How slow is it at some polling places?
At one election day precinct I saw a campaign worker at the 100-foot boundary for campaign activity fast asleep in a lawn chair, his campaign sign dutifully propped up between his knees and his chin.
His chair was to the edge of the driveway and the occasional car driving inches away into the lot was not constant enough to stir him from his sleep.
There are two ways to look at this slumbering figure. The first is to assume he is a paid poll worker – the professional called on by campaigns at the bitter end of a summer campaign in 100-degree heat to get the bare essentials of the job done one more day. The other view is this is a zealous campaign volunteer who has nothing left to give on the last day of the campaign. I’m going with the paid poll worker. What tips me in that direction is he was wearing a hat. Zealous campaign workers rarely approach that level of planning at this point.
Other reports we’ve heard from around the county indicate it is taking a long time to vote in the suburbs not because of the length of the ballot – but because of continuing problems getting the right district races on the ballot in precincts split along city borders. No matter how much the Shelby County Election Commission emphasizes the mechanics, there seems to be a core of election day polling place workers who are not getting the message. This election it is an enormous problem.
Because of that problem, we might be doing more than reporting numbers once the polls close at 7 p.m. But we’ll start with the assumption that our tweets @tdnpols of the live election returns as well as our web summaries of the early voting totals and the final unofficial numbers after that at www.memphisdailynews.com will be about the numbers for the most part.
So join us at both venues after 7 p.m.
We will wrestle with the Election Commission’s website so you don’t have to. Just don’t ask us to repeat what we will be saying aloud during the wrestling match.
About an hour after the polls opened Thursday morning, Congressman Steve Cohen – Democrat – and State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville were both at the morning meeting of the Regional Logistics Council at the Memphis Marriott Hotel in Parkway Village.
Both are on Thursday’s ballot in different races. What brought them together was a very essential political leader who is not on any ballot these days – Tennessee Transportation Commission John Schroer.
You can read more about what Schroer had to say about Lamar Avenue and Interstate 69 when our Friday edition goes up on the website by four Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Cohen, fresh from disowning a rogue direct mail piece from the camp of Democratic state representative G.A. Hardaway that gives the appearance Cohen has endorsed him over veteran Democratic incumbent Mike Kernell as his “go-to guy in Nashville,” couldn’t resist using the handy phrase.
“My go-to guy in Nashville is Bill Haslam,” Cohen said of the Tennessee Governor. Maybe half the room got the reference to the Hardaway controversy. Half didn’t. Such is the risk of the election eve surprise and resulting damage control.
Cohen then noted he had introduced Haslam at the House Judiciary Committee last week as “part of a long distinguished and honorable strain of moderate Republicans.”
As examples he cited Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Fred Thompson, Howard Baker and Bill Frist.
“Mark Norris – I didn’t say – but I could have,” Cohen continued.
“Don’t write that,” Norris joked to reporters at a front table.
“Moderate – Moderate,” Cohen repeated several times. “That’s a bad place to be in.”