Archive for Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voters explain their choice in Election Day videos; Kids join parents at the polls

Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew counts votes at the Douglas County Courthouse in this narrated panorama. Using your mouse, click and drag on the panorama above to explore the courthouse.

November 4, 2008, 6:00 a.m. Updated November 4, 2008, 4:51 p.m.


What's on voters' minds?

Voters throughout Douglas County share their Election Day thoughts.

Several Free State High School students got their first chance to vote on Tuesday. Those first-time voters gathered for a group photo.

Several Free State High School students got their first chance to vote on Tuesday. Those first-time voters gathered for a group photo.

Reader poll
How long did it take you to vote today, from entering the polling place until exiting the polling place?

or See the results without voting

Mangino discusses encouraging the Jayhawks to vote

Nebraska was the main point of focus, but Coach Mark Mangino took some time out this week to encourage the football team to vote. Enlarge video

At right, Shawn Alexander and his wife Kelly Farrell, along with their 16-month-old twins Francis Alexander, foreground, and Leigham Alexander, vote at New York School on Tuesday.

At right, Shawn Alexander and his wife Kelly Farrell, along with their 16-month-old twins Francis Alexander, foreground, and Leigham Alexander, vote at New York School on Tuesday.

Breaking Political News
Want to be among the first to know about news on the Nov. 4 election? As soon as results are in, or whenever breaking political news happens, the news will be in your e-mail or on your cell phone - you choose.

Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

4:50 p.m. Adults weren't the only ones making voting decisions on Tuesday.

Kids Voting USA had precincts for students set up at regular polling places throughout Douglas County. Dozens of students joined their parents in voting.

By the end of the night, their results will be reported as well. Take a look at some pictures from Kids Voting, here on this page.

4:10 p.m. TONGANOXIE - Mark Padfield was worried he would not be able to vote and make it to his job at Tonganoxie High School on time.

He showed up at his polling site, the Tonganoxie VFW Post Home, at 6:40 a.m., 20 minutes before the polls were to open. When he arrived, he had to find a spot in overflow parking.

"I was very surprised that the number of people in line already," Padfield said. "I expected a handful of people but not 45 in front of me."

Padfield was able to leave the polling site about 7:40 a.m and made it to work on time.

Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer said Tuesday "everything has been running smoothly."

She noted some problems have come up because people aren't seeing the "Thank you for voting" screens, because the screen goes by so quickly and voters don't realize they have completed the ballot.

- Shawn Linenberger

3:55 p.m. File this one under Election Day "good" news.

A group of Free State High School students were able to vote for the very first time this year.

After they voted, the school gathered them together for a group photo. You can see that photo on this page.

3:45 p.m. U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans are both expecting to see Democrats add to their slim majority, the Associated Press is reporting.

Democrats were optimistic that the only two Democratic senators who will lose their Senate seats as a result of the national elections will be Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

And if the Democratic presidential ticket prevails, Democratic governors in Illinois and Delaware are sure to appoint Democrats to replace them.

The article continues to say that Democrats are expected to add to their majority, but it will be difficult - but certainly not impossible - for them to get a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority.

3:32 p.m. Those who know KU football coach Mark Mangino know he's not one to devote a whole lot of time to things other than football.

At his weekly press conference this week, however, he spent five minutes talking about how important it was for his student-athletes to vote. You can see that video on the left of this page.

He said he'd encouraged his students to visit their polling places - or vote absentee if they're from out of state - and exercise their constitutional right.

He did say, however, that he wouldn't be encouraging his out-of-state players to be going to vote.

There's a game to prepare for.

3:17 p.m. If you haven't checked out our Election Day video project, I'd really encourage you to spend a few moments there.

We've got dozens of videos of your fellow citizens as they exercise their constitutional duty to vote. There are Republican and Democrats, pro-T and anti-T voices.

Spend a few minutes listening to what they're saying. And feel free to add your voice.

Send me an e-mail with your thoughts - in words or video - on Election Day 2008.

