Riding solo on Election Day

by Megan Combs on November 10, 2011

Nov. 8 was Election Day here in Ohio, and the first time that I (Megan) have been without a newsroom on Election night. Since we wrote about our election experiences last year, and it was different for me this year, I’m here to share.

As you know, I work from home now, and the Patch editors in this area were all doing their own thing in their own cities. I don’t normally cover any one city, but since our Solon Patch editor was busy covering Issue 2/SB5 stuff, I stepped in to cover his issues and races. I didn’t have to go to any election parties like I have previously, so I set up camp on my couch. And let me just say this, working from home on Election night is a new and improved user experience that I would hate to give up.

First off, you can sit at your desk or on your couch in your pajamas, chowing down on pizza, or in my case, sloppy joes. You can have the TV or music on — in my case, Vampire Diaries —  you can pet your cat or your rabbit (or dog if you’re a normal person). And most important, you’re free to totally spaz without being judged when things don’t go your way. F-bomb, c-bomb and other letter-bomb lovers, rejoice!

So before the results started coming in, my editor and I served as moderators on a CoverItLive live chat about Issue 2. Now, this was new for me because I’ve never had to moderate a chat, I’ve always been the one reporting live on the other end. CoverItLive isn’t hard, just FYI, but keeping up with the number of comments we had coming in was. It was also a challenge to make sure everyone in the chat was behaving. They were rowdy! So my editor and I took shifts, and once results started coming in, I was outta there.

So. Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. For an hour I waited until absentee ballots were in. From there on I swear I hit the refresh button 1,342 times and, finally, it was TWO AND A HALF F-ING HOURS before I saw any more updates. Everyone in the Patches around me was getting updates. I was sitting there gchatting Twinsburg Patch editor Mitch Cooper, who also wasn’t getting any results. We were freaking out. Then we both thought the election websites went down and we freaked out some more.

The regular Solon editor already had all the stories prewritten for me, so really, all I had to do was wait for results and make the necessary calls. Some races were getting close, but not enough precincts were in to call it. So I waited until finally some time around midnight, they all came in at once. Of course.

The good news? Since Patch is only online and we don’t have to worry about a print component, the midnight deadline wasn’t the bane of my existence, just past my normal bedtime. I made the calls, I plugged in the numbers, and boom. I was done. No sweat. No yelling from editors (my editor went to bed before me. IMAGINE), and only my cat breathing down my neck to get done so we can go to bed.

I did miss having the comradery of a newsroom. I missed Kelly’s heavy sighs as she endlessly pushed the refresh button, and of course, I missed Election Day pizza. But I think I could deal with ordering the pizza myself as long as I get to keep my sanity.

However, my Election Day tweets got some attention from @JournalistsLike and partylikeajournalist.com. I’m famous! #nerdalert

My famous day-after-election tweet.

One bad thing about election night: I didn’t even drink my freedom beer that I had set aside especially for the occasion. Boo.

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