OK, here's my pre-election night story. Obviously, I've been way behind in writing in my blog, so I've been meaning to post this for a while.
This year, for the first time in my life, I did some campaign work. I was helping out Tony, canvassing a couple neighborhoods for his campaign. I didn't think he had a chance in hell of winning, but I did want to support Tony.
About a month before the election I handed out brochures in the neighborhood just south of here, leaflets for the whole Democratic slate in DuPage county, but I was talking up Tony. It was a nice day, a couple hours worth of work, and overall pretty pleasant. I talked to a few folks who were definitely voting Republican, a few who definitely voting Democratic, some ambivalent/apathetic, and several that were genuinely interested in researching candidates lower on the ticket.
Then, the night before the election, I was demolishing the family room -- tearing out the carpet so I could get it out with the next day's garbage. I'd also promised Tony that I'd do some Get Out The Vote work with him - just hanging door hangers. He called late in the afternoon, we got the hangers prepped (adding a card specific to Tony's campaign), and Kalen, Ryan and I headed out to do the deliveries. We got a couple short streets done, but then it started getting dark. We took a break to get some flashlights and some water, and then headed to the next neighborhood. Which was an apartment/townhouse complex. Alas, this section turned out to be the assignment from hell, because the apartment numbering scheme skipped around so much that we couldn't find half the numbers we were supposed to hang. It may have made sense in the daylight, or if we'd seen a map showing the layout. As it was, we'd find a few places, and then the numbers would skip. Or the numbers would continue on the other side of the building, with no easy way to reach that other side without going around three or four other buildings. Not fun.
Eventually, we ran out of hangers that we'd carried with us, so we retreated to the car to get more, and to give up on the apartments and go to the next neighborhood (which made more sense). We also met back up with Tony, and the four of us finished out the hangers. We then retreated to a local pub for dinner (it was past 9pm at this time) and a couple beers.
Tony was kept from dinner for a while because he got a call on his cell from a constituent who was doing last minute research, and wanted to hear Tony's opinion on EVERY name on the ballot, top to bottom, all parties.
When we settled into the beers, we discussed Tony's chances - which seemed pretty slim. For one thing, DuPage county hasn't elected a Democrat to the county board in 20 years. For another, in this district (as in all of them), it was a "vote for two, elect two" ballot. And Tony was the only one on the Democratic side of the ballot, with two Republican opponents including one incumbent. Even in a year likely to have Democratic coattails in Illinois, if voters generally marked two candidates the two Republicans should pick up a good number of votes from people splitting ballots. The math seemed to make the race impossible for Tony.
So the next evening came the shock. Obama's victory was definitely more relief than shock, so that wasn't it. As the ballot returns got posted, Tony wound up in second place and was elected. There wasn't a huge margin between any of the candidates. I'm still not sure how that happened, but the best I can figure is that a lot of people, either by design or by missing the instruction, voted for only one candidate. I knew I'd voted only for Tony, and he'd tried to do some voter education beforehand asking people to do just that. I'd still love to see a study of how such races go in general, whether people tend to ignore/miss the "vote for two" instruction in elections where none of the other races work that way. (Hey Tony, if you ever need a research paper topic for your degree, that may be a good topic).
On December 1, I was able to attend and enjoy Tony's inauguration, and the little cheer that went up in the room when he was announced. He was actually one of three Democrats elected to the county board this year, with both of the others with similar electoral circumstances (only Democrat in their vote-for-two district).
So, congratulations Tony, and good luck for all the elections in your future! Do us proud.
Tomorrow, more backlog clearing (?).