Now I'm Poll Watching
York County, South Carolina - It's been a while since I photographed poll dancers. But now I get my kicks from pole watching. From a conservative point of view. My how times have changed. Sort of.
This here is the red part of a red state. And in the often vicious world of politics, we punch well above our weight on the national level. But one of the first things a visitor might be surprised by is how moderate our conservatives are.
Oh, we are steadfast pro-American, pro-equal rights, pro-constitution, pro-family, and all that. But you won't hear many fiery speeches, foul language, or calling Americans with other points of view "the enemy."
More and more people are leaving unpleasant parts of the country and moving here. They are voting with their feet. Or U-Hauls.
Perhaps the most famous race in the country was for South Carolina Senate between incumbent Lindsey Graham and challenger Jamie Harrison.
Lindsey Graham heads the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington DC. He is the main one helping President Trump bring in over 200 conservative judges and add three judges to the Supreme Court.
Still, Lindsey is not considered conservative enough for some South Carolina voters. And the Democrats thought they could create a wedge between him and the voters.
So a lot is at stake on where how the courts will respond for the next few decades or longer. Democrats, almost all from out of state poured a record $100 million-plus to defeat Graham.
Team Graham early on seemed in panic by the huge advertising campaign against him. The Democrats even promoted a Republican candidate who dropped out of the race! But in the end, they failed to stop voters from overwhelmingly reelect Lindsey Graham.
"The Democrats just got the worst ROI (return on investment) in the history of political advertising," Graham joked to a group of supporters the day before the election.
TIT FOR TAT
There were a few minor incidents of personal vindictiveness. But none reached the level found in other parts of the country where Democrats have hounded Republicans out of restaurants or unprovoked shouted at them.
A few neighbors got into sign wars. One put up one so the other put up one for the opposing candidate. Or someone stole a lawn sign and that invited equal retaliation.
Most incidents were between the pro-and-anti-Trump supporters. It got to the point that by election day, there were very few Trump or Biden signs left standing.
However, in my area of coverage I and my counterpart, Michael Shonfield got along just fine and nobody messed with nothing.
Meanwhile, those voting in the election, while official results won't be in until December 12, virtually all South Carolina polling stations functioned without incident.
PRECINCT POLL WATCHING
I was the Republican poll watcher for four precincts. There was a Democratic Party poll watcher at every precinct. No one was barred, unlike in Philadelphia where Democrats barred all Republican poll watchers from supervising the precincts despite a court order.
All precincts locked their doors at 7:00 pm. Those already in the building were allowed to vote. By 7:30 pm, all precincts printed out the day's voting results and they were posted on the outside of the door for the public to see as required by law.
After the elections on Tuesday, there was a public hearing at the York County Office where anyone who felt they were unfairly prevented from voting could appeal. Of the approximately 150,000 voters, there were 10-20 individuals at the hearing to make their claim.
In short, there were no problems anywhere in South Carolina, no accusations of fraud, no one was barred from their legal rights. Voting was transparent, cordial, and efficient.
So what's the problem with Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and North Carolina? It implies that somebody does not want to have a fair and natural outcome be just that.
This area has been a solidly conservative Republican since 2003. Before that, it was a solid conservative Democrat. Not yet official results indicate a near sweep for Republicans, averaging close to a 70-30% difference.
Ironically, aside from several unopposed one candidate races, the most lopsided victory in my area went to Republican Senator Harvey Peeler, a dairy farmer by trade. He averaged well over 80% of the vote - without laying out with a single lawn sign. //end//