Poll Watching with DadHTP

in All Posts

If you weren’t aware, there is an election coming up.  Juuust kidding.  How could you possibly miss it amidst the television ads, Facebook rants, and debate watch parties?  On that note, I thought it would be fun to share a guest post from DadHTP, who volunteers with the Democratic Party as a poll watcher.  He’s been doing this for every presidential election (and then some) for more than 30 years.  In fact, remember the scandalous ‘hanging chad’ incident of 2000?  Yup.  My dad was one of the Florida volunteers who assisted during the recounting process.  Regardless of which party they are affiliated with (if any at all), poll watchers like DadHTP are very important because they help ensure the election process stays as fair as possible.


Take it away, DadHTP…


Our elections – the core of democracies – runs primarily on volunteers. True, there are elected officials at county, state, and federal levels to manage elections, but they are there to administer the laws and organize the volunteers.  In turn, volunteer citizens do much of the ground work of keeping polling places available and open.  Volunteers also serve as ‘watchdogs’ for the parties, providing a means for the political parties to look over the shoulder of the election process and make sure laws are followed.    So, before I get into the details, a shout out for all volunteer poll workers, judges and observers – they make the elections work.


Laws differ from state to state, but this is how things go in North Carolina. We have two classes of poll watchers – inside and outside watchers.  I volunteer with the Democratic party, and all Democratic party observers are required to attend a three hour training session.  The function of poll watchers is to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote gets to vote; the observer just keeps an eye out for problems.


To be an inside poll watcher, your party has to submit your name for approval to the Board of Elections. This is really pro-forma; if you’re registered to vote, you’ll be approved.  This process ensures that there is accountability and prevents parties from putting a ton of ‘observers’ inside a polling place, which can create unfair pressure on voters. 


North Carolina has two volunteer Election Judges in each polling place; if there is a question about a voter’s eligibility, the judge is the person that determines whether the person can vote. The insider poll observer’s job is to make sure the law is followed.  Although the Election Judges receive training, sometimes a law is applied or interpreted incorrectly (as a poll observer, I’ve seen many times it), not from any sense of malice but because it can require a quick decision on the law by someone that’s not a lawyer. 


As an inside observer, you are not allowed to talk directly to the voter – if you see a discussion between a judge and a voter, you stand next to them and listen. If you think there’s a clear error, you can ask the judge why the voter isn’t allowed to vote, but this gets tricky. Some judges are glad to hear you out if they’ve misunderstood a fact or made a error; others will have you immediately ejected. Normally, if you are polite and phrase your question in a non-confrontational manner, you’ll be fine. This is one reason that it’s good for poll watchers to arrive early and introduce yourself to Election Judges. 


In North Carolina, outside observers must stay 50 feet away from the polling place (you will probably see a chalk line drawn in the parking lot; poll observers and people promoting certain candidates must stay behind this line).  Outside poll watchers play a different roll that the insider observers, but their job is equally important.  Their job is to answer questions from voters and document any efforts to discourage people from voting (for instance, telling the people in line that it’s illegal to vote if you’ve been convicted of a felony, which isn’t true in North Carolina).  Outsider poll observers can also ask people exiting the polling place if everything went smoothly. 


The final obligation for all poll watchers is to call your party’s lawyers if there’s a problem.  I had to do this yesterday, and it was resolved quickly. Our lawyer called the Supervisor of the Board of Elections, the BoE called the voting place and explained the law to the Election Judge.  It took five minutes, and everything was good.


Unfortunately, throughout our nation’s history, there have been efforts from a few people on both sides of the aisle to prevent people who are eligible to vote from voting.  Although we’d like to believe this issue is a thing of the past, it still happens fairly regularly – for example, there is a major effort by some people in the Tea Party Organization to discourage voting by certain groups (check out this New York Times article).  Everyone is welcomed to participate in the process by becoming a poll watcher, but it’s never a watcher’s job to stop ineligible people from voting – that’s the duty of the Election Judges.  The reality is that voter fraud is exceptionally rare:


A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent.

The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.


Thus, the big concern for poll watchers like myself is that people who are eligible to vote get to vote, and people who want to stop people from voting are prevented from doing so.  It’s a very important part of our democratic process, and every election cycle, I am proud to participate. 


One final word:  If you’re in North Carolina and would like to volunteer with the Democratic Party as a poll watcher, you can contact Elizabeth Goodwin at goodwin@ofanc.com.  If you’re a Democrat in another state or with the Republican Party, reach out to your local party’s branch for more information on poll watching. 



  • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 12:39 pm

    and if you’re not in NC – I’m looking at you, Ohio, Virginia and Florida – please go to Barackobama.com and sign up to volunteer!

    • Natalie @ Free Range Human October 25, 2012, 1:34 pm

      Love this 🙂 DadHTP is a rockstar!

    • Megan October 25, 2012, 2:57 pm

      or you can go to http://www.mittromney.com/forms/volunteer-opportunities to volunteer too! Let’s not leave out republicans!

      • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 3:09 pm

        We purposefully did NOT leave out the republicans in this post 🙂 Equal rep for everyone!

      • Ashley October 25, 2012, 5:09 pm

        Was gonna say the same thing!! Mitt!! 🙂

      • Tiffany October 25, 2012, 5:43 pm

        I agree!!

    • Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles October 25, 2012, 3:00 pm

      Nevada and Colorado too!!

    • Elisabeth October 25, 2012, 11:20 pm

      Ohio Obama supporter here!!

      • Lea October 26, 2012, 8:02 pm

        Same here! Will be volunteering for Obama next Saturday!

  • Laine October 25, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Thanks for that explanation!

  • Anya October 25, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Very interesting. Thanks for posting Caitlin and DadHTP. As a plain old voter, and not a very political person kn general, it’s cool to hear about what goes on behind the scenes!

  • Amy October 25, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Thanks, DadHTP! Just voted for Barack Obama in Charlotte on Monday!

    • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 1:57 pm

      Thank you! Please help get your friends to the polls – over 800,000 have voted in NC already, with D’s having a strong lead !

      • Ashley October 25, 2012, 5:11 pm

        Lets get the word out for Mitt! If we’re pushing political agendas on others via the Internet.

