There was a line all the way down the block from the front doors. "Oh shit," i thought. "i don't want to wait in that!" (i had to be at work in an hour and it looked like it would take longer than that!) But i soon found out the line was for people who had issues with their ballots and needed them solved -- changes of address, etc. Even though you must _register_ by 21 days before the sElection, you can make changes right up to the day itself. That's what those folks were doing.
On the other side of Morrison, folks with "Carry Oregon" (a pro-Kerry group) were holding signs saying, "HONK IF YOU VOTED!" and also were staffing a tent with coffee and cookies. They were there to answer questions, help people out, and observe. Three of them had name tags identifying themselves as legal observers, and at least one was also a lawyer. They reported that there had been no issues at all today here at this office, which is in great contrast to the shenanigans happening all over the rest of the country. (Again, i was grateful for mail-in voting, as this gives enemies of democracy a much bigger challenge when it comes to creating fraud.)
After chit-chatting with these folks for awhile about the events around the country, i got back on my bike and got in a line of cars who were pulling up on 10th to deliver their ballots to County workers. A driver would pull up, their window would go down, they'd hand their ballot over, and the employee would put it in a big box under a tent. The employee was impressed that i'd come out in my raingear and carried my ballots safely in a plastic bag. i felt totally comfortable handing them over to her, and seeing that they were going right there into that box.
i have no illusions about the limitations of voting as a political tactic, but i see no harm and possibly some good coming out of it. Though i am not at all a Kerry supporter, i was happy to see the Carry Oregon folks out there, trying to lend a hand. All in all, it was a satisfying experience. Now it's time to get back to the day-to-day work of making change in the world, work that doesn't start or stop with any one sElection.