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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 20,885

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Two days on the front lines in Florida early voting.

I spent Saturday and Sunday "working" the voters for a candidate for school board, at the Tamarac Library in Broward County, Florida. And it was kind of a dream job (minus compensation) for a DUer. I had met her during the primaries. We got into a discussion, and I was impressed by her knowledge and dedication, and as a former teacher, I decided to volunteer to help her campaign.

Most frequently asked question: "Is she a Democrat?" Nobody asked if she was a Republican. I should explain that the position, like judges, is listed as nonpartisan. And I was officially not allowed to indicate any party affiliation. I got around this pretty easily, by pointing to the "cheat sheet" flyers that were given to every voter by operatives of the party, including one that asteriskally pointed out that she had received the Broward County Young Democrat of the Year Award. Previous Honorees include Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

There were a couple of Romney-Ryan signs that you passed at the parking lot entrance, but the only Republican candidate that enjoyed working support was the sheriff, up for re-election, and it was almost impossible to tell his party on the literature that was distributed. He may well be elected, because a lot of Dems support him in the county, and there is not a strong opponent. But he won't win from the crowd that showed up at the Tamarac Library this weekend. They almost all, and some blindly, wanted to know who the Democratic candidates were.

I had one man who stated he was a Republican, but I got his vote anyway, when I pointed out that no Republican was running against my incumbent, and her record showed that she was the most sane member of the school board. And there was another woman who said she couldn't vote for any supporter of reproductive rights because of "sanctity of life" positions of the bible. She supported the death penalty though, and cited all the stonings in that same bible, and no she didn't see any contradictions, and if I read the bible enough I would see that too. And I promised I would, as I disengaged from her. There is no arguing with whatever that was.

Otherwise, the crowd was wonderful. And I talked to thousands of people. They came in all ages, shapes, and colors, including a panoply of Caribbean accents and languages. There were Haitians, Dominicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Jamaicans, and of course natural born citizens, some of color, and a healthy contingent from the Jewish enclaves, that pushed the waiting time up to five hours on Saturday!

On Sunday, the crowd was not as large, peaking at about two and a half hour wait time, but pretty steady. In the afternoon, when it seemed there might be a lull, the church crowds showed up, I judged from their dress, and an hour or two later a surprising number (to me) of Muslims coming from the mosques. I'm guessing that most were Pakistani, but there was great variety there too. Some of the women were veiled, many more in hijabs, and still more in contemporary American dress.

Late in the afternoon, 'the boss' (my candidate, not Bruce) showed up distributing hugs to campaign workers and some voters, and worked the lines, pointing out that her home phone number is on her flyer, which she answers, probably a good reason she is going for her third term.

I have made calls and done some canvassing in the past. But spending most of a 12 hour day engaging a line of voters was a new experience. I was amazed that I wound up in Democratic heaven. I am going back, but there are nine days of early voting, and some of those workers, (not all of them are volunteers,) are in for all of it. I'm in for what amounts to a few of those days. My feet hurt, and my back is a bit stiff. But I had a good time.

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