        • Jessica October 25, 2012, 6:42 pm

          Yes, I agree. This seems a little inappropriate, and I’m dissapointed.

          • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 7:25 pm

            I fail to see how writing a post about maintaining the fairness of the electoral process is ‘pushing political agendas’ or ‘inappropriate’ especially when he gives a shout out at the end for volunteers from both parties to come forth. Obviously my father is a democrat and wants to encourage other voters. That is what volunteering with any political party is all about. It’s not like he’s ripping the other side in the process. I really cannot see how this is upsetting, but then again, I too have gotten a bit worked up over political stuff in the last few weeks. 🙂 Never fear – in two weeks, either way, it’ll all be over (for now!).

          • Lindsay October 25, 2012, 8:26 pm

            I have to say that I am just disappointed that you chose to make it very clear that you ONLY vote for democrats and do NOT want Mitt Romney to be president. I think you should possibly try and find someone that can provide information from the Republican side if you want to truly be fair Caitlin.

          • Jenny October 25, 2012, 11:08 pm

            Uhhh. It’s her blog. She can say whatever she wants. First Amendment 🙂

          • Meg October 26, 2012, 11:03 am

            Agree! Wasn’t expecting the “you better get out there and vote & volunteer for Obama!”

            how about just encouraging people to get educated and vote in general?

        • Brit October 26, 2012, 12:26 pm

          YEA MITT!!!!!!! let’s turn this country around for the better

    • Elisabeth October 25, 2012, 11:18 pm

      I’m sorry, but this is Caitlin’s blog & she can share any opinion she likes. She & her dad are Democrats and since a blog is your own opinion, I see no reason why she needs to be ‘fair’ to Republicans. Post support for Mitt on your own blog!

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut October 25, 2012, 12:50 pm

    This is interesting, I had no idea these volunteers existed! I will pay better attention when I go to vote this time. On a related note, the whole “horses and bayonets” comment still makes me chuckle when I think about it. Tehe

  • Julie October 25, 2012, 12:54 pm

    Awesome job Dad HTP! Thanks for the info, and Go Barack!

    • Mike November 6, 2012, 8:20 am

      Does “57 states” make you chuckle too? How about “first time proud of my country . .” or G** D*** America”? Got your Obamaphone?

  • Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire October 25, 2012, 1:02 pm

    My family’s garage was the location of a few local elections when I was younger, so I had a sneak peak into that process. Of course, a national election is much different! Thanks for sharing your experience, DadHTP! Good for you for volunteering, too, and making elections possible! I applaud and thank you!

  • Lana October 25, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Great post, DadHTP!

    I live (without cable, thankfully) in Ohio, and conservative groups put up billboards in low-income areas of Cleveland and Columbus proclaiming that “Voter Fraud is a Crime!”
    Personally, I think voter intimidation should be a crime. Luckily, the billboards have been met with much protest, and there are now billboards that correctly point out the fact that voting is a RIGHT.

  • Eva October 25, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Thank you DadHTP! I’m an attorney involved with voter protection in Nevada for Obama! We need all the help we can get to make sure everyone’s voice is heard

    • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 1:58 pm

      thank YOU! Fired up and ready to go!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 25, 2012, 1:32 pm

    I had no idea about all of this! I’ve only ever voted either absentee ballot, or at the church in my neighborhood in Kansas City, where it’s usually pretty empty and not too exciting!

  • Ebernst October 25, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Thanks for this really interesting post! I didn’t really understand the role of poll observers, but this was a great look on the inside of the election process. During my first presidental election (2008), I was so confused when some guy afterwards asked me if everything was all right inside the polling place…now, I know why!

    Mostly, I really appreicate the work by you and all election officials for promoting safe and fair elections. I lived abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua and was shocked when I heard that in some elections (like the mayoral election in my town) they litterally threw out ballots for the other canidates.

    Sometimes I complain about all the poltical ads and such…but in reality America’s elections FTW!

  • Melanie October 25, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Thanks for the cool info! I am in VA and I can’t wait to vota for Obama again on election day!

  • Rachel October 25, 2012, 1:47 pm

    Thanks DadHTP for your volunteering!

  • Laura October 25, 2012, 1:58 pm

    Very cool. Thanks for the explanation 🙂

  • Katie Heddleston October 25, 2012, 1:58 pm

    very informative. thank you!

  • jessica October 25, 2012, 2:00 pm

    Yeah dad htp! it is important to stand up for voter rights!
    let me share some tidbits from my time working elections here in Connecticut. i recently attended a class for moderators. moderators sit in the front of the room, overseeing, taking notes, and remedying problems with the tabulators (we use scantron like ballots).

    Now, i’m not naive. i know people i have biases, but it really shocks me when people think they can then apply the biases to voters. one woman said she would not register someone who LOOKED foreign. someone in the class promptly announced they were from france, would she not register them? she said she wold because french people aren’t a large concern for voter fraud. i was shocked! because of people like this we need to be advocates for ourselves.

    know what kind of id you need to present, if any, and dont just leave if you have a problem. in connectict a voter needs to present id with a photo and signature, signature and imprinted name, or other various ids. some poll workers refuse to accept anything but a license with the correct address printed on it. this is illegal! you do not need an address printed on the id to vote, but i’ve seen many older poll workers harass voters for their preferred form of id.

    while i appreciate elderly poll workers, sometimes they act against the training they receive, or have other problems throughout the very long day due to vision or hearing loss which can create problems for the voters. rant over! connecticut pays poll workers a very decent wage, get out and work at your polling place!

  • Rachel October 25, 2012, 2:11 pm

    Just had to throw in a shout out for the Republicans, too 🙂 Vote for Mitt!

    • Megan October 25, 2012, 2:53 pm

      I second this! Woop woop.

      • Aggie October 25, 2012, 3:49 pm

        I third this! Vote for Mitt! I just did and I am in Ohio where it is going to be close.

        • Tara October 25, 2012, 4:50 pm

          I fourth this! I’m in Florida.

          • Kristy October 25, 2012, 9:14 pm

            In FL too.. Supporting Romney!

