Storm Chaser Greg here, and a big “HELLO” goes out to my many fans and fellow Cycle365ers. As you can see, I’m not very happy today. That’s because I’m not out doing live reports on blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other horrific weather events. Nosiree. Only three weeks after MY Town got the second heaviest October snowstorm in history, and only one week after MY Town suffered a record low temperature for one of the days, summer has inexplicably returned to MY Town. In fact, we’re expecting a near-record HIGH temperature of 70-degrees today. Bright sunshine too. What the heck’s up with that?
Now, some people might consider a day like this to be nearly perfect — a godsend. Well, they wouldn’t think that if they were one of the top storm chasers and weather reporters in the country, and then suddenly there is no inclement weather to report, and as a result they were relegated to second-class election coverage. That’s where I’m at today. Management gave me an ultimatum: “Ride your bike to, and submit reports on the Hastings polling places . . . or get fired!“
I saw a mere 22 cars in the parking lot of the Methodist Church. Just a few minutes earlier, I was watching the Channel 5 news and they were showing various polling places around the Twin Cities where there were lines of up to 100 people waiting for the doors to open. And they were predicting longer lines to come.
I voted last week to avoid long lines, so I was a little disappointed that there were no long lines here. I KNOW the citizens of MY Town vote. Maybe they just aren’t early risers. Or maybe a high percentage of them voted early. I don’t know.
Or maybe we have a high ratio of polling places to population. As a responsible journalist, I forced myself to look up the total number of polling places (8) and the total number of citizens (22,713). According to my cheap calculator, that amounts to one polling place for every 2,839.125 people. I did not take the extra step of finding out how that compares to other Minnesota cities.
Look, I’m a storm chaser, not a political wonk, so I went back home to take my dog for a walk before heading out again.
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church had 48 cars in its lot, which was the highest total I saw. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church had 34 cars. St. Phillips Lutheran Church had 31 cars. Hastings City Hall had lots of cars, but there is no way to tell how many of them were voters and how many of them were city employees.
I have to admit, I didn’t go to all eight voting stations. I simply used accepted statistical standards and was able to extrapolate the number of cars at any given time at any given polling place to be around 30-35. I also observed numerous people walking to the polling places. Everybody wore masks. Refusal to do so in Minnesota would result in a $100 fine. (Anybody care to guess what presidential candidate would get the vote of those folks who refused?)
Okay, I had to laugh when I came across that one. I aimed away from the real voting place to make it look like that “Garceau” was a one-man voting station. LAUGHOUTLOUD!
No weather reporting. No storm chasing. Just election stuff and riding around in this sunshine while wearing shorts once again. And there was one more indignity inflicted upon me. My next door neighbor asked if I would let her dogs out while she was serving all day as a volunteer election official.