Just now posting our correspondent’s report filed from the frozen hinterlands the interior East. He’s experiencing something that he has rarely experienced, the chance that his vote might make a difference. If you live in the Bay State, make sure to follow his example and vote for Scott Brown:
It’s 10AM and I just returned from trudging through an inch of new snow to vote for Scott Brown. You must understand: my entire life, I’ve known, when I cast my vote in this state, that it did not matter one whit. Now it does — in spades. I feel euphoric. To outward appearances, it was a routine transaction, though a few details were telling.
I was told, by the experienced volunteer monitors, that 18% of registered voters had already cast their votes. That was high, in their experience.
That said, the “social/physical” investment in this election is miniscule compared to any other I’ve witnessed here. (I’ve lived here sixteen years).
No PTA selling cookies. Nobody holding signs. Just the basics: some volunteers checking folks in and out and a cop delighted with light, indoor
duty on an ugly weather day.
The only campaign volunteer I saw today (at the high school) was one forlorn young lass, chatting with a bearded young man, attending to a single Coakley sign. They couldn’t have been more than twenty-three. Neither one wore a hat. Since it was snowing, I doubt they’ll last long.
I glimpsed three Coakley signs near my polling place; none for Brown. All were small format with low production values. I infer from that that they
were last-minute measures. One was crumpled in the street and had been run over by a car. The other two were stuck, haphazardly on a chain-link fence. Not exactly mind-changing. Brown’s other methods of outreach (e.g., flyer, phone calls) have been extraordinarily well designed and executed however and so I doubt that that local oversight will mean very much.
Here’s the most telling bit. As far as I know, the volunteers who run the polling place are not supposed to talk about particular candidates. These
are old neighborhood codgers (and codgerettes) though. They know the rules but they’re human. In response to my question as to how busy it had been,
one of them began talking about how Coakley struck him as being like “a substitute teacher” — not a very positive image. He smiled. I smiled back.
It’s the first time I’ve ever had such a chat inside a polling place.
Time will tell, but I think this one comes down to awareness, motivation and weather. Even my wife was unaware that the election was today and she’s got
a (semi-secret) political junkie for a husband. It feels like Monday and we’ve already made one day-of-the-week mistake. I suspect others will also.
My wife is usually a straight Democrat voter, but she’s also a Tufts alumn. I think I’ve got her persuaded to vote for our man, against MY fellow
alumnus, Martha Coakley. Wish me luck.