So Election Day 2020 is in the books, folks. All together now, exhale. Thank goodness.
The results speak for themselves. Getting there, as they say, is half the battle. More like 75 or 80 percent this time.
Being a journalist in this Time of COVID hasn’t been easy, believe you me. And now with the greatest show on earth unfolding in front of us, we have to play with one hand tied behind our back ... or maybe both hands. Sorry, no Zoom meetings allowed.
With the Putnam County Courthouse closed Tuesday evening to all but just a few social-distancing essential workers, we couldn’t even enjoy the drama of adding up vote totals as each precinct came in. Absorbing the suspense as the numbers grew and the remaining options shrank. Knowing what our totals meant and looking for the faces in the crowd of those most affected by the mounting numbers.
Who’s ahead? Who’s behind? Who’s on first? I dunno. Third base.
OK, forgive the Abbott and Costello shtick. But heading for home, all that drama was sapped from local 2020 election coverage -- thanks, COVID -- as we essentially awaited Editor Jared Jernagan (the only Banner Graphic staff member allowed at the courthouse this year) to return to our office with final totals print-outs.
Those also serve who sit and wait, they say. Humbug, I say.
No big board with chalk numbers added throughout the evening. No Leslie Hanson to announce the totals.
Heck, I didn’t even vote today. Seemed so weird. And that’s the first time I’ve not voted on a presidential election day since my first foray into the adult world of politics when I voted for Richard Nixon for president and Otis Bowen for governor while living in Bloomington. I remember going behind the curtain to vote at some elementary school and finding a jumble of switches and levers that looked as though I was manning the cellblock at Alcatraz.
Truth be told, I really kind of missed the long lines at the fairgrounds or the Amory. By voting early, I missed listening to the chitchat about the candidates and talking baseball with poll worker Doug Wokoun at the Community Building.
Nope, I didn’t even dress up for election coverage Tuesday. No American flag-patterned tie, so I missed out on the requisite “I like your tie" compliments that always made me smile. No red-white-and-blue socks either, so longtime reader Jenni Artis -- who never fails to ask about my “cool socks” -- and others will be as disappointed as I am.
And since there is not another printed edition of the paper until Friday, the pressure was off Tuesday night as we were basically void of deadline tension. Oh sure, there was certainly some pressure to get candidate quotes and compose something and post it online as quickly as possible. That lack of stress helped to further turn this Election Day on its head.
But at least we have one constant in all of this.
No, not baseball, James Earl Jones. Election night newsroom pizza.
It’s a tradition we started years ago to assure everyone would return to the office as soon as possible and begin cranking out stories without running off to McDonald’s or Subway or wherever for a sandwich. We’d provide free pizza and keep everyone fat and happy and working toward deadline.
Get everybody working and tugging on the rope in the same direction, that’s key whether it’s pepperoni, cheese and sausage or a meat lover’s.
Yep, with all precincts reporting, we can now declare a clear winner: It’s pizza by a crust.
That’s just so 2020 ...