3:09 p.m. By 2:45 p.m., 305 people had cast ballots at Checkers, 23rd and Louisiana streets.

Store owner Jim Lewis said that number is much higher than in previous elections.

3:01 p.m. There was no waiting to vote at 2:45 p.m. at Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship, 700 Wakarusa Drive.

So far, about 660 people have cast their ballots in the 18th precinct where there are 1,774 registered voters. When voting first began, poll workers said the line was to the parking lot and they were very busy until about 8:30 a.m.

Since then, there has been a fairly steady stream.

- Karrey Britt

2:20 p.m. In Johnson County, where voters will decide whether to approve a new sales tax to support research and education at Kansas University Medical Center and KU's Edwards Campus, registration is breaking records.

But no one really knows by how much.

Sarah Horn, a Johnson County elections official, said there were more than 363,000 registered voters in the county. It's that more than, though, that's a little squishy.

"I have the number in the computer, but I haven't been able to work with them," Horn said. "There's just too many things to be done."

Things did seem to be going well at the polls, she added. Much of that could be because of the number of county residents who voted in advance.

Horn said more than 86,000 residents came to early voting sites and another 60,000-plus mail-in ballots were issued. She had not had an opportunity to update the number of returned mail-in ballots, she said.

12:34 p.m. For Jamie Shew, this is the first election he's overseen in which his name is on the ballot.

"Having no opponent has made it less stressful," said Shew, running unopposed as a Democrat.

Shew, who took office four years ago, said he did his best to avoid campaigning on behalf of other candidates.

"You walk an interesting line," Shew said. "You're elected on a partisan basis, and as a county clerk, you try to be as nonpartisan as possible."

One way to avoid openly taking sides: "I don't put signs up in my yard."

Another sign of his efforts: Both of Shew's deputies, Keith Campbell and Marni Penrod, are Republicans.

12:19 p.m. Jamie Shew still expects voter turnout to approach 80 percent by the time polls close tonight in Douglas County.

Shew, the county clerk, said late this morning that the majority of the county's 67 polling sites each had reported seeing 150 to 200 voters from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., the first hour of voting.

"That's a couple of voters per minute," he said. "We're running two lines. Things are going really well. We were very busy early this morning, and things have kind of leveled off."

Polls remain open until 7 p.m. tonight.

Advance voting already has generated strong voter response, Shew said. Advance turnout has approached 22 percent of more than 80,000 registered voters, when combining ballots cast in advance with ballots mailed out by the clerk's office for be completion in advance.

Of ballots mailed out by the clerk's office to be completed, 73.3 percent already had been received by the clerk's office by the end of accounting Monday night.

Voters who still have ballots to be returned still have until 7 tonight to get them to the courthouse.

- Mark Fagan

12:03 p.m. A minor glitch was reported in Wakarusa Township: Some residents showing up this morning to vote found themselves with ballots that didn't quite look like the others going to their fellow township neighbors.

Turns out some "fed service" ballots - ballots printed 45 days in advance, to be sent to military troops and other federal personnel serving elsewhere - had been mixed in with some of the regular ballots, said Jamie Shew, county clerk.

The mixup meant two or three voters this morning had to go ahead and vote using the fed service ballots, which have all the same candidates as other ballots. The only material difference: They can't be counted by machine.

Thus, the completed ballots went into the "emergency box," reserved for ballots that will need to be counted tonight by hand.

Today's "fed service" issue appeared to affect only township voters who would be electing a member to the Baldwin City school board, Shew said. Shew said the presence of "fed service ballots" was the only issue with ballots that he was aware of in Wakarusa Township.

11:53 a.m. A representative at the Douglas County Clerk of the District Court said that for jurors looking to vote, there should be ample opportunity today.

A lunch break is provided and court sessions will have concluded by 5 p.m. Judges in individual courtrooms can also work with extenuating circumstances on an individual basis to allow jurors to vote.

