At the Northwest Tucson Democratic Headquarters, nobody slept in late this morning. Volunteers were at their polling places with water and candidate information or out canvassing long before the rise of the warm Arizona sun.
Val was at her voting place at 6 a.m. "It was a happy line! Voters were overwhelmingly optimistic," she said. The early birds were particularly happy to face only a twenty minute wait. "We were encouraging people to join the line. We told them 'the wait is shorter than the express line at the grocery store.'"
Thomas was out canvassing at 5 a.m., he wanted to do his part before he went to work for the day.
Mary Jane went to her polling place at 5:30 a.m., thinking she'd be first in line. She found nearly 40 people already there, waiting patiently in the dark. They all smiled at her when she joined them.
The office has been humming since the early morning. Three lawyers are assisting anyone turned away or reporting problems with voting; so far the calls have mostly involved confusion as to where to vote. With every available phone n use, volunteers are plunking down on the floor with a list and their cell phone, determined to encourage every single voter to make it the polls. Callers had many stories to tell; one volunteer called an elderly voter who assured her she was definitely going to vote. "My son is coming to get me," she reported proudly. "He's a doctor!"
Robo-calls and election tricks were still being made last night. One gentleman got a call telling him to vote on Wed. "They told me that the lines were going to be too long on Tuesday so voting was being extended until Wed." He paused and smiled. "I told him he was barking up the wrong tree, because I had already voted."
Cheryl Cage, Democratic candidate for Arizona State Senate, just came in the office, tired but happy. "Actually, I'm ecstatic," the candidate said with a big smile. "The energy of the volunteers is exhilarating." She paused and looked around at the crowded office. "No matter what happens, I know we did everything we could possibly do. I have no regrets."
One volunteer told me what he called 'his most memorable call.' When he asked the voter if she'd voted, he said she paused for a minute before replying. "First, she asked if she could bring her young children with her to the polls. I told her, yes, absolutely. Then she told me her husband was serving in Iraq." The volunteer who told me this story was visibly moved as he finished the story. "She said she was white, her husband was black, and she wanted her children to see her vote because she wanted them to always, always remember this day."