As the sun set on Election Day, Carson City mom Judy McCormick cradled 8-month-old Jennifer while stapling Bush/Cheney signs to her back fence.
Last-minute campaigning, last-minute cajoling.
Motorists traveling down Sonoma Street slowed and stopped in front of McCormick’s signs. One man yelled “Bush/Cheney!” out of his car window. She smiled and continued stapling.
The 35-year-old mother of three retaliated against sign vandals by covering the entire length of her back fence with about 200 signs – just in case passersby missed the message. McCormick said people have torn down her signs and harassed her, and it has to stop. Today, it will.
Many of the signs are handmade, left over from Vice President Cheney’s Monday visit to Sparks.
“I feel I have the right to express my opinion,” she said.
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The phone rings at the nearly empty Democratic headquarters on 214 W. Robinson St. at 4 p.m. Someone wants to know where the polling places are. Most of the party activists are at the State of Nevada Employees Association building on Roop Street, but Sandy Osheroff and Anne Crews stuff signs into a cardboard box as they prepare to move to a new office this week.
Crews talks about past elections. “They called the Carter/Reagan election when I was still in line to vote,” she remembers, not so fondly.
The pair, who ran the headquarters, said the office made close to 12,000 phone calls during the campaign. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from young people,” she says. “A lot of them were glad to get calls. They feel like they’ve been ignored for so long.”
“Luckily, we have a great election committee here in Carson,” said Osheroff. “(City Clerk-Recorder) Alan Glover does a really great job.”
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The lights behind a lone motorist on a downtown Carson City street flashed on and off, blinding the driver with brights and tailgating. Some emergency vehicle or just some nut trying to express his rage.
At the light, the man honks his horn. BEEP! BEEP! BEEEEEP! Quiet. The light won’t change. Suddenly, he screams out, “I’ve got to vote! I’ve got to vote!”
Guess you can’t tell a pickup by its tonneau cover.
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George W. Bush leaned against the door of the Plaza Hotel Conference Center. The cardboard version.
Inside, Carson City’s Republicans were festive and feasting on Costco cookies and home-baked banana bread. Drinks were poured in the corner of the room beside a large Bush/Cheney sign and the big-screen TV. Fox News broadcasts as the electoral and popular votes trickled in.
John Vettel, 68, had the front page of the Nevada Appeal in front of him. He checked off states that were going for Bush. Vettel voted early, and he volunteered with the campaign.
“I came here to relax, after spending all day calling people on the phone to get out to vote,” he said.
Carson City resident Karol Davis moved to Nevada a month ago from Spokane, Wash. Two days later, she registered to vote then volunteered with the Republicans. She’s phoned, canvassed, and cooked for the party.
“We voted on the 16th, and we were there 30 minutes and had no problems,” Davis said. “Everyone was well-behaved.”
Dayton resident Howard Hirsch had only one problem with the election.
“The only objection I had to the process is that the booths weren’t really screened off,” he said. “That kind of ticked me off.”
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The crowd in Bully’s Sports Bar & Grill is a little louder and younger. Election results blared from several televisions around the room. Democrats chatted over beers, cold cuts and chicken wings. Kerry/Edwards buttons reflected off the low lights.
Here, four old Carson High School friends waited out the results of the presidential and local elections.
“I did early voting,” said 24-year-old Andrew Kilpatrick. “It was a five-minute wait.”
Shawna Ross, a speech pathologist in Reno, waited in line for three hours at a Sparks polling place.
“I like the triple checking and the paper printout,” said Stephanie Hayes, a University of Nevada student.
Allison Pellegrino, a 27-year-old nursing assistant, is relaxing with a glass of chardonnay. She canvassed all day Tuesday for “Kerry, Bonnie and Reid” with her cousin Rena Meyers.
“If Bush gets into office, at least I know it will continue to wake people up and raise consciousness,” Meyers said. “I feel so many lives will be lost and innocent blood will be spilled.”
H. Dove, a Marine and a Vietnam veteran, voted early and voted Democratic.
“I wish he was doing better,” Dove said about Kerry. “But tomorrow will tell.”