- Andy Hyland

11:14 a.m.Lawrence High School had more than 100 voters cast ballots by 8:30 a.m. Cornerstone Baptist Church saw 65 voters in the first hour of voting.

John McCain has also cast his vote at a precinct in Phoenix.

The Associated Press reports:

McCain stepped out of a sport-utility vehicle Tuesday morning with wife Cindy as a small crowd cheered "Go, John, go!" and "We love you!" One person carried a sign that read, "Use your brain, vote McCain!"

McCain signed a poster and gave the thumbs-up sign before leaving without speaking to reporters.

10:52 a.m. If you have a few minutes, check out this video project we'll be adding to all day.

We've committed to interviewing voters at all 67 polling places in Douglas County. We've been out since 7 a.m. and the first videos are going up online now. By the end of the day we should have more than 200.

Think of it like a video straw poll: what's on voters minds and how the voted.

If you want to record your thoughts on video, upload it to YouTube and e-mail me the link.

10:42 a.m. There were 300 people who had voted at Prairie Park elementary school, 2711 Kensington, as of 10:15 a.m.

Election workers said there were several people waiting in line when polls opened at 7 a.m. and a few even had been there as early as 6 a.m. thinking they could vote. They were irate because they said they'd heard on Kansas City TV news that they could vote starting at 6 a.m.

There had been no long lines, they said.

- Mike Belt

10:35 a.m. Ronald McDonald already is a winner in today's elections.

The restaurant at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive played host to an impromptu breakfasttime rally of sorts - for children who had cast ballots in the countywide Kids Voting program.

All tables back in the playground area - whatever they call the place with all those the slides, tunnels and climbing things - had been filled soon after 8 a.m., and the crowd didn't dispurse till just before 8:30 a.m.

Filling the seats: Parents and grandparents of kids who'd stood with those same parents and grandparents to vote at nearby polling places: Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship and Pioneer Ridger Retirement Community just down Wakarusa Drive, and First Southern Baptist Church, just east on Sixth Street. The "I Voted"-type stickers gave everyone away.

McDonald's came into the election with plenty of advantages, beyond being the world's largest fast-food chain: Proximity to Quail Run School, a menu of hot food items and, perhaps most importantly, a place to pass the time before classes started.

"It's been a BUSY morning," a woman behind the counter said.

And just think: The polls had been open for all of an hour, with 11 more to go...

- Mark Fagan

10:25 a.m. I volunteered with Kids Voting early this morning at Central Junior High. Though I wasn't helping the adults vote, the real pollworkers told me things were rolling along there already.

The precinct has 900 voters and about 400 has cast ballots in advance - or requested a mail-in ballot. About 150 voters had voted by the time I left for the office. All told, Central Junior has had more than half its voters cast votes two and a half hours into the election.

9:54 a.m. All reports from the field indicate that lines are short or nonexistent throughout Douglas County.

Kari Wempe, a Citizen Journalism Academy fellow, reported that 19 people were waiting in line at Clinton Township Hall when the doors opened, but they were out in 20 minutes and the line was moving steadily.

The Associated Press reports that Barack Obama has cast his vote:

The Democratic presidential nominee and his wife, Michelle, were among the first to vote after polls opened Tuesday at Chicago's Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School. They cast paper ballots in side-by-side booths with 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha looking on.

"The journey ends, but voting with my daughters, that was a big deal," Obama told reporters later.

8:53 a.m. Reports from Burge Union are of no lines and less than 100 voters so far.

8:30 a.m. Central Junior High has had about 100 people vote so far.

Corpus Christi church has had about 200.

Though lines were long at first, they seem to have died down. At Central, there were some stretches with no voters.

7:54 a.m. The line at one polling place is already quite long.

Central Junior High has six voting booths set up and another couple of people are just sitting in the auditorium's chairs marking their votes, using their knee as a voting booth.

The line was initially out the door, but people have been moving through quite quickly.

6:14 a.m. Ten minutes into voting and the Associated Press is already reporting long lines at polling places that are open.

