To the world, you may be one disruptive phonebanker.
But to a 101-year-old woman, you may be her ride to the polls.
Yesterday was the primary for the special Senate election here in MA, and I knew I wanted to volunteer for a bit before trivia. After getting some mixed directions from the campaign HQ, I was ready to give up and just consider my vote to be my contribution for the day. But as I was getting ready to leave work, my coworker convinced me to actually go to Central Square, find the office, and see if the people there could give me some calls to make.
“Fine,” I said, thinking that I would just hit the local thrift shop if I couldn’t find the field office.
Instead, I not only found the field office.
I was able to make 30 minutes of phone calls, contacting 20+ people (thanks to a dialing system that just plugs you into numbers, no dialing needed on my end!).
I was able to help someone get a ride to the polls in the last half hour of voting.
And that voter? She was 101-years-old.
And she got mentioned on the front page of the Boston Globe thanks to this Twitter post. (ProgressivePabs is the cool campaign worker who helped me coordinate the ride!)
I was a dedicated campaign volunteer before, but now I’m more determined than ever not to miss an election day. Just imagine how many elderly voters might be sitting around, eager to vote but without a ride to the polls. Just think of how many people you can reach in those final 30 minutes. And just know – if you can’t find the field office, there’s probably at least a coffee shop or a thrift store to make your trek worthwhile.
Oh, and that race? We totally kicked butt. Now on to the general!
Last night, I got to hold my best friend’s hand as we watched the election results come in and victories unfold around us.
For students and sick kids.
For working mothers who deserve equal pay.
For people who believe in a better future for this country.
For a renewed vision for tomorrow.
When my great grandmother came to this country in the early days of the last century, she never would have imagined the scene I saw last night. In my home state of New Hampshire, women now make up the entire Congressional delegation, and we’ve elected an amazing woman to serve as our second female governor AND made history with the first female Senator from MA. She, who fought for an end to segregation and was there when Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream, would have wept to see the spread of justice in the form of victories for marriage equality. She would have been stunned into silence at the idea of a black man not just winning the presidency, but doing it twice. And she, who trained her son who trained his daughter who trained her daughter – me – to stand up for what you believe in would have been right beside me all weekend as I phone banked, canvassed, and waited in the cold for two hours to cast my ballot for amazing candidates.
From the state rep races in Michigan (congrats Dian!) to marriage equality in Maine to NH swinging blue to record-high turnout and people waiting in lines for hours just to do their civic duty, it was a night to remember.
I am so proud of our victories last night – and I’m so excited to see what amazing things we’re going to do in the years ahead.
Alternate title: Picking your battles
I know who I’m voting for next Tuesday. I’ve known for a long time – even before the state primaries. I am passionate about politics because I’ve seen how it can have an impact – positive and negative – on my life.
There’s nothing wrong with being an undecided voter. There IS something wrong with not voting. Whoever wins on Tuesday will get to shape your town/ state/ country’s future, and it’s up to you to weigh in – even if you end up having to write in a name.
But if you’re still struggling because it’s hard to get beyond the talking points and tell who really believes in the same things as you, I feel you. However, there are sites out there that will show you how people in office have voted, how candidates have filled out surveys, and what you can expect from people if they win on November 6. Think about what issues are important in your life, and then find the candidate that matches your priorities – chances are, one is better than the other.
- If you care about a woman’s right to choose, check out the NARAL Pro-Choice America Voter Guide. No matter where you fall on the issue, the facts about records and statements are here.
- If you care about food politics, look at this Food Policy Action voter guide. You can see a lifetime score for current officials to help you understand how they vote on issues like ending domestic and global hunger, fighting for humane treatment of farm animals, etc.
- If you care about the environment, check out the League of Conservation Voters Environmental Scorecard - one of the best scorecards out there with tons of information about who is standing up for our air, water, and earth… and who is not.
- If you care about civil liberties, head over to the ACLU to check out their scorecard regarding key votes.
- If you care about labor issues, see who AFSCME has endorsed for their stance of this topic.
- If you care about health and financial security, look at AARP’s collection of candidates’ stances in their own words.
What other scorecards to you use to determine who gets your vote?
Still don’t like what you see? Then I hope to see your name on the ballot next time!
PS: Not sure where you actually cast your ballot? Find your polling place here >>
No, really – are you? Have you moved/ changed names/ decided to stop voting in your hometown by absentee ballot but haven’t done anything to move this forward yet?
Better safe than locked out of a crucial national election because you fall into this overlap (courtesy of Change.org):
Join voters across the country today for the first ever National Voter Registration Day to make sure that by the time the day is over, you are on your way to be registered to vote – including knowing where you actually need to go to cast your ballot.
And while you’re at it, maybe bug your friends and family too – the number of people who think they’re all set but who actually need to take a few more steps to vote is staggering, and could lead to heartbreaking results when the polls close on November 6. Just send them a nice note today saying “Hey there! I know you care about this election – time to make sure you can vote before registration deadlines close!”
The world will thank you later.
As we get into the part of the election cycle where all the ads are recycled – and frankly, all a bit depressing and pessimistic – something this awesome shines like a beacon of truthiness. It’s a symbol of why we vote in the first place and how important it is to know what’s at stake, rather than just checking a box and voting the party line. There could be some good candidates you miss!
More information about how this awesome ad came to be here.