Yesterday, Cheryl, Marilyn and I worked voter registration. We had signs, we had tee shirts. We were, for this time of year, inundated with potential voters, people needing to update information, people who needed absentee ballot applications, and most interestingly, people who wanted to check if they were registered, or had potentially been purged.
In the past month, the state of Pennsylvania has purged 758,000 voters from the rolls. If you think these are people who have died, or haven't voted, you'd only be partially right. They've also purged active voters.
We checked about 20 people last night, and found 3 of them had been purged, including one who had voted in the May, 2012, primary. If you live in Pennsylvania and want to check if you've been purged, you can click this link. Having a voter registration card does NOT mean that you are still registered. If you live in any other state, you can use this link to find your state's registration check website.
I check using the PA link on my phone, and it displays the person's name, party affiliation, active/inactive status and polling place, or that the state does not show them as registered. Some people initially appeared to not be registered, but were registered with the state at an old address, or with their middle name, or other minor discrepancies. In that case, it's necessary to check the person's ID to see if it matches. If not, it becomes necessary to either update the registration or the ID prior to the election.
Some interesting interactions from my time at registration:
The elderly woman who wanted to check her registration. She was a registered Republican looking forward to voting because "we pay too many taxes." She is currently redoing her will because her son has severe limitations and she wants to make sure that he has some protection after she passes away. I pointed out to her that the Ryan budget would take away his Social Security, since he's in his 40's and on SS Disability. She called me a liar, but I directed her to the actual budget.
The two men who (independent of one another) asked for registration forms and absentee forms for their daughters who were going off to college: one in South Carolina and one in Massachusetts. The guy with the SC daughter looked unsure, um-ed and ah-ed and finally asked who Marilyn and I were supporting for president. Marilyn immediately, and correctly, said that all voter drives were non-partisan and we would help anyone get registered no matter what our personal preferences. I asked him why he wanted to know. Turns out he is a rabid Democrat and wanted his daughter voting here and not in South Carolina. The other guy was a Republican and sadly told us that his daughter was an Obama supporter, but he knew that voting was important, and he wouldn't try to change her mind.
The people who walked by and yelled "THANKS FOR DOING THIS" and then agreed to sign up to help over the rest of the drive (through early October).
By the time you read this, I will be back at my post, in my self-designed tee shirt (I'm trying to find a way to allow others to purchase them, so I can donate any proceeds to the campaign) because:
Elections are won one voter at a time.
Get yours today!