It was on the chilly side this morning in the Dallas area. I know this because I had to stand outside in it -- in shirt sleeves -- for almost ten minutes, waiting in line to vote. I've voted at the same location for five Election Days now, and never before have I seen the line extend outside the building.
There were, as I learned eventually, extenuating circumstances. Some "technical difficulties" in accessing the voter database delayed the opening of the polling location for about 10-15 minutes. I arrived just as they had resolved that and started the process of unwinding the backup. It look me just over half an hour from when I entered the line to when I pressed "cast ballot" on the voting machine to complete my civic duty for the day.
But I noted that even as I left, the line was still almost to the door.
Where I live is, as I've noted in a few comments, not a particularly contentious voting district. The House representative is as safe as they get, even as I wonder just how many terms the man should rightly serve. The only race that was even remotely contended was the governor's race, and by all indications Rick Perry should hold off his challenger by a comfortable margin.
All in all there was little reason for this district, of all districts, to be slammed with turnout. Yet here I was, shivering a bit (not that I'm really complaining after the summer we had) and waiting in a line the likes of which I'd never seen even in Presidential election years. As I waited, I heard other people chatting in line and confirming my observation -- 2004 was close to this, but 2008, not remotely so.
It's a sample size of one polling location, and not even really a representative one for several reasons. But still. Out the door. In an off-year election.
I have no remaining doubt: Today is going to be a day for the history books.