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Wed Dec 14, 2011, 07:55 PM

"Who is it?" somebody yells through the door. A certain number people answer the knock this way.

I always shout back "I'm registering voters. Is everyone here registered?" The result varies, place by place

Sometimes there is no further answer. Sometimes there is an expression of disinterest. Sometimes we cycle several times inconclusively through "Who is it?" and "I'm registering voters." Sometimes the door flies open, and I register a voter. Often, there's first a peak through the blinds to check me out

Today, when I shout back what I'm doing, the curtain rustles for a moment, and then I hear clearly, through the door, one loud sentence from the conversation inside: "It's a white guy registering voters"

I've already stepped down off the porch, and the door opens. A young woman, perhaps in her mid-twenties, is behind the screen. She lowers her head, looking at me nearly through her eyebrows and grinning slightly. I have absolutely no clue what she's thinking

"We're all registered here," she says

So I bow ever so slightly and reply: "Thank you, ma'am!"

"You're welcome!" she answers

And I'm on my way again

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