Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day in West Seattle

Even for homey, good-vibey, community-y West Seattle, today felt especially celebratory.

I took a long Election Day walk around our neighborhood this afternoon, running a couple of errands, voting and scoring a freebie E-day cupcake and coffee, and everywhere I found people like this bike lady, totally into citizenship and encouraging others to join in. (When I took this photo, in the Junction, the bike lady's chain had just broken. If she took that as a metaphor or bad omen she didn't let on.)

It's a liberal hood, so I wasn't surprised to see all the signs of support for Barack Obama. Pretty strong though. With the exception of a couple of yard signs and bumper stickers touting John McCain, or the odd one regarding a statewide race or local ballot measure, the public displays were overwhelmingly Obama's. In the Junction -- the "downtown West Seattle" intersection of California Avenue and Alaska Street -- drivers honked their horns and waved to the Obamiacs on every corner. Before her chain broke, Bike Lady rode up and down the street, getting toots of support from nearly every passing car.

I'm registered as an absentee voter, but instead of mailing my ballot I walked it up to Schmitz Park Elementary, where Gina and Franny went to school through the fifth grade. Not the big crowds reported elsewhere in the city, but when I dropped my ballot in the box a poll worker told me it had been busy all morning.

At Schmitz Park I ran into our friends Angie and Lew, who also live nearby and also were there to vote. They let me hold their new baby Finn. Cute kid, even if he looks like Lew.

A new trend, or at least one I never noticed before, is businesses offering free stuff on Election Day. Starbucks was giving away a free cup of coffee all over the country, and here in the Junction the awesome Cupcake Royale served up a free "babycake" to anyone who said they voted.

Cool, deal me in. My only gripe was that C-Royale and Starbucks are about a 15-minute walk apart, so I couldn't enjoy the cupcake and the coffee together. I also needed a blood draw today, so I thought maybe there'd be an Election Day special at the lab too. But no, just a regular ol' nonpartisan, full-price needle poke. As Kaye said: Communist blood-suckers!

As a political reporter and editor for most of my life, it's weird for me not to be working on Election Night. Michelle and I planned to continue the newsroom tradition of ordering pizza while the returns come in. She's not even home from work yet and the networks have practically called the race for Obama -- NBC has it at 200 electoral votes to 90 at this moment -- but there's plenty of news to come. And you can't go wrong with a slice and a beer.

Here are some other pics from my afternoon walk.


mich said...

Great report, Mark. Makes me wish I had taken more time today to get out and see people (and score some freebies). I did vote in person at my polling place, though -- I always do -- and it was packed. It felt huge and so heartening. Gotta love Democracy.

kateco said...

I really love the whole M&M Election coverage. The headache -- which is thankfully gone today -- really dampened things down at thenightnote, So, seeing your cool stories is espeially cool. Thank you!