          • wendi October 25, 2012, 9:44 pm

            Can I just ask why all of you women are supporting Romney? I am 100% behind Obama (in a red state), but I would like to hear why you (or any other women voting for him) are supporting a man who doesn’t seem to have your best interests in mind.

          • Katie October 26, 2012, 8:04 pm

            I would love to know the answer to that as well! As a woman, I am curious as to what motivates other women to vote Romney. I am in WI and just voted early for Obama!

    • Kelli October 25, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Here here 🙂

      • Helene October 25, 2012, 5:36 pm

        Another Romney supporter here:)! I just got back from a 5 miler around my neighborhood and passed 4 Romney signs! And I live in a middle class, democrat neighborhood in NY! Nov. 6 can’t come soon enough though- sick of politics taking over the news

        • Kristee October 25, 2012, 6:25 pm

          Agreed. In Michigan and absolutely voting
          for Mitt!

        • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 7:26 pm

          Haha Helene – I agree. I can’t wait to hear about something else on NPR.

      • Tiffany October 25, 2012, 5:51 pm


        • Lindsay October 25, 2012, 8:29 pm

          I am a republican in a VERY democratic state! I will vote and hopefully my vote will help prevent another four years of hopelessness from such a terrible president!

          • Jenny October 25, 2012, 11:18 pm

            I don’t know what hopelessness you’re talking about. I think our president is pretty great actually. I have better health insurance, my friends can get married (at least in Iowa…yeah we rock), my sister and her hubs got $8,000 back for buying a new home, I have rights to MY uterus, other countries are starting to like us again, we can serve PRIDEfully in our military…I could go on. I’d sure be sad if we had Mittens in office.

    • Baroque Diva October 25, 2012, 8:50 pm

      No, thank you! I’ll be casting my vote proudly to keep a women’s right to choose (especially the right to life, but the CHOICE to choose life!), and also to allow my gay and lesbian fellow citizens in the military to continue to openly serve, not to mention grant all citizens equal rights regardless of sexual orientation! But really, go ahead and vote against all of that if you choose- it is your right!

      • M October 25, 2012, 9:23 pm


      • Allison October 25, 2012, 9:42 pm

        Exactly. As a lesbian myself, I am clearly so thrilled to see people excited to vote for a man who is hellbent on taking away my rights.

        • Lauren October 25, 2012, 10:50 pm

          Yep, I love knowing that as a lesbian, my civil rights are in jeopardy because you’re all supporting Romney. Thrilled to know so many women have my back.

      • Anne October 26, 2012, 7:16 am

        Yess. Kudos.

      • Christine October 26, 2012, 4:49 pm

        right?! I don’t get how any woman who values autonomy over her own body could ever vote for Mitt. I’m disturbed

        • Chrissy October 26, 2012, 7:16 pm

          I’ve seen lots of good reasons to vote for Obama on this thread, and no specific reasons to vote for Romney. Wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not.

          I live in NC and will be voting this week. Go, Obama, go!

          • Anne October 27, 2012, 8:53 am

            I think there was a misunderstanding in the multiple replies here, my support go to fundamental civil and gay rights. My gouvernment supports Obama here !

    • Ashley October 27, 2012, 4:37 am

      Yes!! ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!

  • Rachel Starr October 25, 2012, 2:20 pm

    How interesting! Here in WA we all get our ballots mailed to us. To my knowledge there are to polling places. But I’m a distracted momma so I could be wrong. In my opinion, having my ballot mailed to my home makes the whole process a lot simpler.

    But just to balance things out, if you’re a Republican & your state does have polling places, go volunteer! It’s not just a job for Dems 😉

  • Anya October 25, 2012, 2:42 pm


    Just as an FYI, voter fraud IS a crime. Not saying that the posting of the billboards in that are is ethical or should be done. But it is a crime. On that note, since everyone on this site is a
    Barack supporter (not surprising), go Mitt! 🙂

    I’m actually undecided and wish politics (both sides) wasn’t taking over ever aspect of life! I, for one, can’t wait until the election is over. I think our 2-party system is ridiculous and think all 4 candidates (for P and VP) are clowns!

    • Lana October 25, 2012, 3:03 pm

      I am well aware that voter fraud is a crime. However, voter fraud is extremely rare, and posting those billboards in low-income/minority areas is meant to intentionally intimidate voters. Why not post them in wealthy suburbs or rural areas?

      • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 3:08 pm

        Yup, exactly!

    • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 7:16 pm

      please read the link on voter fraud. The real situation is voter suppression, not fraud.

      • Brittney October 29, 2012, 10:16 am


        I think it should be said that the link you provided is a editorial, which by definition is someone’s opinion. Not saying that the article doesn’t have valid points, it may, but it is important to keep in mind that it is a one sided argument.

  • Kim October 25, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Huh, I’ve never heard of this. Do they do this in a lot of states?

    • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 7:17 pm

      Everywhere except Oregon, which is a totally vote by mail state.

      • Julie October 25, 2012, 11:53 pm

        Washington is also completely vote by mail. It works very well!

        Also, it makes me so happy to hear about Democratic volunteers! It’s the people on the ground that push our party in the right (left!) direction.

      • Laura WL November 1, 2012, 7:31 pm

        For the record Oregon also has polling places so that people without a physical address can vote. (like homeless people, who absolutely have a right to vote!) Love my state and love my voting process!

  • eliza October 25, 2012, 2:55 pm


    • shell October 25, 2012, 8:05 pm

      YEAH Obama! Voting for Obama over here from TX 🙂

    • wendi October 25, 2012, 9:45 pm

      go Barack go!!!

  • Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles October 25, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Great post! I was an inside poll watcher once when I was working (as a paid staffer) on a crongressional campaign and it was really interesting. Now that I’ve moved to SF, I rarely if ever, see poll workers form the parties (or at least not in the neighborhoods where I vote).

  • Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets October 25, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Thanks for the informative post. Makes me so happy you are helping others learn about this. This is quite an important elections, especially for women.

  • Allison October 25, 2012, 3:03 pm

    Fired up and ready to go! Thanks for volunteering. These voter ID laws are nuts.

