I’ve been an election judge on the Northern Illinois University campus for two years now. If memory serves our precinct got 62 votes in the 2006 General, “winning” the “contest” over the other three precincts stationed at the Recreation Center. From then it was all downhill, the lowlight having only 4 or 5 ballots rattling around the ballot transfer box by the end of the IL-14 special Congressional last spring.

Then yesterday we helped 334 young voters cast their ballots, and the precinct next to us tallied close to 600.

Most were first-timers who had registered within the past two months so we did not have the usual delays associated with their having moved once or twice since registration. In fact it was phenomenally glitch-free considering the numbers involved. The noon hour brought lines, during which time we informed students that waiting for a booth was an option according to their preferences for privacy. Some then took seats along the corridor wall across from the precinct tables, and I noticed these “open-air voters” were much more likely to come back to us with questions; e.g., did they have to vote for on judges they knew nothing about.

We also had more than the usual numbers of pollwatchers. A few were great–particularly some of the veteran watchers who arrived bearing enormous quantitities of food-based gifts–but some were real trouble. I would like for anyone considering this role to LEARN AND FOLLOW THE RULES. When it comes to election integrity, RULES IS ALL WE’VE GOT.

But I digress. This is about the kids–who behaved wonderfully, BTW. The sleeping tiger of national politics has awakened and I am happy to have witnessed a part of it.

Were the students happy with the election results? See for yourself:

Part 2 is here.

Another view.