The Trader Joe’s vote

I had to get my stand-in-line, kumbaya moment last night when I picked up some groceries at Trader Joe’s in the Back Bay. There were at least 40 people waiting for four cashiers in a single queue that snaked past the impulse-buy section (sweets, tortilla chips), wrapped around the toiletries island, and ended up in organic rice and pasta. It was a patient crowd, with some heads bobbing to the reggae music on the PA system. An Obama crowd if there ever was one.

(Question: Is political ideology correlated with one’s preference for checkout-line systems? That is, do liberals prefer the single-line, "we’re all in this together" system, and do conservatives like stores where everyone is responsible for choosing their own check-out line? If there’s a partisan connection to spanking and one’s propensity to flinch at loud noises, then why not supermarket loyalties?)

I voted at 9 a.m. this morning at Malden City Hall, with only two people ahead of me. But there were 16 voting booths to accommodate everyone — not the old-fashioned voting machines, but the little white-screened tables on which to fill in the circles on our modern ballot sheets. The booths looked like something you could construct with $20 worth of materials from Home Depot, so I don’t think Malden will have problems keeping up with turnout. Things moved so quickly, and with so little personal interaction, that we might as well have voted by mail.

Because there were so many races on the ballot (almost all of them with one candidate), the referendum questions were on the back. This meant that one side of your ballot was visible as you walked from the voting booth to the ballot scanner. Something else to worry about if you’re conspiracy-minded and suspect that there’s a button on the ballot scanner to invalidate individual votes.

There were only three sign holders outside the polling place: Two for unopposed state Rep. Christopher Fallon, and one woman in favor of Question 3, which would ban greyhound racing.

"The dogs, we have to speak for them," said the smiling woman after I asked for a "YES ON 3" flier. But do they speak for themselves in Weymouth?