  • Angela October 25, 2012, 3:39 pm

    I’m in the UK and it’s interesting to hear about the actual workings of US elections as we pretty much don’t hear anything positive about your political system. We don’t have perfect system here by any means but I don’t think I could stand for all the negativity you guys seem to get thrown at you.

  • Sonia the Mexigarian October 25, 2012, 3:40 pm

    Interesting. I never knew that side of of volunteer poll watchers.

    I generally absentee vote and walk my ballot to the church down the street, which I find ironic and out of place, since the church usually posts signs for the opposing party and views opposite mine.

    Ex. They had several signs supporting Prop 8 right outside the doors of the poll place. I seriously wanted to kick those signs down. Luckily, someone called and they had to remove those signs.

  • Anne Carson October 25, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Thanks for fantastic article. Hope you follow in your Dad’s footsteps.

    Anne Carson

  • Alexa October 25, 2012, 4:18 pm

    Trying to register to vote with recently moving in Virginia has been a chore and a half. I’m afraid I will be turned away at my polling place because I don’t have a voter card yet, even if I do bring a utility bill. I sent in my information over a month ago, it’s so maddening. I tried to send things in to do absentee as well because of being due to have a baby Nov. 1, and it was nearly impossible. I couldn’t even find where to send my absentee information. That said, I’ll be in line then (unless I’m in labor) hoping I’m able to vote on Nov. 6

    • Carol October 25, 2012, 6:04 pm

      Alexa- voting in person in Virginia
      from http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/votinginperson.html
      It lists accepted forms of id.

      ” A voter who arrives at the polling place without an acceptable form of identification will be given the opportunity to vote a provisional ballot. After completing the provisional ballot, the individual voting will be given written instructions from the election officials on how to submit a copy of his/her identification so that his/her vote can be counted. ”

      It looks as though you mail the form which is linked on the page to your local general registrar’s office. There’s an address look up provided.

  • Juliet October 25, 2012, 4:49 pm

    It is great you volunteer! Informative post! I was feeling a little burnt out from this election but getting more into it now that it is closer.

  • Emily October 25, 2012, 5:11 pm

    This is really interesting! In the UK we have observers that can go inside but these are not party organised. We have ‘polling stations’ (usually Church halls, schools etc) and it is amusing to hear them called polling places :).

    I will do some reading about the American system because I don’t really understand it. Here we have an electoral roll which is maintained by local government. They write to every household every autumn and you are required to return it accurately. It records every householder 16+ (in preparation for voting from 18). When you move you can write to be included in the electoral roll, or wait til they do their mailing. Then a few weeks before an election how to register to vote is publicised by the centrally run Electoral Commission (who oversee all the processes of every vote on every level). Then polling cards are sent out to each person with details of their polling station on, though you don’t need this to vote – just your name and address. There are options for postal ballots and proxy votes (for sick people etc). A proxy vote can be organised in an emergency situation up to 5pm on election day.

    Polling stations don’t allow anyone in but the returning officers conducting the vote (there are two who check names + numbers on the electoral roll, compare them and then hand out the ballot papers), and observers who are licensed by the Electoral Commission.

    Outside the polling station each party is allowed one representative and they are allowed a small declaration of their party – eg a small rosette – but nothing big or intimidating, and they aren’t allowed to encourage people to vote for them or to handout literature. These are ‘tellers’. Tellers ask for the name/address/polling card of people coming out of the polling station, and mark these off of the electoral roll. This is for election strategy since parties will know from doorstepping etc who is likely to vote for them, and if they haven’t voted will phone or doorstep them again. There is a lot of thought here that winning is about getting out the vote, and getting it out is traditionally down to the local activists to call, doorstep, drive people there etc.

    Probably no one is interested in that, but that’s how we do it here!

    What I do find particularly interesting is scale. Our polling stations serve quite small areas. Usually it is within 5 minutes walking distance, though obviously more for rural areas (every year the media write about ‘odd’ polling stations: castles, hair salons, buses, pubs). So big queues are rare. There have been a few publicised incidents of people having to queue for 30 minutes, but every time I have voted I have walked right in, got my ballot and voted. I think maybe this is because of the small populations the polling stations serve and how well staffed they are? (even when turnout is good, queues are small)

    However, whenever I see US election coverage I seem to see queues! Sometimes quite big ones! I wonder if this is just because its more fun for them to show the queues, or if it is more normal? I’d be worried that queueing makes voting tough for people who are busy or have caring responsibilities. Is there simple provision for postal voting?

    • Jackie October 25, 2012, 6:58 pm

      I’ve only voted absentee in person or by absentee ballot, so I can’t speak to the long lines. But I bet it varies a lot town to town. Oh, no once I voted in person, but my registration card hadn’t come in the mail so I had to do same day voter registration and waited in a looooooong line for that.

      Each state varies for absentee or mail in voting. In Virginia, you had to have a documented reason you couldn’t vote on Election Day, like college or military service. You could go to courthouse and vote “absentee in person” early though. In Montana, you can request an absentee ballot to mail in for any reason but you can’t vote early in person. I think other states you can vote in person for a few weeks.

      I think one of the reasons you hear about early voting this election is because democrats are less likely to vote, because more are poor or elderly and could have trouble getting to the polls. Early voting helps with that.

    • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 7:21 pm

      I wish the U.S. did have universal registration. Our system is a hangover from when (at first) you had to be white, a land owner and a man to vote. Suffrage has gradually been extended, but given that history, plus slavery, there are powerful groups that want to limit voting to people like them. Yeah, it sucks.

      • Emily October 26, 2012, 12:43 pm

        Has there been a public debate about having universal registration? If so, what are the expressed reasons against it? Or is it just vested interests against properly enfranchising people?

        I also wonder how this affects voter turnout figures: how do returning officers decide how many eligible people there are in an area to then give a turn out figure? (here its just the number of people registered to vote who actually do) I know declining turnout is a problem common to pretty much all Western democracies, but might the system hide an even worse problem there?

        I was thinking about some differences in attitudes and if that might be a factor. Eg Americans have some different concepts of freedom/state interference – would such registration be considered a privacy issue?

