A long, good day
Tuesday, Nov. 6, was a very exciting day. It was also, for many, including your humble scribe, a very long day.
It was a long day for folks at the county clerk’s office, and precinct workers, and especially for candidates and their supporters on the short end of the scorecard.
It was also a day full of examples of grace and humor and at least one potential injury. In the county courthouse, greeted by his frenemy, Peggy Carter S., a person greatly resembling me gave her a friendly pat on the shoulder.
This is what people do on election nights, though political veterans usually slap each others’ backs. Turns out, that’s what I should have done, as my shoulder slap aggravated the left elbow Ms. S dislocated around Halloween. I apologized, but felt compelled to point out that she wasn’t wearing a sling. She responded that, after my pounding, she might need to don one again.
A few minutes later, I ran into Magistrate Duncan Gardiner (Dist. 6), who, even before the results were official, knew he’d lost his race. I told Duncan I’d enjoyed covering him and chatting with him, and that I hoped he wouldn’t be a stranger. He responded kindly and explained that he’d come to the courthouse on winning election nights and felt he should do the same on a losing evening. Gardiner, despite his having graduated from Tates Creek High School while I was doing the same at Henry Clay, is a good egg. Gardiner and Ms. S were among the dozens of people watching local election returns on a large monitor outside the county clerk’s office. (See story on front page.) They watched and watched, and then they watched some more.
I shuttled between the courthouse and the Sun a few times, perhaps afraid that what they say about watched pots being slow to boil was true. About 7:30 p.m., I ran into a happy Brian Traugott, who already knew he’d won his bid for reelection as mayor of Versailles, just as he and his wife Laini, were about to walk inside the American Legion for a victory party. The Traugotts and their supporters had written down the totals posted at each city precinct, and after that, all they needed was a calculator.
Back at the courthouse, I got to spend time with my favorite relative of an elected official – Kiaya, whose grandmother Sandy was busy counting votes. (Please note that there’s a difference between “favorite relative of an elected official” and “favorite elected official.”) I was pretty sure Kiaya had grown at least two inches since I first met her at a spring candidate forum, and her mom agreed. I’ll admit I was getting impatient with the pace of the vote-counting (that explanation is also on the front page), but getting to catch up with Kiaya was a nice trade-off.
Several times, I watched people bring in the type of bags that normally contain boxes of pizza. Each time, they were, instead, full of paper ballots and voting cards.
See, I was just hoping for enough official or semi-official returns to post blurbs on Facebook and the Sun’s website about the major races.
At 9 p.m., I knew who’d won the two mayoral contests and state representative race, and I told Kiaya to tell her grandmom that I’d be back first thing Wednesday morning for the full returns.
Turns out folks in the clerk’s office were at it until 11 o’clock Tuesday night. It also turns out that it took two hours the following morning for me to read vote totals for every race in every precinct to Sun design editor Marla Carroll. We were momentarily flummoxed by a Northside Elementary precinct featuring a handful of votes for Versailles mayor and city council, but a call to Kiaya’s grandmom cleared that up. (See explanation on front page.)
Oh, one more thing: if you’re the type of person who wants elections to be decided as quickly as possible, please don’t write in names of non-eligible candidates. Yes, I do believe Santa Claus would be a fine elected official – perhaps my favorite – but he didn’t file a declaration of intent in Woodford County, and non-eligible write-ins like Messrs. Claus, Mouse and Duck really slow things down.
Yes, once again, see explanation on front page. Happy post-Election Day, y’all.