First thing’s first: I’d like to take a second to give a shout out to all the folks out there who have been working tirelessly for Obama during this campaign season. I know some of my fellow volunteers have been frequenting my spot lately (thanks for stopping by!). This is for you. Believe me: it was not fun having people hang up in my face. It was often embarrassing when people slammed doors on me. Canvassing neighborhoods with a cold was definitely not hot in the streets. All of that notwithstanding; I would have done this again in a heartbeat. I hope you all feel the same. Similarly; I have to also acknowledge the foot soldiers in the McCain camp as well. I suspect that the time we spent making calls and hitting the streets was matched with the same level intensity and devotion from them. My hat goes off to you all. Regardless to who pulls off the victory tomorrow, we all played our part.
Now, for everybody else: tomorrow’s the day. Even if you didn’t volunteer or donate, you can still play an important role in this election.
I spoke with one of my sisters in Florida. She told me that lines were off the chain there; even for early voting. I suspect the same thing will happen all over the country. So as you prepare for tomorrow, you should keep a few things in mind:
(1) Verify your polling location. Keep in mind that polling locations change often. Make sure you’re in the right place. You can visit your state’s Secretary of State website or check your polling location here.
(2) Don’t wear apparel for a particular candidate or issue. Though some stories of apparel-based voter suppression are urban legends, don’t take the risk.
(3) Go early. Very early. Lines will form quickly. Even when lines form and wait times get longer, please DO NOT leave. Don’t listen to the news, polling data, or projections. Each vote matters.
(4) Bring food, water, proper clothing, folding chairs, books/magazines, umbrellas…anything in anticipation of being outdoors for a long time.
(5) Bring a photo ID. You never know…
(6) Keep an eye out for questionable/fradulent activity. Report any questionable activities, malfunctioned voting machines, etc. by calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683). The Wall Street Journal published an excellent article I think you should print out and keep with you.
(7) VOTE! This goes without saying. Whether you choose Obama, McCain, or the Easter Bunny as a write-in, PLEASE exercise your right to vote. Too many people have suffered and died for this very right. We tend to think along of the lines of Jim Crow south…and we’d be correct. But even as recently as during elections in Iraq, people literally faced death just for the option to vote.
Even more than seeing my guy win, it is my prayer that this country makes a decision toward healing (with whomever that may be). The power of the vote is the one true time when we collectively have a say in what happens in our country. Whatever winds up being in store for us, please don’t miss out on your opportunity to be involved. This will be an election for the ages.
Happy Election Day to you all!