Purple Finger Majesties

The Web Goddess and I got up early this morning to perform our solemn civic duty of canceling each other out at the election booth.

The polls in New Jersey nominally open at 6 a.m., but voting was already under way when we arrived at 6. At 6:04 I estimated just under 100 people in the cafeteria at Tuscan Elementary School, where three districts vote. We were out of there by about 6:25, and the crowd had swelled to well over 100, in part because the line for the next district over wasn’t moving at all — apparently a voting machine problem.

Neither of us remember ever seeing so many people at the polls. Conventional wisdom holds that high turnout normally favors the Democrats. There’s no doubt that will be true in New Jersey, where electoral-vote.com‘s average of four recent polls shows Obama with a 16-point lead, 55% to 39%.

I voted straight Republican. Aside from the Presidential race, I was voting in the interests of divided government, not because I prefer the positions of whoever the GOP Freeholder candidate was over the positions of whoever the Democratic Freeholder candidate was. The Republicans did not field a candidate for Congress, so I couldn’t vote against Donald Payne, short of writing someone in. I’ve got nothing against Payne other than the fact that he’s a product of the Newark Democratic machine who has served 10 terms in Congress already.

While standing in line, it was tempting to think of voting in a lopsided race as a waste of time. Then I thought of all of the pictures of Iraqi and Afghani voters waving their purple fingers after voting, at some risk to their lives, in their first meaningful election in decades. And I shuffled ahead as the line moved forward.