And Now for the Main Event…Election Returns!

I VotedI voted! The ballot seemed to go on forever…senator, mayor, sheriff, county clerk and more than 20 judges. It took me a full five minutes, but I made sure I filled in every oval with the little number two pencil tied to the cubicle.

Now, I think I’ll pop some popcorn, pour a glass of wine and watch the election returns.

Next to actually participating in the Democratic process, watching the news anchors guess the outcomes of the races has always been my favorite part of election night.

Not long after I cast my first ballot at the age of 18, I scored an internship at my local newspaper. That spring I fulfilled my dream of being a political reporter.

My first assignment was to cover the election returns for the Presidential primary (among other local races) at the county courthouse.  My editor either had great faith in my journalistic ability or he couldn’t find anyone else on the small paper’s staff who wanted to stay up past midnight on a Tuesday night. I choose to believe he saw my future as a White House press correspondent before anyone else did.

All the local reporters from the county–me and another guy from the paper representing the county seat–crowded into a room filled with election officials and a blackboard. Some of the election officials counted and others wrote the results on the blackboard.

I didn’t make any outlandish predictions. I just added up the numbers and copied them into my brand new reporter’s notebook.

Around 11:59 p.m., someone declared the handwritten numbers on the blackboard official. A few phone calls were made to notify the candidates, and at about 12:07 a.m. everyone went home.

Democracy in a small town in the pre-digital age…it sure wasn’t the political scene from Scandal, but I like to think that for that one night, at the idealistic age of 18, I was a gladiator in a suit!

The polls close in 15 minutes! I need to go pop that popcorn!

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