At four p.m., I moved to a second precint across town, back near my motel. I stopped in the parking lot for a 10 minute nap, which landed on me like a pile of cheap tan motel blankets. The next half an hour was a set of snippets. I met Justin - the other attorney volunteer at this new location. He told me about their six-hour lines that morning as we passed out Doritos and water down the line. The line still stretched the long length of cinder block hall in the center of this elementary school. VA had closed down the schools for the day and the beat up chairs from classrooms lined both sides so people could take a load off.
To this point, I hadn't said much. When I am that tired, I have been known to just spurt out gibberish as I try to talk. I had the presence of mind not to try.
I met Bob Ralls, the precinct captain. He explained that the crew of canvassers, some of which stood in our circle as the sun finished setting on the cul-de-sac, had turned about nearly 100 percent of his 3,000 voters. Many had come at five a.m., waited for two or three hours, and left when they had to make it to work. At around five p.m., they started trickling back in.
There wasn't even a Republican presence at this second location. They knew the make up of the neighborhood, so I assume they didn't bother.
We answered a few voter ID questions, some absentee questions, and had one gentleman fill out a provisional ballot. And we waited for the after work rush. It never came. I left around six to book it back to DC, my friends, and my bed. There were now more volunteers than voters; we just guessed that everyone was afraid that their vote would not be counted - so they had voted early, either before November 4, or that morning. Nobody wanted to risk a late-night chance at the franchise.
The Virginians all headed to the Granby in Norfolk to watch returns. I can only imagine their jubilation at the announcement four hours later, and the acceptance speech that soon followed.