Election day shows much less drama than last year’s elections

Published 12:47 am Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This year was far quieter and less dramatic.
Walking up to the polling station to take pictures and interview those who had just voted for the single race for the Bainbridge City Council, I stepped out of my car at the fairgrounds and the scene looked desolate and abandoned.
Maybe that piece of property always looks like a gas station, that if you closed your eyes, a tumbleweed would roll by your feet. The whitewashed concrete building just had several small signs in front of it, “VOTE HERE.”
Hardly anyone was at the polls to vote Tuesday afternoon.
Maybe it was the squeal of the swine over next door at the Agricultural Center, but I had a quick flashback to last year’s election and covering one for the first time as a journalist (out of school and actually employed.)
For journalists, elections are associated with long nights full of tears and, of course, free pizza.
In my coverage area in Alabama, as I am sure was the case for Bainbridge as well, polls were packed full of people ready to drop in a ballot and color in a dot for their favorite presidential candidate. My Facebook feed looked like one giant polling location with voters yelling back and forth about their views, posting articles they found informative from the Huffington Post or Fox News that aided in their presidential decision.
Last year’s election was a long learning experience where I had to call many of the losing and winning candidates for the Selma City Council and ask them how they felt about the outcome. Candidates fought, protested and campaigned all around town for months in advance. There were scandals, rumors and the ever-present suspicion that someone had “messed with the absentee ballots.”
I almost fell over in the editing desk at the Post-Searchlight when chief election officer Doris White said there was only one race in the election this year.  Anyone who might have come by the paper might have found me staring at the wall, drool hanging out of the corner of my mouth. I didn’t know whether to be gleeful in the fact that there would be no drama or mourn the lack of races knowing the election would have little to no adrenaline rush.
Either way, while people take to social networking sites and get so heated over presidential debates and policies, in my mind our little one-race election down here in Bainbridge matters so much more on a personal level than any presidential candidate could.
These folks on our city councils and county commissions spend our local dollars, fix the potholes in our roads and are charged with the daunting task of recruiting industry to rural areas.
Polls are closed now and those paper tables (whatever those things are) are all folded up and stored in some cinder block walled janitorial closet along with admission tickets to the fair and once-functional parking cones.
Things are quiet and no chaos has ensued, but that one person elected for City of Bainbridge Alderman Post 2, District A has more power in this small yet hearty city than most people realize.

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