I've just had my first experience of registering voters and I believe I may have missed my calling. Not only did I love it, but to my surprise, I was good at it. Normally I hate accosting strangers. I may be one of the few women around who would rather get hopelessly lost than stop and ask directions. There's always a tape playing in my head of the reasons someone probably doesn't want to talk to me: they're late for an appointment; it's time for their son's nap; they just had a fight with their husband. Even if they're not in a hurry, maybe they're in a bad mood.
But armed with a clipboard and a fresh batch of crisp white voter registration forms, I turned out to be unstoppable. No excuses. Kids fussy? I'm happy to amuse them while you fill out your form. Need to check in for a doctor's appointment? I'll sit with you in the waiting room while you get this done. Aren't eligible to vote because you are an ex-felon? Wait! The law has changed! Sit right here and we'll get you registered. It will only take a minute.
Not everyone needed persuading. Many people I met had already registered to vote, and some expressed great enthusiasm about our efforts. There were hugs and offers of help. Thus I enlisted several deputies, including Kenneth Eady, a young man who told me that he was planning to attend a vice-presidential-debate-watching party that night at a skating rink. The voter registration deadline was looming and he was sure that some of the guests still needed signing up. I gave him all the forms I had left. “When everyone gets there,” I joked, “just lock the door and don't let them out until they've filled out the forms.”
I phoned the next day to see how things had gone, and discovered that Kenneth also had succumbed to registration fever. After signing up a dozen or so new voters at the roller rink, he'd acquired a second batch of forms from the Vote from Home headquarters. I caught him just as he was about to head out and start canvassing campus restaurants. “There are only two more days!” he reminded me, and I knew someone else had found a calling.