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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Where to Vote and What I'm Watching

In addition to races of local interest, at least four are of national interest, in New York, Virginia, New Jersey, and Maine.

Where to Vote

I voted today at the American Fork Library, because I'm in Precinct 4. I was there about 7:20 a.m. and was the seventh voter; by 7:25 a.m. I believe nine had voted. Compare this to my being the sixth voter at 7:50 a.m. in the my precinct in the September 15 primary, and one could conclude -- quite unscientifically -- that turnout is three times greater today. (That's 9 votes in 25 minutes vs. 6 votes in 50 minutes.) That gets it almost to 40 percent, which wouldn't be bad at all for a local election -- but I used the word "unscientific" for good reason.

Polls are open in Utah from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Don't forget that you now need photo ID to vote. This may be a slight inconvenience to registered voters, but it's a major inconvenience to anyone trying to perpetrate voter fraud, so it's a good thing. If you don't have a driver license, there are alternatives, that is, other forms or combinations of identification that will work.

If you don't know where to vote, but you know your name, your birthdate, your county, and the street number portion of your address, you can learn your precinct's voting location at the Utah state Web site. You can also see a rough approximation of the ballot you'll be using and follow links to some candidate information.

No October Surprise in American Fork?

I've been saying for months that an October surprise seemed likely in American Fork's local races, because it appeared that some people were laying the groundwork for something, but either there hasn't been one at all, or someone seriously mistimed an attempt. If nothing pops up in the next 11 or 12 hours -- which would be very late -- this will be the second consecutive local-only American Fork election without such skulduggery. That's a happy trend.

Other Races of Interest

Besides watching American Fork's races, I'll be watching with interest to see if Highland's October surprise backfired and Mayor Franson is reelected, and to see if City Councilor Cindy Richards of Provo is reelected, despite a concerted campaign against her, which has appeared lately to have considerable backlash.

I'll be watching two gubernatorial races. In Virginia, a long-time Republican stronghold now controlled by Democrats, the Republican, Robert McDonnell, is running far enough ahead of the Democrat, Creigh Deeds, in opinion polls that the Obama administration has seemed to be distancing itself from the Democrat for the last couple of weeks. In New Jersey, a bastion of Democratic power, the race between the Republican challenger, Christopher Christie, and the Democrat incumbent, Jon Corzine, is too close to call, and there's an independent, Christopher Daggett, in the mix who might be taking some Republican votes but seems to be fading. President Obama has pulled hard on the New Jersey race, making it especially easy to see a possible Republican win as a repudiation of the President.

There's an interesting midterm race to fill a vacated seat in the US House of Representatives in upstate New York (beautiful home of nasty ice storms, and next-door neighbor of Canada), where the Conservative candidate Douglas Hoffman is running ahead of the Democrat, Bill Owens, even after the Republican, Dede Scozzafava, who was well to the left of the Democrat, dropped out of the race over the weekend.

If the Democrats lose all three of these races, some folks will see a foreshadowing of 2010, but I think a year in advance is too early for that to be meaningful.

In Maine there's a statewide referendum, attempting to overturn an act of the state legislature, signed by the governor, legalizing gay marriage. To date, gay marriage has lost every statewide referendum held anywhere in the country, but New Englanders seem to be more comfortable with the idea, so it's said that, if it can survive anywhere, Maine is the place. Polls have it too close to call. Washington has a referendum on a domestic partnership law, which specifically says it's not marriage, which is a different and less inflammatory matter, but still interesting. I talked with a Washington voter this morning who says it has been a relatively low-key campaign.

For the Earliest American Fork Returns Tonight . . .

Assuming the flu bug I've been battling has receded sufficiently, which it probably will have, I'll be at American Fork's historic City Hall this evening, starting at about 8:30 p.m., for the precinct-by-precinct election returns. You can come, too, if you want the quickest results, or you can follow LocalCommentary on Twitter, or (if you surf but don't tweet) watch the Twitter feed on my main blog page, for results that are almost as quick. (In the latter place, tweets scroll, but not necessarily in order. Watch the percentage of precincts reporting in each tweet to see which is the most recent.)

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