It’s about 4:30 in the morning, and I am awake and excited (and already in need of coffee). Today I will be at the polls by 6:30 to prepare for our 7 a.m. opening. I will run the gauntlet of party regulars outside the doors, and I’ve already been told by the judge of elections that it will be my job to “help” them follow the law about staying the appropriate distance from the actual polling place – no one in the building, and don’t harass the voters. I wonder if there will be a line…I heard on the radio today that they’re expecting record primary turnout here in Pennsylvania, perhaps 40%, which would be double what we normally get. Not objectively great, but a large enough number that the effect of “the party” would be blunted. That may be interesting when the returns come in.
I love elections – I love participating, working for the county, working for a candidate and more than anything else, I love voting. I am bemused and kinda proud every time a neighbor walks by waving their voting receipt and telling someone nearby, as they point at me, “I only voted because I can’t go home if I don’t — I live near HER!”
The delegate slate is comprised of people I know: party regulars I’ve known for years, as well as two people brand new to the political process. I am hopeful for all of them, since we’re proportional.
As I was driving home from work last night I was thinking about the convention. Normally, the networks only show about an hour each night, which doesn’t BEGIN to tell the story of what goes on all day and evening at the events. This year may well be different: the networks live by selling advertising, those placing ads pay more for more pairs of eyes and a ton of eyes may well be on the conventions.
In 2012 I was in Charlotte. It was phenomenal. While most people get excited seeing actors, actresses and sports stars, as you know, until someone runs for office I have no idea who he/she is. But in Charlotte, I was in my element – politicians! Pundits! Party people! (Not that kind of party.) But my favourite moment, even after meeting Congressmen and Senators I’d only admired from afar was this: It was the last night of the convention. It was about 5 pm. I was in the media section up and to the left of the stage. There had been speakers, and now there was going to be music. My all time favourite political video of all time suddenly appears on the screens as they start changing the stage. Here’s the video:
The dais drops below the stage and the musicians start to come out. As they’re setting up, out comes James Taylor. He’s carrying a white folding chair. He places it on the stage, looks out at the audience and says “Don’t worry, I’m going to sit on it.” As everything else is whirling around him, he strums his guitar and plays “Carolina in my Mind”. The crowd roared, all fired up.
And that’s me on Primary Day — fired up, ready to go. We live in the only country with free scheduled elections and the bloodless transfer of power. No one else has ever accomplished that. Primaries and caucuses are part of that process. I could go on about how undemocratic caucuses are, and how we need to increase voter registration ease (GO!! OREGON!!), and convince more people to vote and be involved on a regular basis, but not today. Today is VOTING! And I’ll be there from the opening bell until the last vote is counted. In my element.
If you live in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island or Maryland – go vote today. Bring a friend or two. Bring your kids (the ever wonderful junior voters…it’s how we build adult voters!) Plan to vote in November even if your candidate doesn’t get the nomination. Because voting matters.
Enjoy the day — I know I will.