February 2nd, 2010

Coles Philips

Democrazy

Living in the Future, Primary Edition
Here in Illinois, it's election day — non-presidential statewide primary day, to be exact. Which means, unfortunately, turnout percentages in the high 20s to mid 30s, depending on whether you're voting in Chicago, its surrounding 'burbs or elsewhere in the state. I will hold off on my traditional "Dear Lord, Vote, or Don't Complain" rant; just consider it given, since y'all know what I have to say on that issue.

Instead, I'll focus on the fun I'm having here in the newsroom.

I don't have a specific race to cover, so I volunteered myself to check numbers for various races, ensuring accuracy (dear lord; I haven't balanced a check book in 15 years, and they want me to— oh, never mind) and timeliness.

Unfortunately, that means I have to follow the online returns for four separate Chicago area counties, and returns for Chicago as well. That translates to seven separate sites, and seven separate tabs on my screen, because each county has its own idiosyncratic way of reporting online.

On the other hand, dancing between sites and tabs is much, much easier on me, and on my car, than the storied days of reportorial yore, when — notebook in hand — I and a horde of other reporters would fan out to points across the map to try to wrest accurate figures from the lumpen fingers of partisan precinct workers.

I do so love living in the future.