Saturday, November 01, 2008

On the campaign trail: Colorado early voting

Early voting here concluded yesterday. According to my lead organizer here in an exurb of Denver, half of Coloradans who are going to vote have already done so.

In our tiny corner of this huge project, the lines were long all day. At times the wait to get inside was an hour and a half.

Lots of people brought their kids. I imagine those young people are learning that voting, however boring the standing in line seems, is just something you do, like partying on Halloween or going to the snow in the mountains in winter. That's good.

As the day got pretty hot, "comfort teams" from the Obama campaign brought water and granola bars to the waiting throngs. We didn't wear our buttons or other Obama markers, but waiting voters knew who we were. McCain has nothing remotely comparable here -- in fact, aside from some lawn signs, nothing that I've seen at all.

The arrival of the "Obama-mobile" raised the hackles of some country bigwigs who pushed the election authorities to keep us away. The bus was parked well outside the 100 foot line within which campaigning was illegal, but it was large. It was obvious who had the energy. (The bus was on a tour of polling places, full of students from downtown Denver.) So, for a little while, we were ordered not to offer our water inside the 100 foot limit, despite a county clerk's letter that this was permitted.

But eventually the bus left, calm returned, and we resumed handing out water. As the day went on a steady stream of voters arrived at the office, having learned that we were set up just blocks from the polling place. They took their lawn signs for the last few days -- and some volunteered to help get out the remaining vote on weekend canvasses.

This is a disciplined, steady, cheerful effort here. Folks remain anxious, slightly unbelieving that Senator Obama can win, but determined and ready to do whatever they can to complete a campaign they still find a little unimaginable.


Kay Dennison said...

Good stuff!!!! I applaud you!

I got a call asking me to help make calls if I could. I said I would try as I've a pretty busy schedule this weekend. I think I can workin an hour of two tomorrow.

Darlene said...

Go, Obama, in Denver. That was masterful; handing out water to parched voters. I wonder if a few wavering minds might have been changed while waiting in line.

sfmike said...

Early voting in person at a central location is a new phenomenon and I love it. It's communal, convenient, time-consuming and amusing all at once. The crowds in the basement at San Francisco City Hall this week are starting to get like that first Valentine's Day weekend of people waiting for gay marriage licenses.

In other words, it's turned into a happening, and I couldn't be happier about it. The people in the long lines are everything from patrician old whites to ghetto black teenagers and everyone looks very serious and determined about having their vote counted. I've never seen anything quite like it.

In all the predictive maps I've been looking at today, by the way, Colorado is solidly blue, not even "battleground" blue this go-around. So you should have a good time, but wish you were here.

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