On Saturday, I did an 8-hour voter-registration shift outside of a Von's grocery store here in North Las Vegas. I was told not to bring a chair or a table, since people really respond better if you are standing and addressing them on eye level. So, I stood non-stop for six hours. The last two hours, I must admit that I occasionally sat on the bench outside the doors. Gotta get a little break, ya know!
I decided, if I was really going to stand holding a clipboard, paper and pen for 8 hours, that I needed something to do other than ask, "Ma'am, are you registered to vote?" I'm kind of a counter by nature, so I decided to keep track of people's responses to my question. Here's the breakdown (now, remember, this is only people entering one door of a 3-door grocery store):
470 people said yes, they are registered
31 said no they weren't registered and they weren't going to
27 ignored me completely (I decided they were all deaf...)
3 said they were British
1 asked me "why?" when I asked if he was registered (he thought I was trying to get signatures on a petition or something)
3 said they can't register because they are felons
FELONS! I mean, I'm not so naive to think that there aren't felons around me going to suburban grocery stores, but honestly, if you were a felon, would you TELL the random stranger outside of a grocery store that you were? I think, were I a felon and asked if I was registered to vote, I'd say "Yep, all registered. Thanks!" And go about my business. But three whole people, all separate and distinct from each other, admitted to having been in PRISON! It was interesting.
And then there were the people from the "other side of the aisle" who asked me whom I was supporting and/or working for. I got harassed by 10 or 12 people total, telling me how stupid my choice was, and that I really needed to rethink it. Also, one guy suggested that I was going to shred any registration forms that were for the other camp. I told him that was a felony as well as being immoral, and that even if he didn't agree with my choice of candidate, I actually wanted him to vote for his candidate on election day because that is part of being an American!
Then there were the two guys who both wanted to fill up their 5-gallon water jug thingies at the Sparkletts water dispenser. At the same time. And they both had myriad tattoos on their necks and faces and looked dangerous. So, they decided to have a little "discussion" right in front of me that I thought might force me to jump into the bushes to avoid being hit! Luckily, 96 F bombs (each) hurled at each other seemed to do the trick, and they both backed off.
Then there was the older man who walked into the store, then came out a few minutes later with a 2-qt container of ice cream and a spoon. He sat on the bench near where I was standing, and in about an hour, ate the entire thing. He even scraped the sides of the container, then licked his lips, stood up, threw the container away and left.
And I met cute little blonde girls, adorable twin 3-yr-olds, several babies in carriers, a mom who was carrying I swear, the contents of an entire Toys 'R Us store into the grocery store to keep her children entertained, several people who disagreed with my choice respectfully, and many people who agreed with me and took a free bumper sticker!
All in all, it was VERY interesting. I'm headed back today, but only for 6 hours this time, and maybe I'll have more stories tomorrow. If you are NOT registered to vote, it's getting close. The deadline in Nevada is Saturday, October 4. If you ARE registered to vote, GREAT! And don't forget to actually go vote on election day. This is a very important election, and whether you agree with my political and philosophical views or not, I want you to do your civic duty. That civic duty is one of the reasons that, even with our current struggles, I believe we live in the greatest country in the world. And why I will always be proud to say God bless the USA!