Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Vote(d)

Yesterday was primary election day here. This is actually my first year voting so it was, I think, a good opportunity for me to figure out my polling place (Which, since it was my old elementary school wasn't exactly difficult.), iron out the wrinkles, and get a feel for the actual voting experience.

I went on my lunch hour, taking a "I've really got to start exercising more" walk over to the school around noon, and was surprised to find that there was actually a pretty good crowd there - I figured it'd be dead and I could breeze right in without, you know, making a fool of myself in front of the neighbors because I had no idea what I was doing. Asking around a bit with the volunteers I learned that they did consider it pretty busy. That it wasn't just a lunch hour rush. That it had been busy throughout the day and would probably get worse once people got out of work, as is normally the case. Although there was a lineup, I got in and out pretty quickly. I checked with my mother who voted in the evening after she got off work and she said it was pretty much the same story there, too.

Personally, I take that as a positive sign. I think that there are a lot of people energized this year. A lot of first time voters, including the ones like me who've never really taken the time to bother before. And that means large turnouts which can only be a net positive for the country.

Anyhow, as for the actual voting, there wasn't too much on the primary ballot. A few single option choices for candidates running unopposed. Like Senator Levin who could probably get elected as a corpse at this point. And a bunch of contry clerks and judges that you'd have had to have the sort of obsessive mind that would do hours worth of research beforehand, in the morning, before heading over to the polling place to make an informed decision about. There was the millage increase for the Zoo which seems to have passed handily.

But the biggest single thing - on my ballot, at least - though, was the vote for the Democratic primary in the House of Representatives. Caroline Kilpatrick, mother of Detroit mayor Kwame, is the 13th District Representative (That covers, basically, eastern Detroit and some of the surrounding suburbs, including the one I hail from and the ones we call "downriver".). The fallout from her son's foibbles had put her seat in jeopardy - I for one, want to vote against her if only to register some kind of protest and I'm not alone. This being Detroit, though, it's a heavily Democratic area (Read: urban.) and it would take a miracle for her to be unseated by a Republican contender in the fall.

In the summer, though, she could be unseated by another Democrat in the primary. Basically, it's been like what happened to Lieberman and Lemont without the national media caring about it. A pretty bitter primary fight between Kilpatrick and two challengers, former state representative Mary Waters and state senator Martha Scott and a referrendum on the Mayor.

Today, though, it seems that Kilpatrick has squeezed past my choice Waters, largely on the strength of the Detroit vote. The suburbs, especially the affluent Grosse Pointes went heavily against her. Unfortunately, that means it plays right into the narrative of "us vs. them" that her son's been playing on for the longest time so it's not like anyone's actually going to be held accountable again. In fact, even though it was a close race that shows there's a lot of anger out there and a lot of dislike for Kilpatrick, it's more likely to end up shoring up Kwame's position.

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