I'll never forget the first time I voted. It was in the 1980 primary. My dad accompanied me into the booth. The candidate I really liked had dropped out of the race. I voted for him anyway. Principle. I thought my father was going to clobber me.
This has been a most unusual election year. Pennsylvania, as always, votes late. As you know, the presidential contests are not decided. There's also a hot race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination and state attorney general.
Gov. Ed Rendell wanted to move up election day. Could you imagine the influence a big state like Pennsylvania would have if we voted in February? The plan died, and that's a good thing. It really wasn't fair to rural Pennsylvanians. I've long felt the solution is to stop the Iowa and New Hampshire lunacy and have a series of regional primaries in the spring, not the dead of winter.
My plans for today? Of course, cover the vote. Vote. Sleep. Get up in the evening and watch the numbers come in. I'm envious of colleague Scott Schaffer. He gets two hours to talk "vote" on WNEP2, and there are some great races going on.
I have my own ideas as to what will happen. Watch this space tomorrow. I'll tell you if I was right.
I'm an independent, so I can't vote for candidates in the primary, but I can vote on ballot questions. There is one: amending the state constitution to eliminate Philadelphia traffic court.
I spent my Monday covering the events leading up to the Trump rally at the arena in Wilkes-Barre Township. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. In addition to seeing some old friends in the business, there was simply a lot of interesting things going on. A photo of the inside of the arena set a personal "re-Tweet" record. Thank you.
Look for blog and Twitter updates throughout the day. Twitter: @andypalumbo_
See you on tv.
>>>1:10 PM UPDATE:
Just before 1 PM, I became the first independent to vote in my district. Take that, Anderson Cooper. It wasn't easy. Poll workers couldn't find the "non partisan" ballots. They kept confusing them with provisional ballots, and I nearly flipped out. A free, impartial and professionally run election is vital to a functioning democracy. I go crazy when procedures aren't followed. Even worse, when procedures are unknown. I can almost overlook candidates and their surrogates blocking the entry door and getting too close for comfort. Elections cost a lot of money. They're important. We deserve better.
Nap time. I'll be up tonight to watch the numbers roll in. Vote. Please.
>>>11:10 AM UPDATE: Editing went smoothly. Time to get back out on the road to see what else is going on, and wrap it all up on Newswatch 16 @ Noon. After that, voting, lunch, a nap, then up to watch election returns. By the way, we're hearing reports of heavy turnout in the Back Mountain of Luzerne County. Also heavy in the Dunmore/Mid Valley area thanks to a hotly contested state representative race.
>>>10:20 AM UPDATE: A strange morning. Places I expected to find light turnout were heavy, and vice versa. Some feel rain had an impact, keeping people at home. I did some interviews, wandered about, asked questions, etc. It was then back to the office to bang out a script and hand it off to a video editor. We'll head back out for a live report at noon.
>>>7:15 AM UPDATE: An initial flurrie at West Scranton Intermediate School on Fellows Avenue, and now a lull. There is no one here passing out cards, and that's a bit surprising, considering the hotly contested senate and attorney general campaigns. This is Hillary Country. Have the Sanders people thrown in the towel? Now, it's on to see what's happening in other parts of the county.
>>>4:15 AM UPDATE: We picked West Scranton Intermediate School for our live shot location. There is plenty of parking for our van. The big plus is an overhang outside the front doors. It'll keep us dry if and when it rains. Viewed the preview pieces before we headed out. Good stuff, even if I do say so myself. I love election day.
>>>3:15 AM UPDATE: The tradition continues. I had my usual Election morning breakfast of a spicy chicken sandwich and fries. There is only one 24 hour restaurant that sells it, and I considered hitting another chain. Service and attitude at this particular restaurant are horrible. I decided to give it one more try. There was a new worker behind the counter. She was great. Unfortunately, they got my order wrong. The sandwich was pleasantly exchanged. I still might go elsewhere in the fall.
Once I got to the office, plans were discussed. Scripts were tweaked. Holy Cow! So much material from which to choose. Pennsylvania really matters this time around, and that's great.