HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Sunday, February 26, 2017

 

"This is my ballot."

by Tom Sullivan

During early voting here in 2008, this happened.

A young African-American woman approached one of our poll greetsrs outside the Board of Elections station downtown. The woman was nervous, almost trembling. This was her first vote, an important vote. She had lots of questions.

The greeter explained the voting process several times. Finally, the young woman practiced on a sample ballot before lining up inside to vote.

When she finished, she rushed back out onto the sidewalk and blurted, “You won’t believe what happened to me in there.”

An older white woman in line saw her sample ballot and snatched it and the pen from her hands. Telling the young voter she didn’t have to vote just for Democrats, the older woman filled in the “straight Republican” oval. (This was before GOP-led legislature eliminated straight-ticket voting in NC.)

The young woman pulled it back and said, “This is my ballot. I’m going to vote the way I want. You have your own ballot. You can vote the way you want.”

My wife took the younger woman by the shoulders and said, “I am so proud of you.” They hugged with tears in their eyes.

We are sometimes so cynical. We get so caught up in candidates and factions and policy fights we sometimes lose touch with what voting means to people. People bled and died to enforce that young woman's right to a voice in governing this country. As the story shows, there are still plenty of people out there not happy about sharing power with her or anyone else who looks different from them.

Yesterday's turnout was epic. As the Democratic National Committee went through the interminable process of electing new officers (Tom Perez won the chair's slot), Democrats here held annual precinct organizing meetings — usually pretty boring stuff. We had planned for large. What we got was huge. At our "cluster" meetup, 250 people showed up for meetings of eight precincts. The mayor was there and a city councilman, plus the district attorney and a superior court judge. And a lot of younger voters. When I asked how many were attending for the first time, almost half in the grade school auditorium put up their hands. As I wrote last Sunday, something (or someone) has brought people off their couches.

Many have voted for years. Others have not. Now they want to know how all this works.

One man wanted to know when we craft policy at the local level. Organizing strategy and election mechanics, yes. We don't really set policy. Voters elect candidates who do that. But it's funny, once they count on you to get them elected they are a lot more receptive to policy suggestions for some reason. I wrote about what that work looks like in North Carolina during the DNC platform fight last summer:

There is a massive logistical effort behind putting on elections, a lot of it volunteers and party-organized. Most voters are accustomed only to seeing the 4 or 5 retirees who work the polling station in their neighborhood on Election Day. Three election judges (a Republican Judge, a Democratic Judge, and a Chief Judge) plus an assistant or two. These people get paid (poorly) for the day, but that's not why they do it. They are putting in a 14-hour day because they believe what they are doing matters, that their community matters, and that democracy is important.

The handful of people you see every Election Day don't appear out of thin air. Precinct leaders from each party recruit them (plus multiple backups) in the odd-numbered years here and provide a list of their names to the county Board of Elections. I spend six weekends every other summer compiling the list for local Democrats. It's a chore and a half. Four or 5 people per precinct, plus backups. In my county there are 80 precincts. In North Carolina alone there are 2,709 precincts.
That's virtually an army division mobilized to put on a general election. In a single state.

But it's the small, human stories that make the work worth the effort. My wife got choked up last night talking about another of those "moments" outside the polling station.

She and a partner saw a sullen-looking, African-American teenager round the corner. He didn't seem happy to be there.

"Are you coming to vote?" they asked.

He looked down and said nothing. They explained the ballot gently and mentioned candidates they knew personally. By his age, it would have to be his first time. Barack Obama was running for reelection. It was 2012.

A well-dressed couple approached from another direction. His parents. Attorneys maybe. The three went in to vote together.

When the young man came out, he carried himself differently. The sullenness was gone.

"Did you get voted?" the team asked.

"Yeah!" he said, and broke into a wide grin.

"Feels good, doesn't it?"

"Yeah!" he said.

Broad grins all around.