Monday, November 5, 2012


Despite my longing for this drawn-out electoral season to be over, I must report my pride in a family member who is volunteering, despite having a busy full-time job. Those who register voters and make phone calls are maintaining our democratic heritage. This brings back memories of sixty years ago, when I was active in the U.K. at the time of national elections. As an undergraduate, I went to work (over time) in at least three different constituencies. We received free board and lodging, and were under the direction of local leaders. Two of my forays were in marginal constituencies in the Midlands, one being Hucknall. One was in a safe Tory seat (Salisbury), where I was put up at the beautiful home of a wealthy surgeon and his charming wife, in the Cathedral Close. Happy memories! We would speak at "town hall" meetings, make calls on homes, and engage in stump-type speeches, using a loudspeaker in various neighborhoods. Fortunately for our fellow-citizens, campaigns lasted only six weeks, after the Prime Minister had called for new elections. Constituencies in England were quite compact. It was very important to identify your supporters, and make sure that they voted. We had lists of all eligible voters by streets, and we would knock on every door for a short inquiry. We would mark up our list to identify those who favored our candidate, those opposed, and "uncertain". (Experience taught us that almost all of those in the latter category were also opposed.) We would also ask our supporters if the needed transportation to the polls, and (if so) we would make arrangements to get them ther as early as convenient. On election day, we would have workers at the polling place, who would do their best to learn who had come to vote, and we would mark them off on our lists. With about two hours until the polls closed, we would send a car to the address of the missing voter, and offer a ride to the precinct. Nowadays we vote by mail. This year, our ballots were in the mailbox more than three weeks prior to November 6

1 comment:

  1. I'm afraid to say Salisbury is still a safe Tory seat!