Twelve years ago in June, my husband and I moved into our current home. The first chance that we got to vote in our new neighborhood was during the general election. When I went to vote, I was greeted outside by a man who introduced himself and handed me a pen with his name on it. He told me that he was running for Township Supervisor and he asked me to vote for him. I asked him his views on environmental issues. Turns out, he is a strong advocate of open space. He won the election. I told you that so that I can tell you this… there was no one from either party standing outside the polls working for candidates other than the man running for Township Supervisor. The Republican turnout in this township was strong and the Democratic turnout was weak.
This absence of party representation continued throughout the years. The Republicans would place signs along the building and the Democrats had no information available. Then came the year 2004 and George W. Bush was running for re-election. We got involved with the Kerry Campaign which then introduced us to a group of like minded Democrats that were bound and determined to get out the vote for Kerry. As a result, during the general election of 2004, my husband and I set up shop outside the poll with information about Democrats that were on the ballot. We met many Democrats from our area which gave us a good feeling because in 2004, the Republicans outnumbered the Democrats in our voting precinct. In 2005, we were both elected as Democratic Committee Precinct Leaders.
Since then, every general election, we set up shop complete with table, chairs and candy outside the poll. We have been able to recruit volunteers to help with coverage. Some volunteers even brought food, coffee and tea. Last year, during the highly contested primary in PA, we asked Democrats if they would like to join our email list. We told them that we would not abuse their email address and that we would only contact them prior to elections. This worked out great during the general election of 2008 because we were able to get complete poll coverage not only at our voting precinct but also at other voting precincts that were missing Democratic Committe Precinct Leaders. We also made phone calls and sent out postcards listing all the Democratic Candidates. When the results were final, the part of the County that we and the volunteers covered went from red to blue. This is remarkable. The Democrats came out and voted.
Because of our visability at the poll over several years, we have made many new friends (it becomes a party atmosphere) and found that getting help to Get Out The Vote at election time is not too difficult. All we had to do was ask and volunteers stepped forward.
Link to unofficial results of primary Berks County by Precinct Check out the results in Oley and Pike. The Democrats came out and voted in this very off year election. Oley has a higher number of Republicans than Democrats and Pike has 8 more Democrats than Republicans. Yet the the number of votes by Democrats for the row offices outnumber the number of votes by Republicans. Good job!
Link to unofficial results total for Berks County.