Marriage Equality, Politics

Vote Early

No on 1

We’re in the midst of a campaign to preserve our new law allowing same-sex marriage in Maine. Out-of-state money and ads remade from the Prop 8 fight in California claim to represent Maine Values, but our side is fighting back with good ads and strong volunteer efforts.

I volunteered at the Marriage Equality phone bank the other night. I say this not to garner praise; it was a pretty small contribution of time and effort, all things considered.

But here’s what I found fascinating.

We were calling identified supporters (mostly true) to ask them to vote early. This is a strategy devised to boost turnout, since many of the supporters of same-sex marriage are not people who have a history of voting regularly. Maine traditionally has good voter turnout, but this is an off-year election, so it’s clear the get-out-the-vote effort will matter a lot. Southern Maine organizers of the campaign have devised a script and a philosophy that works for younger, urban voters who, quite honestly, are the most likely to get busy on Election Day and forget to go to the polls.

My call list, however, was to small towns on the coast and in more interior sections of Maine. And I’m here to tell you that Maine Values in those small towns include going to the polls to vote. The idea of voting early seemed absurd! Absurd. If I live three doors or three blocks from the polling place, in a town with no traffic, in a town where I see all my neighbors when I go to vote, why would I want to vote absentee?

Now, the advantage to the campaign is clear once it’s explained. Every week the Secretary of State will publish a list of those who have voted, and the Marriage Equality campaign will cross-check that list with its list of identified supporters and stop calling those who have voted. It both helps with “turn out” and allows the resources to be turned in other directions, to undecided voters.

So, I got the message I preached, and this morning, I applied online for an absentee ballot.

If you live in Maine, and you are planning to vote No on 1 (yes, I know that’s counter-intuitive, but that’s the way you need to vote to support same-sex marriage here), please consider clicking here and requesting an absentee ballot. Please think about voting early.

And if you’re related to me–Snowman will be voting absentee, if he remembers to request a ballot–just do it. Thanks.

Because whenever and however you do it, voting is a Maine Value.

7 thoughts on “Vote Early”

  1. Rock on with your phone-banking self!!! Sending you good dialing thoughts and throat lozenges.

  2. Yeah, they’re pretty good at using that “vote no” to get the yes that you want. It’s been done in Michigan for same sex marriage and affirmative actions proposals.
    If a group has to be devious to get their way, what does that say?

  3. “Because whenever and however you do it, voting is a Maine Value.”
    Yet another reason why I love Mainers!

  4. Thanks for phonebanking! And I got a postcard in the mail yesterday that I’m going to send in. Just in case of the swine flu or something. First absentee ballot since 1972, I hope things go better for our side than they did then!

  5. Huh. Very nicely put. I (being from the coast, dontchaknow) had a gut “why on EARTH should I vote absent and miss saying hi to Mrs. Cunningham and the funny lady who loves pocketbooks she has so much that she has 2500, both of whom work at the polls?” reaction, but this info helps me put it all into perspective. Perhaps I will talk to BH (more prone to forget to vote than I am) and we’ll vote absentee together!
    –Would love a good bumper sticker, too, but I bet those’ll be at the Conf. this weekend. . .

  6. The whole bumper sticker thing is funny for pastors. I guess it depends on which church you serve, but sometimes it’s not worth the controversy to have them. On the other hand, I have room for one…
    Can’t wait to see what you’re knitting this weekend!

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