My precinct is in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We vote with another precinct in a middle school gym on machines exactly like the one pictured. No pix from me because my digital camera broke.
Our polls opened at 7am. There were about a hundred people in line. The Kerry supporters, in general, seem elated to be there and eager to set the events of four years ago right. The BushCo supporters are grimly resigned. Democracy sucks for them. BushCo has no idea in that empty head of his what damage he has done to the country. The Supreme Court that installed him should earn a special place of shame in the history books. But, with some luck and a massive failure to perform by crooked eVoting operatives across the country, we are going to take back our country today.
The only person who's given me a hard time has been a fellow MoveOn volunteer. He was shanghai'd by his wife to help and he was sharing his resentment of that fact with me for twenty minutes. Then he went to hang out with the GOP pamphlet guy. He also held forth loudly about how we won't have a result until January ... there are more lawyers at the polls than voters ... it's going to the Supreme Court again .... Just the kind of guy you want hanging around.
10:15 am It's ten o'clock and only 16 of our targeted voters have checked in with the guy we have watching the polls for MoveOn. That doesn't mean that more haven't voted; they may not have checked in with the MoveOn guy. It's not easy to identify yourself with a group that has been featured in local commercials as supportive of terrorism and child rape. Thanks, NRCC thugs! Let's hope that by 11pm EST, you know how ineffective that scummy tactic was.
So I'm off to knock on some doors. We have 177 targeted Kerry supporters in our precinct. We want to get every one of them to the polls.
My poor kids are helping me clean the house like little demons. In typical control-freak fashion, I've decided to compensate for my complete lack of control over the election and the lazy voters in my precinct by obsessing over something I can do. We'll have a nice clean house to celebrate the Kerry/Hoeffel/Schrader win tonight. Yes, I think Hoeffel will pull it out. You heard it here, and probably only here, first.
1:05 Just voted. Took me an hour. It usually takes 10 minutes. So that's good news. On the other hand, most of our targeted voters either aren't showing up or aren't signing in with the Move On volunteer. The precinct next to ours, which votes in the same building as we do, is a disaster. They have nobody at the polls and we have no idea what's happening with them, but nobody is guessing that it's anything good.
4:55 It's crunch time. We have two canvassers on the street, one on the phones, one at the polls. We just heard something about PA being neck and neck, which made me and Clair - my awesome volunteer who came in from New York City this morning to help, very nervous. I still don't know how the precinct next to us is doing but ours is kicking ass. 78 voters turned out for Kerry - about 100 to go.
8:20 Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmgod .... the polls are closed. I'm in some kind of adreneline crash or something. After the last number check at around 6pm, I actually punched my main poll watching volunteer in the stomach I was so excited. Our precinct rocked - 177 Kerry supporters IDed and we turned out 146 of them. We had volunteers calling, walking, biking all over to knock on doors. We had very brave poll watchers asking people if they remembered to sign in with MoveOn - we asked all our targeted voters to sign in with us at the polls so we could know they voted - remember these were infrequent voters. I'm glad I didn't have that job.
So here's what I've learned:
> I'm very excited about the possibility of MoveOn becoming a powerful force in the political process. The GOP insiders at the polls did not seem to like our exhuberance. It's a very closed club around the polls - Dems and GOP alike - and we were right there not asking permission to set up shop. I'm not sure how it would work with a couple of dozen groups like MoveOn though. Where would they put us all? Anyway, for today it was great to crash the party.
> I don't want to hear one more word about the poor, bleaguered swing state voter who's had to deal with all the phone calls and canvassers. As far as I know, nobody during WWII complained because gas was rationed. Nobody whined about scrap drives or having to collect bacon grease or whatever else they had to do to win the war. All these angry swing staters have to put up with is a few phone calls for about a month. We've moved so far from any sense of national sacrifice or community that we're actually allowing ourselves to be angry about someone wanting or valuing our opinion. Clair and I bent over backwards to thank profusely everyone we contacted today in the final push. If that's just too much of an inconvenience for them, then I don't care.
We need a leader who will make us believe in the greatness of community again. I hope we'll get him tonight.
That's it. I'm too tired and too wired to even think about anything else.
Here's photo of Clair, a wonderful woman and a very hard worker, who drove two hours from NYC to get out the PA-8th vote, and me with one of our brilliantly color-coded contact sheets. I'm going to be seeing those sheets in my dreams.