Interesting day – floods blew out Mount Rainier National Park, all entrances closed, rivers flowing where roads and campgrounds used to be, park facilities flooded, contractors and rangers evacuated… the Puyallup River rose and overflowed its banks, and several communities in this area couldn’t get to the polls. Elections officials took the unprecedented step of allowing flooded communities to vote by e-mail ballot, since some were unreachable by road or mail across western Washington.
And then there was the flood of Democrats, sweeping into office. Not as high a tide as some may have hoped for or feared, but plenty high enough. I watched it late into the night until it was clear that control of the Senate would be undecided for many days to come. Why does it seem that it’s always like that lately? We’re so divided as a nation. It often seems like the best hope for the country is when our executive and legislative branches are split up between the parties, so that they have to work together. It was gratifying to find that Rumsfeld has been fired at last… maybe a sign of Bush recognizing he will have to work with others now to get anything done.
Locally, I was happy to find that my party defections went unpunished, as the Democratic candidate I abandoned for the Green Party won handily anyway, and the Republican candidate I voted for instead of the Dem is winning and yet the House turned over anyway. I am happy that he gets to keep his job and it didn’t change the national outcome. Our astute Washington voters turned down an Oregon-like measure to compensate property owners for the past 10 years worth of basic land-use regulations (phew) and are voting in greater use of renewable energy sources.
Most fun of all, we get to try instant runoff voting in our county – I hope this catches on. Washington voters HATE to have to pick a party when voting, which the parties have been trying to shove down our throats ever since our free-for-all primary system was ruled unconstitutional. This could be one way around that, and it would serve them right. Judging by how vociferously party officials fought this one tiny county measure, they’re worried about it. All the more reason to vote for it, say I.