Today was the first day for early voting in North Carolina! This year I really wanted to vote on the first day, so I finished my research and headed out to vote. And this year there's an early voting location at the volunteer fire station about an mile from my house, but this is a rural red area; so since I had other chores on my list, I headed in to town to vote with the Democrats!
As I passed the fire station I saw just a few cars in the parking lot; not much turnout there. But when I arrived at the library in town, the parking lot was full and the line was out the door. Yay! So I parked down the street and walked back to the library. As I got close to the library there were some people handing out voting guides; two Dems, one Sierra Club, and one Republican. The Dems asked if I needed a voting guide and the Sierra Club guy asked if I needed an environmental voter guide, and I politely told them I had my voter guide and knew who I was voting for.
I then turned and looked at the Republican; she said she was handing out Republican voting guides. I asked her why. She explained that she used to be a Democrat, but not any more. I then politely began engaging in conversation with her. Our discussion ran for over an hour, during which time she did not give out a single Republican voting guide.
We covered all kinds of topics. We started with Obama is a Muslim, we covered Libya, Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, and Obamacare, which lasted quite a while, and about which I think she really did learn a lot from our discussion. We talked about Romney, and shipping jobs overseas, and laying off workers, and tax cuts for the rich, and I explained how you get a tax deduction for shipping equipment overseas after you close down the factory and layoff the workers in the US. We talked about a lot of stuff.
But in the end it came down to the fact that she just wasn't comfortable with Obama. And I knew what that meant; all of us here on Daily Kos know what that means. And this is North Carolina, and she's a Republican. I think she did know that I had pretty much out-debated her on every thing she tried to use as an excuse for choosing Romney over Obama. All she had left was just not liking Obama for who he is. She did however appear to learn a lot about Obamacare that she didn't know before; so hopefully she came away from the exchange having learned something useful.
We parted very amicably. We were civil with each other the entire time; and I gave her a hug as I left to go get in line to vote.
Meanwhile, again for what must have been over an hour, the Dem poll workers have been handing out voting guides and watching my debate with the Republican poll worker, who hasn't handed out a single guide as she's been focused on our discussion. And this is important because the entire second page of the ballot is "non-partisan" races; judges, school board, soil and water conservation. Most folks who show up to vote haven't done their homework on these races. So during the time that I was outside debating, all the Dem voters got their guides; and the Republicans did not.
I make my way through the line, get my ballot, go to the booth, fill out my ballot with my guide, take it to the optical scanner, and get my "I Voted!" sticker. I asked one of the election workers if it had been this busy all day (it was about 5:00 then) and she said yes, sounding as tired as she looked. I've never seen such a turnout on an early voting day.
As I'm leaving, one of the Dem poll workers stopped me and thanked me for the great job I did keeping her from giving out guides, and he said that he was impressed with my wealth of knowledge. Of course what I know is what most any Daily Kos member knows. I thanked him and his co-worker for working the polling site.
So that was my day. I voted! And that's always a great feeling. And I was thrilled to see the great turnout on the very first day of early voting. It felt good to be voting in Asheville today!