What I Learned About The 2016 Election After 6 Hours Asking People to Register to Vote

I try not to get political, but this year I feel morally obligated to do so. The stakes are simply too high. But until Friday when Trump laughed about sexually assaulting women, I wasn’t angry enough to do much besides post a lot of things on Facebook and have heated arguments with family members. His callous attidudw to women is simply unacceptable, and I was so angry I decided I had to do something else. 


I spent 6 hours standing outside of a local grocery store asking people to register to vote. I brough Buddy and Sass to help and for a hands-on lesson. Here’s what I learned. 

  1. Most people have registered to vote, or said they were registered. About 1 in 100 were not registered. 
  2. The few people are not registered have no desire to register. I don’t understand this, but it’s their right to not exercise. On the other hand, people died for this right and it is our civic duty to vote. 
  3. Most people are angry about our choices. They don’t like either candidate and don’t think third party candidates are a real option. I heard things like, “I wish we had good candidates,” and “I’m registered, but I don’t really like our options.”
  4. Those who are behind one candidate are pretty passionate about it. Those who support Clinton often stopped for a moment to proudly declare their allegiance. Those who support Trump  usually loudly declared “Go Trump,” as they walked away. I only had one semi-Trump supporter stop and talk to me, and she was wavering because of his recent sexual assault comments. 
  5. Many people asked me who I was voting for. They were usually undecided, stuck between two candidates they don’t believe in. I was honest and told them that because of my children I am unable to vote for Trump. I have a daughter who is more than a sexual object and a son who I want to treat women properly. 
  6. Bringing kids to help is effective. It’s harder to ignore kids or be rude to them. Many people thanked them for what they were doing and told me it was great that I was getting them involved. I also noticed a big difference in people’s responses when I had at least one kid with me and when it was just me or me and other adults (when the kids took a short break). People usually smiled when the kids were there, and more were grumpy or ignored me/us without the kids. 
  7. Clinton supporters were men and women, of a variety of ethnicities, and all ages. 
  8. Trump supporters were all older white men with the exception of the woman I talked about earlier who was on the fence (her husband seemed more in the Trump camp).
  9. Anyone can volunteer and many people thanked us for our volunteer work noting how important it is.
  10. Many people mentioned that this election year is very important. 
  11. Elections really do depend on grassroots efforts. My volunteer work was not very organized. After I signed up online I received no instructions, just showed up. There was no one there to give me instructions, I just took over for the guy before me after he explained what to do. When I was done there were no instructions on what to do with the forms. Fortunately the guy before me gave me the number of the person in charge. When I contacted him he was no longer in the area. I ended up taking the forms home and bringing them back the next day. At the end of today’s shift I contacted the person in charge and he was again unavailable. He asked me to drop them off at a nearby house. Personally, I wouldn’t fill out a registration form without knowing who I was giving my information to. I would recommend registering online, which you can do in Pennsylvania at www.votespa.com.

I’m really glad we volunteered. My kids learned a lot and I had some proud mama moments when they had real discussions about politics with other adults. 

If you live in Pennsylvania you have until Tuesday, Oct. 11 to register. You can register online at www.votespa.com. You need to register if you’ve moved or changed your name since you last voted (if you moved nearby you can also go to the polling station where you previously voted). 

If you’re not sure if you are regsitered or where your polling station is located, you can look both up at www.votespa.com. 

 

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