Yesterday was the pinnacle of two and half months of work, sacrifice, and blogging about a political issue!:) Election Day.
I volunteered to be a poll watcher at one of our local precincts. I rose at 5:00 and got ready for the day, praying that the downpours of Monday would be over. I piled my bleary eyed kids into the van, picked up a box of donuts, and was at my assigned polling place by 6:30. My instructions were to set up a YES on 8 table near by polling place, (but of course within legal limits, which are 100 feet from the polls.) I chose a spot farther away because I didn't want anyone to feel intimidated or irritated by my presence, but wanted to be available if people needed clarification on the proposition. (Although you'd have to live in a cave in California if you didn't know that Prop 8 was about marriage, the wording on the ballot was very confusing thanks to our Secretary of State, and we wanted people to go in remembering that a "yes" vote was for traditional marriage.) My kids sat in the car, snarfing donuts and watching a movie until my friend Nancy came to pick them up.
By 9:00 we had decided that there were better uses of our time (as I had people there to help me once it wasn't dawn) and so I continued to check the polls hourly while our other volunteers canvassed the precinct, visiting the homes of people who had pledged to vote Yes and reminding them that it was election day. Those who weren't home got a door hanger with their polling place printed on it. By 4:00, I'm pretty sure that every potential YES voter in all seven precincts that our team was watching had had their door knocked.
At 4:00, we moved to our call center and had a new flood of volunteers in addition to the poll watchers like me who had been going all day. We set up in Jared's office, which is closed on Tuesday afternoons. There were people all over the place, using their cell phones. Our goal was to call every voter until they had voted (with our lists including likely YES and definitely YES voters.) We had some food donated by some good people who wanted to help, and at least 20 people calling through our lists. As people told us they had already voted, we crossed them off the list. When an entire page was crossed off, we did a little dance and shredded it. By 7:30, every page was shredded (at 7:15 we started leaving messages for those who were not picking up the phone, which was about 10% of our list). By 8:00 we were locking up the office and heading home.
Pushing through exhaustion, a few of us decided to go to the Protect Marriage victory party that was being held in Sacramento. I was really hoping for shrimp, but was disappointed! However, we got a chance to cheer and mingle with other supporters while the initial results came in. When it was clear that we were well ahead but that there was a long way to go before all the votes were counted, we left, trying hard to stay awake for the drive home. (Here's a picture with Christine. You might ask why I would post a picture of myself looking tired and harried next to my gorgeous friend. I just didn't remember to pull out my camera earlier in the day, so these are the only pictures I can come up with. At least one of us looks great!)
This morning our local news stations seem hesitant still to call it a victory. With 98% of precincts reporting and with 53% voting YES and 47% voting no, they are saying it is still "too close to call." Hogwash. They called the presidency much earlier than that! Here's something that I found from abcnews.com that almost infers that the proposition may have passed.
This post is not about gloating and being a poor sport, Mom. It is breathing a sigh of relief that the work of so many people for a cause that we deeply believed in has paid off. I am sorry that a victory brings pain to others. I want so much for them to understand that we hold no ill will towards them personally, but that we disagree strongly about the appropriate guidelines for and definition of marriage. Perhaps because our perspectives are so different, that has been nearly impossible for those voting NO to understand.
I do hope that we will be able to live together peaceably after this. Much like presidential elections, (which sometimes your candidates lose and sometimes they win,) when the election is over it is time to put away divisiveness and remember that we are all Americans. We are so blessed to live in a place where democracy rules, even though it doesn't always go the way we had hoped. I pray that it will be so.