This weekend was an exciting blitz of volunteer and paid (?!) get out the vote work. For those who don't know, New Jersey is a battleground state this cycle. Bob Menendez (D) faces a stiff challenge for his Senate seat by our old governor's kid, and Linda Stender (also D) stands a chance of winning a seat in the House for the blue team. I decided to throw my weekend behind Team Stender.
The Stender campaign office is a blast. Dazed campaign workers stumble around muttering about field maps and reaching out the top window for the secret stash of beers on the roof. This is different from a Republican campaign office in two ways:
1) beer (duh)
2) field maps
The Jersey Dems have the ground all to themselves as, for some reason, the Republicans can't gather enough people who are willing to knock on doors for five hours for fifty bucks. Fortunately for the environment, women, and the people of Iraq, Democrats can always use fifty bucks and are frequently unemployed. That is why I was not surprised when a van full of "urban high school students for Menendez" pulled up to where "NJEF canvassers for Stender" were already working. Their driver, an older woman, smiled when she saw my Stender sticker. One of the kids did not.
Student: Are you a Republican?
KPd.: Dude, Republicans don't knock on doors.
Van driver (to kids): That's the *other* campaign! Don't you know anything?! Linda Stender is running for CONGRESS. We are talking about politics the whole drive home....
I ran from house to house having interesting conversations and making sure people remembered to vote.
KPd.: Pound for democracy! :::knocks fists with stranger:::
If you are wondering how this election is going to swing, I will leave you with this story:
KPd.: ::knock knock:::
Old guy: Don't you know we have a 'no knock' law in this town?
KPd.: Luckily for democracy, that does not apply to non-profits and political speech. I'm a volunteer with Stender for Congress!
Old guy: I'm a lifelong Republican.
KPd.: That's okay. We like Republicans. :::hopeful smie:::
Old guy: (pause) Well... to be honest, I probably am voting for Stender. I don't like the direction this country is going. Never thought I would vote for a Democrat...
And now... the ELECTRONIC Guide to Voting Early, Voting Often!
Essex County is going digital! That's right, no more hiding behind curtains that look like 60s kitchen wallpaper. Time for touch screen action! If the lines that form behind little old ladies trying to swipe their debit cards at CVS are any indication, this should proceed smoothly.
Concerned that your vote won't count? Here's what to do!
1) Come into the polls and talk loudly about how much you love Republicans. Hover your finger over the Republican choice but then quickly touch for Democrat. No one will know to edit your vote! =D
2) Pretend you don't understand computers. Demand a paper ballot instead.
3) Vote absentee! =D
4) Use your toes to touch the screen instead of your fingers. No, it won't make a difference, but you will look really cool.
5) Hack your way in with a BlackBerry. Vote a few hundred times!
6) Be the company that makes the machines. That's what the Republicans did! =D
Alright everyone, get out there and vote! Just like my automated message from Bill Clinton said to! And remember, Barack Obama is NOT on the ballot. You'll have to choose from who's available. Sorry.