Chinese restaurant tonight and they’d celebrate later. That’s characteristic of Dyer’s low-key style. A welcome change.

I’m thrilled that newcomer Aaron Rouse came in first in the At-Large City Council race and equally happy that the irreplaceable John Moss finally edged into second place. Hoping the numbers hold.

As hard as Moss works for voters, there’s no reason he should be in any danger.

Clearly the malevolent attack ads unleashed by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Beach Education Association accomplished their goal: The smearing of a good public servant and suppressing his vote.

Shame on both groups for their tactics. If I belonged to either one, I’d quit.

Best of all, it looks like John Uhrin has been replaced in the Beach District by David Nygaard. I didn’t support Nygaard’s candidacy but will be delighted if it turns out that he’s  banished Uhrin from public office once all the totals are certified.

This is a great start on the road to booting the lapdogs from City Hall. We’ll take care of the rest of the cronies next time.


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