Just two quick notes before I head off for celebrations, as our 2008 presidential election draws to a close.
First, I had no polling problems whatsoever. A handful of McCain supporters were able to circumvent the spirit of Pennsylvania’s election laws, though. They hung around the end of the line slathering people with McCain “OMG OBAMA IS TEH SEKRIT MUSLIN EVIL TERRIST!!111” flyers. Since Pennsylvania’s laws state that political workers (those supporting a candidate or party, not those present to assist in the voting process) must remain 300 feet from the voting booths and 10 feet from the entrance, it was perfectly legal — if not annoying — of them to do so. In fact, Pennsylvania’s laws regarding the election process are so vague that it would be entirely legal for the McCain camp to set up a booth with a big sign saying “Democratic Voting Station”. To say that our laws “frown upon” deceptive practices would be a gross overstatement. Maybe it’s time for reform.
And to those of you thinking “So what? I’m voting for McCain, what do *I* care?”: Imagine going to your polling place and seeing Democratic workers doing the same thing. It’s entirely inappropriate behavior regardless of party. It completely short-circuits the spirit of what can generously be called our voter protection laws.
Second, there’s been a lot of political talk absent on blogHarrisburg. This is a good thing, and it’s entirely by design. The topic comes up from time to time at the meetups, and we all seem to share the same views: blogHarrisburg is about Central PA, not national politics. There are approximately 28 billion sites out there covering all sides of the political spectrum; we don’t want to be one of them. Instead, we’d rather focus on local and, to a lesser extent, state politics.
There are a few exceptions, of course, such as when a presidential candidate comes to the region. Or when a local candidate’s office does something noteworthy. They key to inclusion, as with all the other content, is that it needs to uniquely affect us locals somehow. McCain’s appearance on SNL? Amusing, but not really what we’re after. McCain giving a speech to factory workers in Hershey? Relevant.
So we all take part in an unofficial moratorium on national-level politics. The beautiful thing about this unspoken rule is that we all do it voluntarily because of our shared opinion. Nobody on blogHarrisburg is really barred from writing about whatever they want, but we all agree that local news — and local politics — deserves as much coverage as it can get.
Plus, it’s nice to have a politics-free zone once in a while. We all know that national politics can turn otherwise well-spoken and intelligent people into ranting lunatics through Thanksgiving. So thanks to everyone who kept focused this year. There’s been a lot of tempting material, and I’ve had to suppress the urge to blog many times, but as we wind down to the final hours (days?), it was totally worthwhile.