Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wilson and Rosslyn precincts primary voting

At 7:40 am, I had a 20-minute voting wait for presidential primary voting in the Wilson precinct at Wilson Elementary School in Rosslyn. Waiting time appeared to have been similar next door for Rosslyn precinct voting at Fire Station #10.

Obama signs and supporters were much more visible in the vicinity of the voting places than were signs and supporters for other candidates. The Obama supporters included persons holding hand-written signs and persons with big cardboard cut-out letters spelling "Obama."

I also saw a curious indication of grass-roots support for Obama when riding my bike this past Sunday morning. A woman and three young children were standing on the side of the road waving Obama signs and holding Obama leaflets. A red light made me stop in front of them. The woman and the children yelled, "Vote for Obama." I said, "I will." Then the woman said, "I went to law school with him. He's a great person." At that point the light turned green so I sped off.

At the Wilson precinct I noticed a Reuters cameraman along with a female assistant. His video camera was much bigger than mine. I was standing behind them shooting, along with them, the voting officials checking the registration of voters. A voting official came up to me and said you can't take video here. My feelings of inadequacy raised even higher, I sputtered, "What about them?" She said, "They have permission. You have to ask the person in charge."

I explained to the person in charge that I live in the neighbor, I'm a local news blogger, and I'm covering the voting for my neighborhood blog. The official looked at me as if I were truly a manly reporter. He said that the concern was only that I didn't take video from any position that might reveal how a person is voting at a voting machine. He said nothing about my camera size. This made me feel good about U.S. democratic culture.

Additional note: Uploading video to youtube seemed much slower than normal. I don't mind taking annual leave to cover important public events as a volunteer citizen journalist. But burning annual leave while waiting for video to upload is annoying. I hope the hard-working and dedicated FCC bureaucrats will succeed in helping to get the public cheaper, faster connectivity.

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