Living the Wally Lifestyle
Get Out The Vote
October 27, 2004
I am going door-to-door in Seattle down in Federal Way the last few days encouraging people to vote.
I have in my hands a list of all the voters in a precinct who are newly registered, new voters or vote infrequently. I am knocking on all of their doors and dropping off a flyer to remind them where their polling place is on November 2. I am offering people rides if they need them.
After visiting thousands of houses, I came up with a few interesting observations. Let me tell you, there are a lot of very angry people in this area. They will be voting November 2nd. Almost all of them will be voting for Kerry.
I have found that lots of people who are listed as not voting regularly are going to the polls this year. I have a list that has every registered voter in the precinct. It lists if the person voted in the last election, the last Presidential election or never voted at all. As I talk to people I found that a lot of people who have not voted previously have taken the time to request an absentee ballot. The ones that have already voted absentee are happy to discuss issues, but I am out to get the people that don't vote.
Some of the most depressing scenes I have seen are large apartment complexes. Many of these in the area are run down, dirty with unhappy people inside. I have heard a few raging domestic disputes going on inside an apartment where I am supposed to knock on the door and encourage them to vote. I hate to knock because I really do not know what to do. Perhaps knocking will get them to settle down, perhaps it will help them focus their anger at me. I knock meekly, put a flyer on the door if they don't hear me and I move on to the next house.
What bugs me is that the people in these large apartment buildings are the same people that should be voting and many of them are not going to go to the polls. Many of them have moved and are not in the unit anymore. Many of them just seem too distant or hard to communicate with and these are the people I am supposed to reach out to and I am not so sure I am doing a good job in my roll of encouraging people to vote.
I'll never really know if someone I knocked on the door of will go out and vote. But in my mind, the fact that one person has taken time out of their life to come knock on their door, encouraging them to vote and not trying to sell them anything seems to me to be a nice gesture. Maybe those flyers will remind them to vote on November 2nd.
Another thing I have found is that every Republican I have run into that has a Bush/Cheney sign in their yard comes across as kind of creepy. The only guy to glare at me as he washes his truck when I walk by on the other side of the street had the W04 oval on his truck and a big Bush sign on the front lawn. The only people that wanted to know which campaign was paying me to knock on their door and how much money I was making had Bush/Cheney signs. Did it occur to any of them that I might be doing this for free? The truth is, I was working on a campaign to encourage people to go out and vote. I was not pushing a candidate, I was pushing people to exercise their constitutional rights.
I never saw a single Kerry sign in a yard with big NO TRESPASSING signs, but they went hand-in-hand with the Bush/Cheney signs. The people who are voting for Kerry and have signs in their yard and always want to talk to me. The Kerry people will discuss issues. Most of these people already voted through Absentee Ballots, so I am wasting my time talking to them. It's not the way I look at it, but since I am selling the idea of getting out and voting, I have nothing to sell them. I thank them for voting, I encourage them to encourage their neighbors to vote and I wish them well.
This project has been really hard work in many ways, but I feel better about doing it.
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