Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Election Reflection

When we lived in New Jersey, we would be bombarded with all manner of mailings as election day approached. Every candidate for office of town councilmen, school board member, and such, on up to State Senator, Governor, and/or President.

On top of the mailings, the TV would carry ad after ad, after ad, newspapers would have daily stories about the candidates and the radio would have three minutes of political ads for every three minute song.

Here in rural Pennsylvania--not so much. Races are damn near word of mouth. Oh, we get the occasional TV ads from Corning or Elmira, New York, located just a short distance north across the border (it's where the "local" TV stations come from), but Tioga County, PA? The local radio is about it and even they don't seem to carry a whole lot of political ads. The two daily papers come out of Williamsport to the south and Elmira to the north. We are in somewhat of a no man's land. The local paper (Wellsboro) comes out weekly on Wednesday. (That's the day after election day.) Even it's web site contains only snatches of the articles it prints instead of the entire thing so any in-depth story on line is unlikely. No sample ballots arrive in the mail and there's precious little literature from any candidate below State Senator. You see a few lawn signs--especially for write-in candidates--but you still have to ferret out what's on the ballot, and, if you're new to the area, where the heck you're supposed to vote.

On the other hand, voter ID is of little concern when you walk in to cast your ballot. The first time Terry and I did so after moving here, we read all the directions posted on the wall of the entrance and pulled out our voter registration cards and driver's licenses for photo ID as directed. As we walked into the hall there were four poll workers and the town clerk--whom we had seen around at the post office but never spoken to--who immediately told the others at the table who we were and where we lived. Seems she had asked the postal clerk one day after Terry had picked up our mail. Remember, this was before Terry got involved with Curves or the church or her several stitching clubs. It was before I joined up with the Audubon Society or the photography club. We had few contacts in the community and knew few people in the area beyond the casual wave as we drove by--but they knew us! Scary--in a way--but also pretty welcoming. No secrets in a small town!

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