        Do voters have to register for each election/how does it work for different types of election? Our electoral roll serves for all elections, and different people have different eligibility. Eg if you’re a French citizen resident in the UK you can vote in European parliament elections and in local government elections, but not in General elections or referendums.

        Its interesting to see the differing development because the UK has also gradually extended suffrage from a male land owning core. The current debate is over an EU ruling that suggests a blanket ban on prisoner voting is against human rights.

        • Claire October 26, 2012, 5:41 pm

          In Australia it is also compulsory for everyone 18 and older to vote. Similar to the UK as we are also based on the Westminster system. Everyone is on the electoral roll and this is used for elections at our three tiers of government – local, state and federal. Sometimes I find it really difficult to find a candidate who deserves my vote. When I really can’t decide, I get my name checked off (so that I won’t be fined for not voting) and then submit a blank ballot paper. I guess there are pros and cons to universal compulsory voting, but at least where you can choose to vote, the candidates really have to work for your vote. The down side of that is saturation media coverage and advertising, using millions of dollars that surely could be better spent. The media’s role here in Australia with compulsory voting is a concern though, as they can spread misinformation or fear campaigns to push their own agenda, resulting in poorly informed voters. Ahh democracy, it really is a crappy system, but it only hangs around because all the other alternatives are worse!

  • Heather October 25, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Loved this post! It made me want to volunteer. 🙂 I just mailed in my ballot because our town is very conservative and I can’t stand hearing people bash Democrats while I wait in line, so I decided to mail it in this year. OBAMA!!!!!!

  • briana October 25, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Thanks so much, DadHTP–for volunteering your time and energy AND for this informative post!

  • Carol October 25, 2012, 5:55 pm

    One of my library colleagues is a longtime poll precinct worker, now judge, in North Carolina. He strongly advises that if you have any issues or misgivings regarding a polling place or the behavior of precinct workers or political supporters outside polling places, inform the local Board of Elections THAT DAY.

    For example a colleague votes in a rather small town and found her polling place had arranged voting machines in a semicircle where a person’s vote could potentially be observed and a voter feel intimidated.

    Speak up is his advice. Both for yourself and for other voters.

    • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 7:23 pm

      Calling the BoE is a good idea – it’s even better if you can find a representative of your party to call their attorneys – otherwise you run the risk of getting voice mailed.

  • Jackie October 25, 2012, 6:49 pm

    Already voted!! Gobama! Actually, on a healthy note, I’m really excited about all the breast feeding (and pumping!) support written into the ACA/obamacare. Since I’m due in January, I have a lot riding on this!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 7:31 pm

      yeah! it is exciting. i can’t wait for stuff like that to be covered because it totally should be.

      • Jackie October 26, 2012, 10:05 am

        Lactation consultants and pump rentals are covered starting this past July.

  • Molly October 25, 2012, 8:13 pm

    I worked as an election observer in New Hampshire in ’04 – it was fascinating. The GOP volunteers were in casual attire and the Democrat volunteers wore suits to project authority and more people went to them for questions… It’s fuzzy math on both sides of the table…worst part is when people asked where their free cigarettes were b/c they had been told that they would get a pack of cigarettes from their union if they voted….ouch – you cannot buy votes!

  • Emily October 25, 2012, 8:43 pm

    I love DadHTP! This post was so informative and I love hearing about people getting involved in the democratic process.

  • Jen October 25, 2012, 9:36 pm

    I see you mentioned those vile Tea Party members (rolls eyes) but failed to mentioned the video documented voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers during the 2008 elections…
    ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 9:42 pm

      Actually, he definitely mentioned that voter intimidation happens on both sides of the aisle. Let’s keep it cool, guys.

    • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 10:21 pm

      And a handful of Black Panthers in a few locations isn’t quite the same as a multi-million dollar voter suppression plan by the Koch brothers. Not to say they’re right – but keep in mind how many people (a handful) and how many dollars (millions).

      • Christina October 26, 2012, 1:20 pm

        DadHTP, I agree with you. There are billboards going up in the poorest and most racially diverse areas in my city reminding those folks that voter fraud is a felony. However, the person/groups putting up these billboards do not have to reveal who they are. I am very concerned about what I consider to be a huge voter suppression effort.

        • Brittney October 29, 2012, 10:27 am

          I live in a middle/upper class area in WI and there are two signs within a mile of my house. Although they may be located in poor neighbors, they are not limited to those areas.

          While I find the signs somewhat useless, I do not think they are harmful. They are simply stating the facts. Voter fraud is illegal. Truth. I don’t know why anyone would be intimidated by these signs unless they were considering committing voter fraud. It would be like having a sign that said Car Theft is Illegal. I would not be intimidated by the sign unless I was considering stealing a car that night.

  • Jen October 25, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Oh no I can read I got that but to mention the Tea Party by name and not The New Black Panther Party is completely biased. I’m completely cool, informed and voting for Mitt.

    • Baroque Diva October 26, 2012, 12:54 am

      Honestly just curious… is it at all on your radar as a woman that you are going to be voting for someone who’s party is full of people ready to take women’s rights back to the 1970’s? I really am curious, since there are so many (I’m assuming educated) young women commenting here in favor of Romney.

      I’m very hopeful that Obama will get the majority of women’s votes on Nov 6, but I truly would like to know why you’d vote for Mitt as woman?

      Is it that women’s issues take a back burner to other issues you might disagree with Obama on? (Economy, healthcare, foreign policy…) Or, do you embrace the idea that women should not have control over their own bodies or have easy access to affordable birth control and free cervical cancer screenings and mammograms?

      Truly trying to understand- please do not reply if you’re going to get nasty. I know that it’s absolutely possible to be a feminist republican, but in this election I’m having a very hard time wrapping my head around it….

      (Says one Republican for Obama btw….)

      • Lisa October 26, 2012, 10:49 am

        Actually, I thought one of the most disrespectful items this entire campaign was the Lena Dunham ad about her “first time.” It was completely condescending and belittling to women. What about an appeal to a man’s “first time”?

