Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thanks for your support

OK, we now know that the reward for leading the successful effort to defeat an anti-choice candidate (special election in House District 83) is a smear attack from the Christian Civic League.

Ugh...enough said, except to offer my sincere thanks to the hundreds of people who have contacted me, from all over the world, with messages of support, both verbal and financial!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

FCC Hearings Thursday

As posted by Turn Maine Blue, Common Cause, and the League of Young Voters. More info here:

This is your opportunity to tell the FCC what you feel about how well (or, rather, how poorly) you feel your media reports on local events. It's important that we establish a presence at these hearings. So please, sign up for a training, or just head to Portland and testify on Thursday.

Tell the FCC: No more consolidation!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Events...and More Events

The Kennebec Journal has published it's wonderful Summer Guide, which lists many local events. To make it easier for our elected Democrats, and the folks who will be running for office next year, I compile a Google calendar and put the link on our website's Events page. Of course it needs updating, as things develop, but I've found our

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Data Entry....Anybody wanna try it?

OK, OK, so it's not exactly my idea of fun, but good data is certainly the key to winning elections.

Our prize for collecting absentee ballot information from all 29 towns in Kennebec County is that we get to enter that data.

Most Mainers enjoy the fellowship of voting at the polls on Election day, talking politics with their neighbors, and giving folks gathering signatures for petitions a hard time. In recent years, however, more and more of our citizens are voting early...easy to do here. In the last presidential election, for example, many of our towns had upwards of a quarter of their votes cast before Election Day.

Some of this information is in electronic form, so not difficult to deal with at all. Most of our towns, however, are small, and have kept their absentee information on paper log sheets, written out in longhand by busy, tired town clerks.

Is that Clark or Clare? Are there really no Democrats in that town who voted absentee?

In time, with lots of help, it all gets deciphered and entered. Like all tasks, may hands make light work.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Upcoming Events

So are things quiet now that we've won the special election?

Not on your life!

We're deep into planning for this summer's special events, including July 4th parades in Augusta and Winslow (the biggest in the state), a booth adjacent to the parade area in Winslow, and Old Hallowell Day (July 21st....parade and booth). We've contacted the campaign offices of all the presidential candidates, resulting in promises of stuff for our booths. Next will be ordering bumper stickers...always fun picking those out!

There's a real difference of opinion about having a presence at fairs and parades. Some activists believe it's crucial, both for fundraising and for increasing our pool of volunteers. Others feel it's a waste of time. I guess I think that, if you pick your events carefully, they're worth doing. Sitting at a booth and talking politics, especially now when more and more of us are proud Democrats, is a great way to spend a few hours.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Done....and Won!

Scheduling a victory party before an election always seems somewhere between foolhardy and tempting the gods to teach us a lesson.

There we were on Election Day evening in the same historic Manchester Grange building where the caucus began the campaign. The group was smaller, and certainly more weary, as we waited for results when the polls closed at 8.

These are small towns, remember, still using the traditional hand-counted ballots. No electronic voting machines or hanging chads for us here in House District 83 (Manchester, Belgrade, Vienna (that's Vie-enna, please!), Fayette, and Mount Vernon.

First in was Fayette: 184 for Democrat Deane Jones, 152 for Republican Penny Morrell. Looking close, but not too bad.

Next, a call from our poll watcher in Belgrade, Penny's home town: 346 for Deane, 432 for Penny. The balance had shifted, but the Belgrade results were actually better than we had expected.

Then, a wait, followed by a call from Vienna's polling place: 110 for Deane and 56 for Penny. Cheers from the assembled volunteers.....two to one will do that to you.

The votes were added up and called out, then added up again. You guessed it: a dead heat at 640 votes apiece.

Voices were a bit quieter, but if there was a tie with Belgrade's results already in, things were looking good. At least that's what we kept reminding ourselves during the endless wait for the two last towns' vote counts.

It seemed to take forever, testing our faith and sending some of the more exhausted volunteers home to bed. Finally a cell phone ring tone, and the numbers from Manchester: 485 for Deane, 257 for Penny. Cheers erupted. It looked like a secure win. After all, the only missing town was Mount Vernon, Deane's home and the town he had served for years as selectman. Still, town officials running for higher office don't always get a landslide; there's always the guy unhappy about last year's school budget.

But the wait, this time, was not long. Mount Vernon did support its head selectman: Deane 344, Penny 283. Soon certified by the Secretary of State's office, the results were final, and Deane was going to the state legislature.

Much cheering, back slapping, and even a bit of hugging. All those thousands of phone calls, all those miles of travel from door to door, had paid off. Mainers decided, again, that candidates who speak out in favor of equal rights for all, for a woman's right to choose, deserved their support.

You can read more about Deane's first day in the legislature in our local daily, the Kennebec Journal

Monday, June 11, 2007

Special Election

We're down the wire on the special election in House District 83. A House campaign is usually spread out over six or eight months...longer if the candidate works hard at building local connections in multiple small towns in the district before he or she actually declares candidacy.

Special elections last weeks instead of months, and are even more intense and stressful than regulare elections. Since they are usually elections with low voter turnout, there is an even greater need to be sure every supporter casts a ballot.

We've got a good candidate, Deane Jones, and a good team. Let's hope tomorrow night's victory party is just that. In a race where the biggest difference in the candidates is on the issue of a woman's right to choose (with the Democrat being pro-choice and the Republican an employee of Maine Right to Life), I was surprised that the many good pro-choice organizations didn't take a greater part in helping our candidate, but that's water under the bridge at this point. Yes, Equality Maine was there on the phones with us, and several other organizations helped out as well, but I guess I had hoped for a greater outpouring of concern. more day, and we'll be able to celebrate.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Is it early, or is it just me?

So it's really only 2007? Coulda fooled me.

We've got presidential candidates debating on TV, congressional candidates lining up in the Maine 1st District, and the media frenzy of a major election year. All that's missing is voter (and volunteer) enthusiasm.

Take an informal bumper sticker poll yourself, and you'll see what I mean. Or better yet, ask your friends if they think the absolute, ultimate, greatest presidential candidate has come over their radar yet.