The only other elections I’ve “covered” was the 2008 National Election. At that point, I was still a student editor at my college newspaper, so I had assigned election stories to reporters. I was in the newsroom, getting numbers off the county clerk’s website and reporting it to the individual laying out the news pages.
This midterm election was the first I actually covered – out there, “in the trenches,” writing pre-writes the night prior, catching up with candidates days before and preparing for a long night.
Boy was I wrong about that long-night thing.
When I arrived at the courthouse, at about 7:45 p.m. – 15 minutes after polls closed, the clerk, who was up for reelection, and her team had already counted many of the votes. When I walked in, candidates and the public were already gathered around the television the office provided to post the results.
Copies for the press of individual precinct results were backed up, and at 8:53 p.m., the last precinct’s ballots arrived. By about 9 p.m., cumulative results were announced and handed out to the press.
The other two reporters from my sister paper and I returned to the office and pounded out the story.
But then this was where I thought a wrench would be thrown in things. I was to cover an election in the next county over. I was certain their results were lagging behind my county’s.
When we signed onto their clerk’s site upon arriving at the office to type up stories, they the cumulative results were – in plain black and white. Lucky for me, the winner I was assigned to speak to picked up his phone on the first attempt of calling.
By 11 p.m. I was in my car and driving home. Of course, I had to update my paper’s Facebook and Twitter feeds with results because of the lack of wireless at the courthouse, so I ended up being up later than midnight, but no biggie.
Was it a good or bad thing my first time covering elections went so smoothly?