        And to answer your question, the economy, terrorism threats, energy policy, and our spiraling national debt are only a few issues that matter much more to me in the scheme of things than a so-called war on women. There was affordable birth control long before Obamacare was passed, and there’s never been such a thing as a “free” mammogram or cervical cancer screening. Everything has a cost.

        • Baroque Diva October 28, 2012, 1:02 am

          not at Planned Parenthood. i was going for free for all my regular checkups throughout grad school!! it was completely free for my and i am ever thankful for that subsidy since i had to have a procedure done which directly prevented me from getting cervical cancer!

      • Stephanie October 26, 2012, 10:57 am

        Well said! I am curious to know the answer to this as well. It is honestly sad and scary to me that any woman in 2012 could support a candidate like Romney. His stance on women’s issues is dated and offensive to say the least.

      • Christina October 26, 2012, 11:31 am

        How many of our legislators openly associate with The New Black Panther Party? If you know of one, let’s hear it. I can name plenty of Tea Party legislators.

      • Erin October 26, 2012, 12:27 pm

        Ok, so I don’t know about Jen, but I know why I’m voting for Romney.
        In regards to the women’s rights issues, I do not believe that it is the government’s responsibility to provide for me. I’m a second year law student and I’m not dependent on anyone. I work to pay for room and board, scholarships covering the rest of tuition. I do not expect to get social security, so I must plan for another retirement. I grew up seeing my grandparents continue their habits from the Great Depression. They knew how to pinch pennies and my parents did the same. I intend to continue to stretch a dollar because I honestly believe that no one should be given handouts.
        I just think that as a country, we no longer have the luxury to support programs for women like the ones you mentioned. We need to cut everything. We can’t continue to spend into the deficit.
        It’s a bitter reality, but I honestly believe Obama has no real concrete plan to cut spending.

        • Meg October 26, 2012, 1:07 pm

          well said Erin! another woman here for Romney!

        • Christina October 26, 2012, 1:17 pm


          Sadly, Romney has no real plan to cut spending either. However, I do believe that society (and especially those with means) have a responsibility to care for the poor. I do not believe that feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless constitutes a handout. Sadly, we have not heard either candidate say much of anything about what they plan to do to eradicate poverty in this country. Romney promises everyone “jobs”, but no education. How does that constructively work towards people obtaining “good paying” jobs?

          You are a student, so you probably depend on the government to make the roads drivable to get to work, to provide you with low interest loans to go to school, to give you a very low tax rate so that you have enough income to meet your expenses, to provide you with clean drinking water and to pick up your trash. Do you consider these things handouts as well?

          • Stephanie October 26, 2012, 2:17 pm

            It’s easy to say you don’t believe in handouts when you are not the one in need. There will always be people that take advantage and rely too much on assistance, but that is not a reason to turn our backs on adults and children that are truely in need. If you are pro-life and dont support social programs to educate and provide healthcare for these children…you aren’t really pro-life…you are pro-birth.

            Foreign policy, healthcare, and the economy are always going to be complicated issues with debatable answers. What is not complicated….believing that EVERYONE should have the right to marry and have the same civil liberties as straight couples. Mitt Romney said that same sex couples getting hospital visitation rights is a privilege, not a right….that will never be the kind of person I can support for president.

          • Erin October 26, 2012, 5:54 pm

            Obama promised to cut the deficit in half by end of term. I won’t fall for that line again.
            I actually ride my bike, I don’t have any loans, and I live in a dorm. I do understand that I need the government to pave roads and take away the garbage. Which is why I pax taxes. (Although it is quite sad to see that part of my paycheck go away!)
            I am saying that we need to cut programs, all across the board. Look at Margaret thatcher, she cut things like nobody’s business and peopled HATED it. They still do, but Britain thrived under her leadership. Another example is Germany. After WWII, the country was devastated. But they turned it around by working hard and down sizing expenses all across the board.
            I agree that it would be lovely if our government could provide all the things we have become used to, like welfare or loans for students, but unfortunately, that honeymoon phase is over.
            And now that this comment is entirely too long, I will quote jimmy carter from his crisis of confidence speech : ‘One of the visitors to Camp David last week put it this way: “We’ve got to stop crying and start sweating, stop talking and start walking, stop cursing and start praying. The strength we need will not come from the White House, but from every house in America.”‘

        • Lindsay October 26, 2012, 4:20 pm

          I completely agree with you Erin. We have insurance for a reason. I do not think that government should have a say in whether we have a nationalized healthcare. I think that if we stay under Obama’s “control”, the country is going to go BROKE!

          • Caitlin October 26, 2012, 6:17 pm

            Lindsay – It’s really nice that you can afford healthcare. Not everyone is so lucky.

          • DadHTP October 27, 2012, 9:36 pm

            If you somehow thought my post was too pro D, think about this.

            Not to get too mad technical, but the recovery from this financial meltdown is as slow and prolonged as others in history. This is NOT a business cycle recession. All the European governments that went the austerity route are recovering far slower than America.
            Government jobs (which are almost totally school, police and fire, apart from the armed forces) are real jobs just like any other – and if all the teachers, cops and firemen that have been laid off in the past four years were still working, the unemployment rate would be almost a full point lower.
            But as Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority leader said in 2010 job one was defeating Obama, not repairing the economy, regulating Wall Street or ending two wars.

        • Emily October 26, 2012, 5:29 pm

          “In regards to the women’s rights issues, I do not believe that it is the government’s responsibility to provide for me.”

          I believe it is the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens, and I believe access to birth control, pap smears, abortions, and more protects women. I may not choose to access all of those services, but I feel safe knowing that I (currently) have affordable, easy, legal access to these rights I believe all women deserve. I believe that my government should allow me to choose whether I want to use those services. Many Republican Congressmen have been saying some pretty outrageous and terrifying things about rape, abortion, and reproductive rights. Who are they to tell women we cannot have birth control or choose to have an abortion? I can’t fathom voting for anyone who condones any of those policies.