The Associated Press is also reporting that voter turnout records are supposed to tumble in nearly every state, including red state strongholds that never had any hope of going for anyone but John McCain. AP is citing the "Obama effect" and also the "Palin effect" for making that possible.

Still 50 minutes until polls open in Douglas County. Once they're open, you can expect news and photos to show up here. We'll also be linking off to our special, interactive election day video project. That'll probably start sometime after 8 a.m.

By the way, there's still time to take part in our election day contest. It closes at 5 p.m. this afternoon.

6 a.m. Welcome to our live Election Day blog. This page will be your best guide to the Election Day 2008 happenings here in Lawrence as well as around the state and the country.

If you have any remaining questions before you cast your ballot, please click on the Election 2008 logo on the left of the screen. There you'll find all the chats, stories, videos and profiles we've done for this election.

In less than two hours, you'll also see the first of more than 200 videos we're creating at the 67 polling places in Douglas County. They'll be sorted geographically withing Lawrence and the county, and then labeled by precinct. You can peruse all of them or see only what is on the mind of your neighbors.

If you'd like to report on the election experience yourself, visit our Reader Blogs, or send a note to and we can include your experiences in this blog.


motomom 9 years, 5 months ago

i LOVE where i vote. i am in the clinton township and we vote in a little old one room stone school house. there is a little kitchenette where the ladies who help out bring fresh pies and crock pots full of soups for them to eat during the day. it is always the same ladies who are there, and it feels great that they know us by name now. they are always friendly and it always smells so hometown good in there when you walk in. there is an old fence and a big old tree out front. i purposefully did NOT vote ahead of time, so i simply could go and be a part of AMERICA. thanks to those ladies and to clinton for a really special place to make my voice be heard. i went at 7:00a.m. and i was the 23rd voter....and there was about a 10 minute wait.

trinity 9 years, 5 months ago

so hawklet21, ya gone over there&cast your ballot yet??? :)

larryvillerocks 9 years, 5 months ago

Hmm, so I guess that wasn't Mr. Shew in the newspaper ad endorsing a certain state senator.

LiberalDude 9 years, 5 months ago

Here you go barf-1. Do you beleive in nationalized health care, distribution of wealth?You combined two questions into one. Yes. I believe that all people should have quality health care regardless of how much money they make. Yes, I believe that rich people in a society have a duty to contribute more to government than those who are poor. I favor a progressive income tax structure.2. Do you think we should pull our troops now?Yes, we've wasted our money in Iraq for too long. It has ruined our economy. Over 4,000 U.S. troops have died. Over 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died. There will be a civil war in Iraq whether we leave tomorrow or 100 years from now. We should leave immediately.3. Do you beleive that life begins at birth?No, I believe that a fetus is "alive" once it has the ability to live without being inside the mother. This happens at about the beginning of the third trimester. Up until this point I support a mother's choice for what to do with her body.

scienceofsleep 9 years, 5 months ago

Liberal Dude I agree with you. If McCain wins I will be sad. But I do not hate McCain. I just don't agree with him. That is all.

supertrampofkansas 9 years, 5 months ago

Voted early this morning in Jefferson county. They were having problems with the ballot machines not "seeing" the marks on the ballot and would reject the ballots indicating they were blank. The workers finally figured out that ball point pens and pencils were not being read on the paper ballots and had to shift to black felt tip markers to make the ballot be "seen". It made me a little mad because they were holding up my ballot all over the room trying to figure out why the machine wasn't reading the ballot and people in line were craning the necks to see who I had voted for. So much for privacy eh. I thought oh well, hopefully, I won't get shot for my choices.

Phil Minkin 9 years, 5 months ago

I voted at the senior center about 10:30. No line. I was #194

lawrencian 9 years, 5 months ago

I voted in North Lawrence today, and waited a little more than 20 minutes at 7 a.m.

SpeedRacer 9 years, 5 months ago

In and out of West Jr. High. Was surprised to see so many "advance voted" notations on the page I signed.

