Tuesday, May 6, 2008

at least i managed not to get sunburnt...that's something, right?

My alarm clock went off at 5:30 AM. I will probably never know what it is like to truly suffer for my political beliefs, but this has got to be close. I staggered my way to the shower and thought about how stupid those commercials where people sniff their soap and instantly become more alert are. Up next, I had to locate some clothes that, while comfortable, wouldn't make me look like a total disaster area to incoming voters. Having settled on a clothes and punched the address of my designated spot into the GPS, I was off to solicit votes for Jim Neal.

I arrived right at 6:30, the scheduled time for the polls to open. I slapped a sticker on, made sure Jim's signs were in high visibility areas, and looked for the best spot to hand out the propaganda I picked up at the Jim Neal for Senate offices yesterday(a flyer explaining why Jim is the best candidate for the job and the Independent's slate of endorsements*).

I was greeted by a Hampton Dellinger volunteer who I became fast friends with as we began handing materials to passing voters. It helped that, up front, we each assured the other our votes belonged to their candidates. Dellinger volunteers are all really good eggs. When working the early voting a while ago, I found my way to enjoying their company while we watched the fabled Durhamite Jackie Wagstaff in action, supporting a few candidates of her choice**

The Dellinger volunteer and I were eventually joined by volunteers for Senator Clinton, Ellen Reckhow, Becky Heron, Freda Black, and a few others. The convergence of all of these volunteers formed a gauntlet of last-second appeals for votes that the groggy masses who had decided to get their voting taken care of in the wee hours of the morning would have to survive.

The reactions from the voters to having flyers, cards, and bookmarks pointed at them as they were on their way in to cast a vote was about as mixed a bag as you could imagine. People politely nodding and taking the information actually seemed to be the most prominent response, followed by the polite refusal. In many of the polite refusals, was a refreshing honesty about whether or not our candidates already had the votes from these folks. Some would even go so far as to address the little crowd of volunteers, pointing and announcing "Yes, yes, no, no, sorry but no(usually addressed towards the Clinton volunteer), yes, and yes."

During the eight hours I was there, there was a little tent with Girl Scouts selling biscuits in the morning and hot dogs in the afternoon. They were also there when I arrived. Some of them were still there when I left. I don't know why they weren't in school, but they worked longer and harder than any of us handing out information at the polls did. At least we got some breaks during the day to catch naps and, you know, vote.

By the 7:30 closing time at the polls, we were told our location saw more than 1200 voters. Long day, much information distributed. Good times.

Then came the returns. Bad news. Andi and I went to Jim's "after party" for a little while, but it wasn't exactly a high energy occasion. The results(of this and a few other races) were really saddening, and mostly reminded me of what I told Lisa P when she revealed that she was registering as a Democarat:

As a registered Democrat, prepare to be baffled by your party's decisions while still voting for them because they're as good as it gets.

I'm only half-joking about forming the Awesome Party.

*I only differ with The Independent on one race. If anyone asked, I was pleased to tell them which one it was and why. You'd be surprised by how many people actually asked.

**I agree with her on virtually none of the primary choices, if memory serves, but she was really fun to watch.

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