Welcome to Kender Garden
She does this every year on Election Day. Last year her polling place was at the high school. It's here this year. It is my polling place too.
My wife and I voted first. We were asked for our ID's. She immediately presented hers. I declined. This seemed to flummox the Keeper of the Voter Registration Book. I pointed out that I was not required by law to show my ID so I would not be showing it today.
"Do you have it with you?" he asked.
He kept holding out his hand as if he expected me to give it to him. I told him again I was not required by law to produce it so I wasn't going to.
Next to me, I felt my my wife staring at me and shaking her head. I ignored her.
I reached for the pen he was holding to sign my name but the Keeper of the Book hesitated.
"What's the hold up?" I asked.
Finally, he relented and allowed me to sign in but he seemed unhappy about it.
"You're the first person to refuse," he said.
I'm all for Voter ID, so I took that to be a good sign.
After I canceled out my wife's votes, I did a little exit polling. Kender came out with the kids, several of whom were allowed to go with her into the voting booth.
"I love taking them into the booth," Kender said in the lobby as the kids gathered round. She introduced me to her grandson, Richard Davison. He's 10. He said it was his first time at a polling place and declared it "pretty cool." He volunteered that he watched the presidential debates.
"Weren't you bored?" I asked.
"Not that much," he replied.
I asked him who he was rooting for.
"I'd say Romney." And when I asked him why he said it was because at the debate, "Obama was making faces at Romney when he was speaking." And because "He said, 'Now vote for revenge.'" He agreed with a guy on television who said, "Only losers have to have revenge. Winners don't need revenge."
When I asked him if he was sure it was the president who was making faces, not the Vice President Joe Biden in his debate, he said he was.
"I saw him. He was just like..." And then he did a pretty imitation of Obama scowling at Mitt Romney.
Avery Cavanagh, 8, volunteered that they held a mock election at her school (Wallingford Elementary) and Obama won. I asked her if she voted for him.
"No," she said, "I voted for Mitt Romney."
"Because I had a feeling that he'd be a good president."
When I asked Matthew Jones, 5, his presidential preference, it was 5-year-old Mallory Cavanagh who spoke up for him.
"He's voting for Mitt Romney."
I asked him if that was right. It wasn't.
"I'm for President Obama," he said, which caused the young Miss Cavanagh to roll her eyes and sigh, "Whatever."
Catherine Davison, 6, was a bit of a fence sitter. As her older brother explained, "She was going to be voting for Mitt Romney but then they handed out a paper at school that at the bottom was a picture of Obama and he had a dog, so..."
I pointed to my wife and told Richard, "That's why she's voting for Obama too."
Richard said he and his mother attempted to reason with Catherine.
"Me and my mom told her she was going to be voting for Mitt Romney, but then she started crying." So who knows. But then Catherine is under 35, female and single so demographically she's a natural Obama supporter.
Last, but not least was Megan Dostillio, 9, who lives in Wallingford and goes to NPE. In her school's mock election she said she went with Romney.
So based on early exit interviews and if can extrapolate parents likely voting patterns from their children and grandchildren, Romney's chances - at least in Wallingford - look pretty good.
As Kender went to sign-in, a couple of the kids took off running.