LiberalDude 9 years, 5 months ago

zbarf - I stand by my post. Don't twist my words. Your arguments are foolish and you know it.

jhawks1234 9 years, 5 months ago

Oh , voting in 10 minute just like ordering chinese food. It doesn't matter what you order they always say it will be ready in 10 minute... And no they don't say 10 minutes they always say 10 minute.

christie 9 years, 5 months ago

If you want to move forward put your car in (D)emocrat.If you want to go backwards put your car in (R)epublican.

LiberalDude 9 years, 5 months ago

Wrong zbarf.If you believe:In civil rights = Vote DemocratThat rich, White people should always be in power = Vote RepublicanAll people deserve quality education and health care = Vote DemocratOnly rich people deserve quality education and health care = Vote RepublicanPresident Bush was a horrible President = Vote DemocratPresident Bush was a great President = Vote RepublicanThat we should end the Iraq War = Vote DemocratThat we should continue the Iraq War indefinitely = Vote RepublicanThat women should have the right to choose what to do with their body = Vote DemocratThat the government should control what women do with their body = Vote RepublicanThat there should be a separation of government and religion = Vote DemocratThat certain Christian religious groups should be a part of the government = Vote RepublicanIn hope = Vote DemocratIn fear-mongering = Vote Republican

Paula Kissinger 9 years, 5 months ago

No problems at Church of Christ on N. Michigan. Just wondering if we need to put an ammendment on the next ballot that ALL citizens of Douglas County should be allowed to vote for county commissioners. As citizens and TAXPAYERS of the COUNTY I find it wrong to not be able to vote for the individuals who can increase our property taxes, etc. Do I just not get this ?Also, I am previewing my comment and although I did capitalize the letter I when referring to myself it will not accept it. I even have changed it twice now to no avail. Hey...JW guys...check this out !!!

zbarf 9 years, 5 months ago

LiberalDude Actually...Republicans don't believe in a single thing you listed for republicans. But on the other hand you admit that you are a socialist and that everyone deserves government provided health care. I believe that everything in life should be earned. My system of believes promotes people to work harder to gain more in life. This is better for society and has served us well until now.By the way...Should a mom be able to "Choose" to Kill her own 5 year old? No...So you are anti Choice. Choice has nothing to do with it! It is ONLY about whether it is a live human being or not...very simple.

mom_of_three 9 years, 5 months ago

zbarf - your philosophy that" I believe that everything in life should be earned. My system of believes promotes people to work harder to gain more in life. This is better for society and has served us well until now."No, it hasn't worked. That's why we have the working poor, who can work 2 or 3 jobs, but can't get ahead. And yes, everyone deserves health insurance, whether their job provides it or not. NO one in this country should have to suffer from an illness or lose their home because of a loved one's illness. if you think that is socialism, then so be it.

hawklet21 9 years, 5 months ago

Has anyone been to the Senior Center on Vermont yet??

zbarf 9 years, 5 months ago

If you believe:In Socialism (nationalized health care, distribution of wealth) = Vote DemocratIn Capitalism (private enterprise, individual responsibility) = Vote RepublicanThat the war on terror is a failure (Bring our troops home) = Vote DemocratThat we are winning the war on terror (No USA attacks in 7 years) = Vote RepublicanThat life begins at birth = Vote DemocratThat live begins at conception = Vote RepublicanIf you are a Liberal = Vote DemocratIf you are a Conservative = Vote RepublicanIf you are an Independent = Look at the above list and make your choice

motomom 9 years, 5 months ago


backyardwino 9 years, 5 months ago

I intentionally waited to vote today to be part of the American process on my birthday. I saw Reesing there and congratulated him on a job well done last weekend. Good for Mangino to urge his players to get out and vote.

Bubarubu 9 years, 5 months ago

Unrelated, since when does the LJW put autoplay multimedia on story pages? Clicking on a story and suddenly having Thad Allender's voice blasting out at me with no "stop" button is incredibly disruptive. Please don't do that anymore.

