Registering Voters

I was at a local mall today inviting people to register to vote.  The response was very interesting and quite revealing. Most people smiled and said either, “no thanks,” or “I’m already registered.” A few grumbled, “I don’t like either candidate.”

I’m a non-aligned voter myself, but the voter registration drive was organized by the local Democratic party, so the volunteers were wearing “I’m ready for Hillary” stickers on their shirts. This brought a range of responses. Two middle aged men approached the leader and said, “It’s illegal for you to wear that [Hillary] sticker when you do this you know.” She politely said, “No, it’s not illegal. We aren’t telling people how to vote, we are just registering them.” He was clearly trying to intimidate the young girl and got right in her face and repeated himself only louder. She backed away and politely said, “I’m not willing to discuss this with you.” He blustered some more and then left.

The volunteers fanned out and I took up a position near the entrance to the food court. As people approached I asked, “Would you like to register to vote?”  Many young people said “no,” and looked away.  About half the adults said they were already registered and some thanked us for asking.  In the two hours I was there three men made pointed comments. One said he’d like to vote to put Hillary Clinton in jail. Another said he didn’t like any candidate. The third said he was disgusted with everything about politicians and launched into a rant about low wages and union busting.

One woman got several paces past me and returned when it clicked that I was registering voters and not selling something.  She filled out the registration and thanked me. Another returned after doing her shopping and said she had been thinking about it and changed her mind. She registered.

The experience left me with the impression that the Republicans I encountered are seething with anger and the Democrats are happy to see volunteers getting more people to become voters. Those who identified themselves were cheery and upbeat.

I don’t suppose the GOP works the malls. From what I saw, anybody who stopped to register was likely to lean liberal. It would really gall a conservative to be registering voters who seemed likely to vote for the Democrats. Me, I’m happy to see anybody get in involved. I’ll trust that a new voter will listen to the messages and decide rightly.