It's always cool when I'm at a big assignment, watching history happen, I had an assignment like that last night. It wasn't flashy or very exciting watch but the event was being watched across the country. In the closest election across the country the last ballots for the hotly contested 11th Congressional District were being counted to see if Republican challenger David Harmer could unseat Congressman Jerry McNerney.
We have been having some fun time trying to shoot polling places the last few elections. We always get hassled and it is a fight just to shoot from a doorway in the general vicinity of the polls so I wasn't expecting much when I arrived at the Registrar of Voters Wednesday night. The thousands of absentee ballots were being loaded into machines to be read while in a locked room. Windows allowed campaign observers to watch their progress. I asked what the rules were and was quickly told I could go inside the ballot counting room.
I was surprised, considering they didn't like me near the voters I couldn't see them letting me near the votes but I was given pretty much free room to roam. the only rule was I had to check in and there had to be at least two people in the room at all times. I got a few shots of the boxes of ballots and the election workers feeding the machines stacks of the ballots. As long as I have been working this is the first time I can remember seeing the actual counting of election ballots.
With this election being so close and a great deal of media attention focused on the final vote results it seemed a pretty important assignment. I was expecting the final vote tally announcement to be dramatic but the registrar just walked out with a stack of reports and began handing them out to the various reporters and campaign observers gathered. Everyone then huddled around laptops and cell phones as they crunched the numbers to see who would take the vote lead.
Late that night Congressman McNerney claimed victory in the election as his vote count with absentee ballots kept him in the lead. It was a a neat experience to be there when a little piece of election history was going down. I'll have to wait a couple of years for the next election count, hopefully it won't be such a nail-biter next time around.