Bubarubu 9 years, 5 months ago

At 9 AM, walked into Free Methodist on 31st, walked out at 9:15 having voted with no lines.Separate question: why is my polling place outside of my precinct? I'm assuming it's because there's not a good place inside the bounds, but just wondering.

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 5 months ago

I voted, finally, last week. I am an expat so I vote absentee in California, my last US address and where I am still a tax resident. My absentee ballot never arrived and they offered to send me a second one to the embassy. I called the embassy and they said they do NOT deliver absentee ballots, but they receive them to mail back to the USA at no charge. I called my country registrars office back and they read me a memo from the state department saying they could send expats ballots to the embassy, but the embassy would not receive them. I had them send me that memo and I called the embassy with it and the embassy sent me a memo saying that they would not receive ballots but they would accept them for return. I called back the registrars office and they faxed me a ballot and a notice that I agreed to waive my right to a private ballot. I then voted and faxed back back my ballot and my waiver of privacy and signed a promise that if any of the original absentee ballots arrived I would destroy them and a copy of my passport. Now someone tonight, after the polls close, will transfer my vote to a formal ballot and it will be counted at that time, assuming no one challenges it. Sheesh..the same rules apply to me as apply to our armed forces serving abroad, I think reform is needed now for expat voting.

Cassie Klemme 9 years, 5 months ago

I voted around 4.45 pm at Holcomb got right in and right back out. Great experience voting for OBAMA:)

Bladerunner 9 years, 5 months ago

I waited about 20 minutes at The Mustard Seed church on Wakarusa. I was surprised it went by so quickly considering it looked like a bajillion cars in the parking lot. I was glad to cancel out an Obama vote. Not that Obama votes matter here in Kansas.

BigDog 9 years, 5 months ago

What is the difference between having a right to free and public education and having a right to free and public health care?----------------------------------------------------------Can you tell me when everything became a "right?" Free health care is not a right ..... people have access to health careBut there is a group that believes everyone should have the same health care services as those who pay large premiums for their coverage.How about the right to free college? .... free house? ..... all the while not having to be the ones who pay for it

MattressMan 9 years, 5 months ago

I voted on the way to work this morning at Wakarusa Township Fire Dept, not much of a wait or any problems.FWIW; Just spoke to the wife a few minutes ago and she tells me when she went they actually had ballots from 1997 (or somewhere around there) in the stack. She did get to vote though.

zbarf 9 years, 5 months ago

LiberalDude...."Don't twist my words".?You mean don't challange me! Sorry but you took my post and twisted it to fit your format. I have never met a Republican (Even my most conservative friends) that say that they don't support Civil Rights, Or a right for a woman to choose what to do with her own body. Why not just take my post and answer the questions. 1. Do you beleive in nationalized health care, distribution of wealth?2. Do you think we should pull our troops now?3. Do you beleive that life begins at birth?Answer the stinking questions!My answer in NO to all. And that is how I will vote.

blissfulwitch 9 years, 5 months ago

zbarf says the he/she believes that everything in life should be earned. I was wondering if you felt this way about our "socialist" free and public education. Should those fifth graders be earning the right to their education? Are their parents earning it for them? What is the difference between having a right to free and public education and having a right to free and public health care?

Laura Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

I voted at 7:35 and was the 150th person in my precinct and there were at least fifty more either voting or in line. Considering that in some elections I've voted after work and not been out of the double digits in the voter numbers, I'm highly impressed with the turn-out so far. Keep it going!

butrflkisz 9 years, 5 months ago

I voted at 8am at Haskell and I was in and out in 10 mins there was no line at all I was voter number 121. Last election I voted in Colorado so the bubbling in the circles was new to was like being back in high school. I think it might be about time to get electronic voting machines...Im just sayin LOL

Phil Minkin 9 years, 5 months ago

AjiDeGallina (Anonymous) says:I admire your tenacity. It should be a lesson to anyone who thinks a wait in line is too much trouble to vote.

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