The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

2010 Vote for 4 Ground Game

Posted by David Leslie on November 6, 2010

This year I worked on the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Vote for 4 campaign as a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) volunteer. I helped with poll greeting, poll checking and working with the board of elections to get the format for the registry of voter list. Before the election, I would attend the weekly meetings of the campaign committee often with my son in tow. Below is my log from Election Day:

6:30 – Good Samaritan Reformed Church
It’s Dark and cold and there is a full parking lot when I pull into Good Sam after a turkey sandwich and tea for breakfast. I set up my table by the McCutcheon Rd. driveway leading into the church then I place a sign at the uncovered Hines Rd entrance in the public easement. During my time on the drive way a few times people stop to ask me if they needed to check in but other than than, I got lots of thumbs up. As the sun came up, the traffic at the poll started to slow down. One man stops to ask how could people try to take the schools and the library from the kids. While talking, someone tried to go around and peeled out in the wet grass.

Later in the morning, I’m joined by a college student from OU who was doing GOTV for the democrats by passing out the county sample ballot. It was his first campaign and he wasn’t dressed for the cold wearing a hoodie and a Marylyn Brown t-shirt. As we talked, we watched skirmish in a ‘sign war’ no more than 50 yard from us. First, Nancy Garland’s signs are taken down by a guy with his hood up and sunglasses on as if he didn’t want people to know who he was. Next, someone came by and put the Garland’s signs back up but this time bracketing the Matt Carle signs (putting up two signs so close as to cover the 1).

With frost on my table, I see an old friend from childhood just before heading back to HQ.

9:30am – HQ:
After a quick meeting with our campaign manager and volunteer coordinator, I head out to Berwick Alternative School.

11am – Berwick Alternative School:
Pulling up, I meet another democratic GOTV worker who is by the flag poll where I set up my table. He said he was from the mayor’s office and had to head back downtown for a meeting but that he would be back in the afternoon. The poll is steady and get lots of thumbs up. Crystal Boyce who’s husband Kevin was running for Ohio Treasurer stopped and asked if I was the Democrat GOTV person for that poll. She asked if I would pass out some sample ballots. I had been asked 4 times if I had any so I said sure. She also offered me some water and a snack but I decline. I only hand out 2 or 3 and later I give them back to the replacement democrat GOTV volunteer when they cam over.

About this time I see something that stuck with me. It was a kid, about kindergarten age on a playground that I could see from my table who would take some mulch in his hand and shake it like I Ching sticks while making an ‘eekeekeekeek’ sound. I watch him do this almost the whole recess in his little blue and green coat.

After talking with one of the poll observers and then watching the electricians drive in a lift to work on the lights. An election judge comes out with the 100ft string and asked me to move by the tree some 30 ft. away from where I was located. 10 minutes later someone from the school with a bullhorn telling me I needed to be off school property.

Standing on the sidewalk, I’m joined by Whitehall Library Branch Manager Shirley Freeman and then Michelle Mills from St. Stephen’s stops by to say hi. Shirley knows everybody in the neighborhood around Berwick. People would stop their cars or walk up to talk with her. Shirley would stop voters with kids to tell them about CML’s kids programs. She has a great knack for connecting with people. I had a great time talking with Shirley and stayed longer than I was supposed to Just before heading out, Michael Bevins came by. I graduated with Michael and he was running for judge. He was checking on volunteers so after some quick ‘how have you beens’ Michael headed out and I left for HQ

2:30pm – HQ:
I get stuck in the Hamilton Rd construction and get back to HQ later than expected. As I walk in Executive Director Patrick Losinski greets me and tells me how much he appreciates my help. Yet I’m too busy to talk with him as I want to get a 4pm poll check (to see how many of our supporters have already voted) in. I head to Whetstone after making a stop at Chipotle.

2:30pm – Whetstone:

I met up with the guys who were greeting the voters by the main driveway. I see at least two other GOTV poll greeters for some other campaigns but I can’t tell from which party or candidate.  Tons of horn honks thumbs up. There is a fire truck playing swing music for one of the judges. At 4:30 I head in to check the list. Inside, there are 4 checkers all over the voter list who are doing GOTV for democrats. I’m a half hour late (list posted a 4) and their still checking. I wait for them to finish up and then it takes me till 5:10  to finish up. On my list over 70% of our voters had voted already. I head back to the HQ so they can call the 30% who hadn’t voted yet.

5:30 pm – HQ:

When I drop off the sheets, the HQ is buzzing with people making calls. However, they were starting to run out of numbers. 5 people split up my Whetstone sheets but were bummed to see how few names there were.

5:30 pm – YMCA/Good Sam:

First I check to see if the YMCA needs greeters but they are good. I stand at Good Samaritan until I find out that we already had a greeter there (he was taking a break). I then head to the biggest polling place in the city, Aladdin.

6:30pm – Aladdin Shrine Temple:

The fire truck is back so I stand by it and talk with its owner who is a friend of Ron Pylmale. I talk with some of Clarence Mingo’s supporters who leave as the sun goes down and it started to get cold. As the day started in the dark and cold, it will end in the dark and cold. Inspired by Shirley, I tell people with kids leaving the polls about the library programs. I also talk with the gentleman who owns the fire truck (a 1959 International Harvester that was in service until 2009)about the swing music he has playing from a boom box in the back of truck and kicked around ideas where to store it for the winter. At 7:30 when the polls closed, I leave for the HQ.

7:30pm – HQ:

HQ is packed. I had never seen as many people there at one time. Channel 4 and 10 are there along with a ton of Romeo’s pizza. I grab a few slices and hang out over by the computers as we wait to get the early vote. I tell Lara and Jessica that we need to get together our lessons learned from this election.The think I’m joking. After Lara is interviewed by channel 4, she declares "I’m having a beer!"

Early vote numbers hit and we are looking good with a 62% yes vote. Still I’m stunned that issue 5 for the Gahanna schools is losing. As happy as I am for the library is as sad I am for the schools.

Around this point, I notice a man with a New York Yankee’s 2009 World Series Ring but I couldn’t place his face from the years I worked for the Clippers. Finally I had to introduce myself and ask how he received the ring. Come to find out the gentleman’s mother was an investor in the Yankee’s along with Mr. Steinbrenner. He had kept the shares in the family and was awarded the ring as an owner. He let me hold the ring. If I had been thinking, I should have ask him to take my picture with it using my phone. This was the first time I ever got to hold a ring. Bob Ojeda on a rehab assignment let me look but not hold his 1986 Mets ring.

Later when the numbers from the voting machines roll in and look good, I start to say my goodnights to Ryan who lead the campaign, Lara who organized the volunteers and Jessica who ran the data. I also say goodnight to Dewitt, Steve and Pat from the CML leadership and thank them for letting me help out. Pat was kind enough to remember that my son tagged along to the committee meetings. I told him that Mary, who gave John some gliders made to look like birds along with some cars to play with during the meetings hooked him up with another set of gliders.

Walking out I introduce myself to Alison Holm from WCBE who is there covering the library’s reaction to the results. She was very kind to talk with me about my theory on the parallels between libraries and public radio plus how the public radio landscape in central Ohio. 

On the way home I check the numbers at the Gahanna YMCA (win) and my home poll. I’m stunned to see that we lost ward G-1 by 6 votes. Then again G-1 killed all three of its levies.

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