08/29/08

Electioneering

This week I enjoyed the growing excitement around the Democratic Convention. I’m not a super-politico, although I have worked on several campaigns (and built a few websites for candidates in the late 90s, when no one was quite sure why they wanted to be on the web, but a few understood that they needed to be on the web – my museum experience came in handy here). In 2004 my girlfriend and I worked as neighborhood organizers for MoveOn.org, which was fun but I’m not sure that it had much impact. Our neighborhood was already bluer than blue and most of the people we met going door-to-door were already on our side. At least it made it fun (and probably the first time I’d met some of my neighbors).

The other night ABC spotlighted a “doctoral student who put aside his dissertation to campaign for Obama.” Whoa…that’s commitment dude, but frankly at this point I share too much of Jenny’s cynicism to lay down my pen. Maybe it’s the fallout from having seen political sausage being made. I’m not a very good evangelist. I have my opinions and my views, but I really don’t like calling you at dinner time to harass you about yours. I hated going door to door even more than call banks. Leave me alone and I’ll stuff some envelopes for you.

Even so, just sitting back and not doing anything also bothers me. This year I’ve decided to do something a little different that still allows me to participate in the excitement this year (without abandoning my dissertation for Obama). I’ve signed up to be an Election Judge. A few hours of classes and one very long day on November 4. I think I’ll make a good judge — I’m not afraid of all those electronics, good under pressure, know the alphabet backwards and forwards. I’ll be interested to see what the whole process is like, what kind of training we get, and what happens on election day. I think the only part of this I may not like is denying people the opportunity to vote because of some stupid rule. I’m particularly interested in what sort of discretion is exercised in those cases.

Now I just have to wait and see if I”m selected.


Update:I’ve been tagged as an Alternate Judge on Election day. Still not quite sure what that means, but I’ll find out when I attend Election Judge training at the end of the week. I think it means I’ll be a floater to fill in where they need someone. In any case, don’t expect to see me on Nov. 4 – unless you’re voting!