Is this any way to run an election?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/southbeachcars/8150539704/in/photolist-6Axky5-dofEB1-6EfcB6-78hQiT-dofEQm-dofF1u-dofwZc-dofwLF-dofEMs-dofExm-5C3ZJM-5C3ZEx-5C3ZPT-9RWY5h-dqeDuC-5yhFRR-8Yi5u9-6oqStP-5wjkXt-2fqC2-5xGJQV-ac55u-5zisnU-5z4oqB-7YH176-7YLgj7-5zeazF-7ZkWpL-7ZhHsT-7YHViU-7YGZAn-7Zgydh-dqm4xE-dqm6hq-5z4ouX-drrkpU-7Zgxzb-9chSab-7Zmb25-dqm6RN-dqm1BP-4SgQQR-4Sm7i5-5wjhst-5wGZco-5wCDzR-5sZUor-4WPrVx-5JoVxt-5zhH6p

I am a long time consistent voter – one of the ones that even shows up for primaries in off year local elections!  Perhaps that is not surprising since I am a political science professor.  But what might surprise you is that I had never volunteered for any “on the ground” election activities like poll greeting, poll watching, or poll assistance.   This year I decided to do that, in part because I was expecting my students to engage in some kind of political activity for class and I thought I ought to do what I was expecting them to do, and in part because I was concerned about claims that the election system was” rigged” in some way (I heard this claim from both sides of the aisle).  This blog post is a reflection on what I learned and experienced when I left the “ivory tower” and volunteered as a poll observer on election day.

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Three Reasons Why It’s Hard to Vote in Local Elections—and Why I’ll Vote Anyway

The other afternoon, a woman knocked at my door. Her forehead was dewy with sweat, her chest heaving a bit with the exertion of tackling the hill in front of our house. “My husband is running for county sheriff,” she gasped, “and I hope you’ll consider voting for him.” After quickly outlining the man’s fine, electable qualities, she pressed a postcard into my hands and thanked me for my time.

No, seriously. Thank you, lady. Because unless your husband turns out to be in league with the Devil, he gets my vote.

I have a simple rule about elections: If I meet you in person, or if you send a personal emissary to my door, nine times out of ten I’ll vote for you. Human contact wins me every time. Does that make me a ridiculously easy sell? Undoubtedly. But the Doorstep Test also gauges what I feel is an important quality in a candidate: desire. I want to know how badly you want to be elected. If you’re hoofing up my street at dinnertime, the answer is probably “pretty badly.”

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