          • Erin October 26, 2012, 6:31 pm

            Can I just say that I love this little debate in the comments? Ah free speech, the cornerstone of democracy! 🙂
            Now that I’m done being obnoxious, I just have to say I completely disagree. It’s not up the government to make sure you get your shots, your birth control, free mammograms, etc. it’s up to you, the free citizen! I 100% believe that no one is responsible for looking out for you. You are on your own, and that’s completely terrifying, but that’s what makes your a productive citizen.
            In regards to the congressmen- someone elected them, so they are representing somebody. And not just somebody, a majority. And if their view isn’t popular, they will be replaced.

        • Mel October 26, 2012, 11:57 pm

          Have you ever had (or will you ever have) student loans? Have you ever had employer-subsidized health insurance (which gets a hefty tax break)? Mortgage interest deduction? Child tax credit? Are your parents on SS or medicare? If your family are farmers do they get subsidized crop insurance? You may not consider these handouts, but they have a cost just as surely as programs like medicaid. There are people who truly believe that government has no role in people’s lives and actually live their lives that way, and I respect that even though I disagree with them. But most of the “I provide for myself, I don’t need government” crowd has benefitted enormously from government spending – including folks like Paul Ryan, John Boehner, and Mitt Romney’s parents – and are unwilling or unable to recognize it.

          I’m sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine.

          • Kristee October 27, 2012, 12:15 pm

            Erin – very well said! I completely support and agree with everything you said. I find it funny (mostly sad) how many women just follow the mainstream media efforts to paint Romney as something he isn’t. There is no “war on women,” and it is amazing to me to see how easily people can be persuaded. I think people’s opinions change, however, when they begin to truly start paying real taxe (not just payroll taxes) and start to really want to have a say in how those funds are spent. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it isn’t wrong for somebody to want to have a say in how THEIR money is spent. As a women, I will PROUDLY cast my vote for Romeny/Ryan on voting day.

            I have to say, though, I was truly disappointed in how this initial post and some of Caitlin’s replies to defend the slant on it was handled. I have always enjoyed this blog and have just chosen to ignore/turn a blind eye to some of the liberal inuendos from time to time because I think Caitlin truly does have an open mind and I come to the site for the healthy living aspect (and watching beautiful Henry grow!). However, this may be the last straw for me…not sure I will continue to enthusiastically read in the future. 🙁

  • Amanda October 25, 2012, 10:03 pm

    Thank you for the interesting and informative post, Dad HTP!

  • Irina October 25, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Love this post. You are not advocating for one party, in fact you are just informing us on an interesting topic and I am grateful for the information. I am sorry to see that the debate over the candidates creeped over to the comments, but I guess it could not have been avoided. Good job on always addressing the relevant topics and not being intimidated by nay-sayers. You always own your posts, and you are an independent thinker.

  • DadHTP October 25, 2012, 10:34 pm

    1993 – New Black Panther Party (a hate group formed as an offshoot of the Black Panther Party – had 200 members – Southern Poverty Law Center

    In 2009 the NBPP claimed ‘several thousand’ members – which the Anti-Defamation League said was ‘highly exaggerated’.

    The Blaze, a right wing blog makes no attempt to claim how many there are – simply quoting half a dozen people threatening possible violence.

    I’m sure you could find 200 crazy people to support any idea – like right wing militias – and no one claims they threaten the country (google Timothy McVeigh if you want to see what real domestic violence looks like)

  • Carrie @ The Cook's Palette October 26, 2012, 1:18 am

    Did not know all of this! Thank you for this super informative post, DadHTP!

  • Stephanie C October 26, 2012, 1:43 am

    Just wanted to put it out there that as a non-democrat and non-republican, I wasn’t offended at all by the “democrat” part of this post. That’s his experience for his party that he’s affiliated with. I think people are missing the point here (but that seems to be the general idea going on around this time!) and thought it was very informative regardless of party affiliation. My godmother, who is a republican, also volunteers.
    We can have calm conversations here, people 😉 And hey.. even if you wanted to come out (officially) for any particular candidate or promote him/her… it’s your blog.

  • Nat October 26, 2012, 2:07 am

    This is a very informative post and I loved reading this on your blog, Caitlin. Slightly weirded out by words like “inappropriate” in the comment section. DadHTP volunteers at the democratic party and will obviously not encourage people to vote for the Republicans if he doesn’t share their views. All his statements were balanced and fair. I am not an American citizen, so this it how it looks from my perspective. Again, great guest post!
    Sorry about my e-mail address mix up

  • Blaire October 26, 2012, 8:26 am

    You mention the Tea Party as an organization that is discouraging voters– I’d also like to make it aware what organizations that are pro-Obama are doing–like the New Black Panther Party for wearing military gear and weapons and threatening potential voters with violence and the ACLU for going to door to door to threaten deportation to discourage voting. Extremely scary stuff going on and not much seems to be done to thwart it.

    • Allison October 26, 2012, 3:25 pm

      ACLU? Lololol. Please give me a source for that that is not Breitbart, Drudge, or World Net Daily.

    • DadHTP October 26, 2012, 4:05 pm

      like I said…

      1993 – New Black Panther Party (a hate group formed as an offshoot of the Black Panther Party – had 200 members – Southern Poverty Law Center

      In 2009 the NBPP claimed ‘several thousand’ members – which the Anti-Defamation League said was ‘highly exaggerated’.

      The Blaze, a right wing blog makes no attempt to claim how many there are – simply quoting half a dozen people threatening possible violence.

      I’m sure you could find 200 crazy people to support any idea – like right wing militias – and no one claims they threaten the country (google Timothy McVeigh if you want to see what real domestic violence looks like)

      • Blaire October 29, 2012, 9:08 am

        Not sure why you feel the amount of people negate an illegal act…? So you’re saying there were thousands of tea party organizers at your polling place discouraging voters?? That makes it valid since there were ‘more’?

  • Candice October 26, 2012, 8:41 am

    I would LOVE to volunteer to do this, but I cannot. I work for a judge and I’m banned by the judicial code of ethics from establishing any political viewpoint whatsoever. I cannot even have a yard sign or a bumper sticker. I always have to appear non-partisan.

    • Jackie October 26, 2012, 10:11 am

      My husband is a clerk and can’t do any of it either! I took a picture with him and our senator and had to crop him out before posting to Facebook. I volunteer for both of us. 🙂

  • Christina October 26, 2012, 11:18 am

    This is interesting. In Minnesota, we will be voting on both a Voter ID amendment as well as a (anti) Marriage amendment on election day. I will be voting NO twice.

