What I learned by Volunteering for Obama

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  • You don’t have to be 18 to go to the Caucus in Alaska. You just have to turn 18 by May 4, 2008.
  • Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman from “The West Wing”) is a Hillary supporter. What’s up with that?
  • 12 out of 18 laptops brought in by volunteers are Apple laptops.
  • There is whiteboard “paper” you can buy that uses static electricity to stick to walls.
  • Most of the signage are on large sheet paper with colored markers.
  • 18 out of 18 volunteers this morning are first-time volunteers — for any campaign.
  • By 9:15am, there are only 5 phone calls — all about questions on where to vote.
  • Every county in Tennessee has their own polling rules and times — it’s like Thunderdome.
  • There are four kinds of primaries and caucuses:
    • Open – Any registered voter can vote
    • Closed – You must be a registered Democrat to vote
    • Semi-Open – Democrat or undeclared can vote (this applies to California)
    • Other – Specific rules applicable to a certain state
  • Open Primaries include Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee. In some of these states, you have to make a declaration that you’re a Democrat when you show up to vote — but you can at least do that when you’re voting, instead of declaring well in advance of the vote.
  • Kansas City has (seemingly) TWO Election Officials at their county clerk’s office at 1828 Walnut, Suite 300.
  • The Obama Campaign is closing up shop at 5pm tonight, because one way to lose votes is to make calls during the Super Bowl.
  • There’s a great link that keeps up to date with who’s winning the contest for delegates and “Super Delicates” at the 2008 Democratic Convention Watch
  • You can’t search for your polling locations in Delaware or Georgia unless you are already a registered voter. Which sucks, unless you want to check to see if you’re actually registered to vote and you live in Georgia or Delaware (Mom? Dad?).
  • Virginia’s Primary is on February 12, and it’s an open primary — so if you’re a registered Independent and you want to vote for Obama — you can show up at your polling location from 6am to 7pm and vote Obama.
  • In California, there’s a difference between being Independent and “Decline to State” voters. If you’re a registered Independent, it’s the name of an actual Party in California and you can’t vote in the Democratic primary. However, if you’ve “Declined to State” your affiliation, you can show up on February 5 and vote.
  • It’s impossible for most people who DON’T live in Georgia or Delaware to figure out if they’re registered to vote, and since Voter Registration Cards, informational flyers from county clerks and then Campaign “Get Out The Vote” flyers can have different information on where you’re supposed to vote, it all adds to the voter disenfranchisement — especially when local voting authorities change things without informing the voters.

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