A new Election Day experience

Yesterday, for the first time, I helped out with a political campaign. I got up early, headed over to the politician’s headquarters for my assignment, and then went out to hold a sign.

The sign I held.

Melrose Patch, a new media outlet in Melrose (north of Boston), took this picture of me and others across from the Melrose City Hall (I’m second from the left) holding our signs.

I didn’t get to hold a sign for too long because I was needed for another job. The campaign manager wanted me to go to door in Malden, reminding people it was Election Day. I was supposed to encourage them to vote for our candidate.

Many people weren’t home, but a fair number were. Some had forgotten it was Election Day, and said they’d go vote later. Others had already voted. Some said they were busy and couldn’t talk, while others were happy to talk for several minutes about the candidates.

If nothing else, I got to experience Malden. I especially liked some of the lawn decorations I encountered, like these rain boot flowerpots:

I realized that the Malden neighborhood I was in was very Italian. There were many Italian flags hanging from houses, Craig Spadafora for Senate signs (Spadafora is a Malden resident with Italian roots), and Italian-sounding names written on mailboxes.

A number of the people I met were elderly. I guess that makes sense– these are the type of people who are home during the day.  I think that was one of the reasons I canvased this area. Also, the houses were close together so I could hit more in a given period of time.

I ended up going door to door in Stoneham later on in the day. That wasn’t as fun, as people either didn’t want to talk or weren’t home.  Also, houses were farther apart.

Unfortunately the candidate I had rallied for did not win. It was tough seeing him and his family at their party last night, trying to keep their spirits up after the loss. It’s crazy to think you invest a year or so in a campaign, and then it’s over just like that.

I’m sure they’ve gained a lot from the experience, though, and will use it to help them with their future professional endeavors. While my experience helping out with the campaign was much shorter, I still got to learn about some of the tasks involved with Election Day campaigning.

It was a different experience than reporting on elections, something I did for several years (here, for example, is my account of a candidate for Cortland County treasurer winning the election).

It was also obviously different than working at the polls, which I did during the last two elections.

With that experience, it was interesting seeing how excited people were to vote, the types of people who showed up to vote, and some of the issues that are encountered during the voting process (like ballots getting stuck in the counting machine, people wanting to vote but not being included on the voter list, people not marking the ballots clearly enough, etc.).

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