Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Vote Today Ohio–Day 3–Shuttling in the Rain

Kent StateAfter nearly two months of on-campus work by various organizations, almost all students at Kent State University now say that they’re registered to vote.

cloudThe temperature is in the low 50s. The sky is light gray. And a hard rain falls intermittently.

This is my third day on campus, standing beside the Vote Today Ohio van outside the Student Center. There are 23,622 students enrolled here, and I think I’ve spoken to almost all of them.

One-third of them approach with cell phones or iPod earbuds blocking them from the outside world. One-half pass by without breaking stride, my words trailing behind them like Mom’s “For the fourth time, please take out the trash.” But one-sixth stop to listen politely or with interest to my animated exhortation to “avoid the long lines on Election Day.” Of these, a few sign up for the short ride to the Portage County Board of Elections in Ravenna.

This morning we adopted a new strategy. We are now scheduling them for upcoming trips instead of just trusting the students’, “I’ll come back later.”

“Are you going to class now? When are you free? We leave every hour, on the hour.” I take down first name and cell number so we may text a reminder an hour before the scheduled trip.¬† This works. We schedule two dozen collegians, Election Boardwith many prospects in play. And one of the students shows me a back road that cuts my driving time by a third.

At the Board of Elections in Ravenna, I lead the students in, and since they have filled out all the paperwork during the ride, the election personnel (all women) process them easily and quickly. I expected a cliché: county employee crankiness. Wrong. All are extraordinarily pleasant and cooperative.

One Comment

  1. Julie says:

    Wow! I sat next to the Question Mark guy at a booksigning in Birmingham, AL four years ago! And strangely enough, I’m going back to the same booksigning next week!

    I wonder if he will be there…

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