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11 Oct


I was nervous as I set out to canvass on behalf of a ballot measure. Talking to strangers is not something this introvert enjoys. And yet, there I was, on a beautiful Fall afternoon, walking around a suburban neighborhood, pamphlets in hand.

Things have gone hi-tech since I’d last done anything like this. There is a smart phone app. I don’t actually have a smart phone, but hey had extras for the luddites who come to help. The machinery they have in place is amazing. I was given a paper map, but all the addresses were up loaded into the app, as were the names and ages of the people whose privacy I was about to invade.

Because I went right after school, no one was home at many of the houses I approached. I was extremely nervous when the first door opened, but the nice older gentleman there told me he and his wife were voting in favor of the measure. Whew!I told him he was my first contact and thanked him for making it easy.

Some people were noncommittal.  An elderly woman spoke to me from behind a closed door. One man said he worked for a university, knew a lot about the measure, but was torn because he could see both sides. We didn’t get a chance to talk long because a visitor he’d been expecting arrived. I think he opened the door expecting me to be her.

The toughest, and longest, conversation was with an older gentleman who wanted me to explain how this wasn’t a sales tax. I had the talking points I’d been given and did the best I could. I think, at best, I moved him from a NO to a MAYBE.

The most disappointing moment was when I arrived at the home of Oregon’s Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, who also happens to be running for Secretary of State. I really wanted him to be home, but no one was there. As I did with all the other homes I visited where no one answered the door, I left the literature I was distributing. I was tempted to write  “I’m voting for you!” on the pamphlet, but didn’t.

As with many things, I grumbled and worried before beginning. As I wrapped things up and headed back to my car, I felt proud that I’d overcome my anxieties about talking to stingers, and I hope, done my bit. I still have a little bit to do.

As much as I hate political calls this season, I will be manning phones on Monday, November 7th. Oregon is a vote by mail state. You can mail in your ballot as soon as you have filled it out or drop it off at a number of locations. I usually drop mine at my local library. The good thing about this event is that my job won’t be to advocate for anything, I simply have to call people and remind them to turn in their ballots. I think that should be easy enough to do.


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