Now that a week has gone by and I’ve been able to put the slightest bit of emotional distance between what sanity remains to me and Election Day, I thought I might relate some of the encounters I had with people at the polls. For the most part it was a positive experience. People in Reston are definitely supporters of diversity!
- Congressman Moran stopped by early in the morning and thanked me for working against the amendment. He has been a wonderful supporter of equality in Congress and it was great to hear in his voice just how much he meant it.
- One republican poll worker who had not yet voted seemed quite concerned about the possible side effects of the amendment (sadly he seemed only midly concerned about the intended effects) but after a fair amount of discussion it seemed he was likely to vote no.
- A trio of highschool girls who were also republican poll workers (and wow, did that hurt my head) were against the amendment as obviously awful except for one who said, “I think I voted yes by mistake.”
- The older woman who, when she saw what I was handing out, said she was definitely voting yes. When I asked if she read the whole thing, she said it didn’t matter because she knew how she was voting.
- The pair of women who walked up together and said, “Duh! Of course,” when I asked them to vote no.
- There was a man who asked for me to explain what a vote yes and a vote no meant. The language of the amendment was apparently too convoluted for him.
- There was an evangelical Christian republican poll worker who proved to me that you can’t argue with someone who accepts as an axiom that you are wrong. His response was that perhaps if I prayed more that God would set me straight (pun intended in my paraphrase).
- The democratic poll workers were all amazingly supprtive. They were often as vocal as I was in their opposition to the amendment.
- There were three constitutional amendments on the ballot. The republicans tooka formal position in their sample ballot only on one. I’ll give you one guess as to which one that was.
- The number of people who knew how they were going to vote on everything surprised me. These people didn’t want any party’s sample ballot though some of them would take my non-partisan literature.
- The number of people who only wanted a particular party’s sample ballot was kind of scary. I can’t imagine being so mindless that I would do what any political party wanted me to do without a fair amount of forethought.
I could probably continue on like this for longer than anyone would want to read. To say that it was an educational day would be an understatement. It was certainly an exhausting day. Spending about 11 hours on my feet handing out literature was definitely tiring. As I drifted off to sleep that night, I was still hearing, “Please vote ‘no’ on number 1” in my head. I was afraid I would be hearing it for days whenever there was a quiet moment but fortunately it was just the one night. Even though I’m not sure my presence really influenced many undecided voters (based on comparing those precincts with other nearby precincts that didn’t have a coalition poll worker), it was interesting to see the process in action.