  • suzie October 26, 2012, 12:00 pm

    i actually wish more bloggers were open about their political preferences esp because the republican parties preferences are so damn ridiculous. but since there are so many outspoken mitt romney supporters, i would just like to say go obama, and if you are an educated, intelligent person who is neither super religious nor super rich voting for romney is not in your best interest.

    • Meg October 26, 2012, 1:13 pm

      not sure I follow what is “so damn ridiculous” about a Republican parties preferences?

      I’d like to think I’m an educated [college grad], intelligent [that’s subjective] person that is not super religious or super rich [that’d be nice!] but I do still believe Romney is the better candidate.

      that’s what is great about this country- everyone get an opinion… and a vote.

  • Erin October 26, 2012, 1:28 pm

    Thanks so much for volunteering your time to protect voting rights and for writing this informative post! I am also in NC and going to early vote with my husband and BIL tomorrow. My husband is a lawyer and is “on-call” for a pro-bono assignment on Election Day to help with voter protection.

    • DadHTP October 26, 2012, 4:11 pm

      Thanks a bunch to your hus!

  • Kristen October 26, 2012, 3:49 pm

    I found this post very interesting- in college I experienced what I would consider an unfair voter registration drive.

    I went to school at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, a battleground state in the last election. There were many many democratic volunteers around campus attempting to register out-of-state students in VA for the election (if you live on the college campus you are attending, you can register to vote in that state). I remember sitting at lunch one day next to a group of volunteers asking students 2 question- 1. Will you be voting for Obama in this election? and 2. Would you like to register to vote? If students answered no to question 1, they wouldn’t get asked question 2. It was very sad and unfair.

    I think this kind of stuff happens all.the.time. And although I did not experience the same thing from republicans (since college students are stereotypically liberal we didn’t see any republican volunteers on campus), I am sure this happens often.

    The whole political process honestly sickens me. People get too worked up and stretch the truth and lie- all over the place. I honestly think it would be better if no one was allowed to volunteer outside the polling place, and you could only register to vote at the library, MVA, etc. There is just not enough oversight for these volunteer positions, and too much room for biasedness, if that were a word.

    • DadHTP October 26, 2012, 6:31 pm

      I agree – when I was registering voters before early voting started, if some one asked who I was registering, I answered “Americans”.

      OTOH, http://prospect.org/article/crying-fraud-then-creating-it shows another side.

      Personally, I think any time anyone comes in contact with any government agency, they should first be offered the opportunity to register.

  • MomHTP October 26, 2012, 4:45 pm

    Thanks DadHTP for your article explaining the roles of voting pole volunteers, and for giving your time so that we can participate in the privilege to vote in a fair playing field.

    It saddened me to read that so many readers are “seeing” a bias to Dems in your article perhaps because you mentioned you’re a Dem volunteer and said that so far the Dems are ahead. To me you were acting in your volunteer role by motivating both parties by sharing how the race was going so far – i.e. Dems are ahead. If Reps and Independents want to change that – vote Republican.

    I hope people from both parties focus on the fact that WE’RE AMERICANS first, and we all need to vote how we would like to see our country run.

  • Christine October 26, 2012, 4:53 pm

    What an interesting post! Your Dad is super cool

  • AJ October 26, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Thanks for this informative post, I really admire your conviction. I live in Australia and I am no political person or anything but it seems our system is similar to the UK. Here, once you turn 18, you have to enrol to vote. After this you must vote at every election, if you don’t you get a fine. On election day, you just roll up to your closest school or church hall (within your electoral district), the election workers have a really really long list, they find your name, mark it off and you vote, simple as that. Our system is clearly not perfect either but from what I see in the press yours seems to be much more open to $ and religious influence which is scary, anyway good luck Obama!

  • Sam October 27, 2012, 3:55 am

    Thanks for the information and thanks DadHTP for doing the most patriotic thing–and encouraging others to get an EDUCATION!!

  • Kristine October 27, 2012, 4:09 am

    Thank you for the important work that you do, DadHTP!

    My husband and I voted on Monday in Durham, NC! We are Obama supporters all the way.

    Hus is a former Republican, now Independent, who feels betrayed by the GOP and feels that the party has been hijacked by the Tea Party. We both believe that a Romney/Ryan ticket is dangerous when it comes to important issues of social justice. When did we decide that it was such a terrible thing to take care of each other??? I also struggle with the hypocrisy of a party that claims to favor “less government” unless it comes to dictating whom we can marry or what choices we can make about planning our families. It just doesn’t make sense to me, as a woman or as a human being.

  • Amanda October 27, 2012, 4:21 am

    I am a reluctant Romney supporter (I do not care for either option in this election, but I am picking the slightly lesser of two evils in my book … Erin above smartly brings up many of my reasons), but I am glad the HTPDad volunteers for what he supports, even if I disagree politically. It is noble to support what you believe in, and I found this to be an informative post.

  • Anne October 27, 2012, 8:42 am

    I don’t live in USA, but I have to say, I don’t understand supporting a candidate that don’t support gay rights (in 2012!) and fundamental civil rights. It’s a shame. I hope Obama makes it again. I would feel better about our international communauty and for the future.

    • Kristee October 27, 2012, 12:20 pm

      I’m sorry, but could you please explain how Romeny doesn’t support fundamental civil rights? I think it’s inappropriate to suggest something so terrible and false with nothing to back it up.

      • DadHTP October 27, 2012, 3:45 pm

        It’s a fundamental human right to love and be legally bound to whomever you love. The Republican Party is vehemently against marriage equality.

        No one is suggesting churches have to perform ceremonies they don’t want to.

        Marriage is a legal institution and the government has no business telling people who they can marry.

  • Kristee October 27, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Oops…Romney, not Romeny!

  • Corrie @ Blurb Column October 27, 2012, 8:23 pm

    Thanks DadHTP!

    Also, I must agree with the women here who are truly curious why any woman would vote for Governor Romney in 2012. It is not about, as one comment stated, being responsible for myself, it is about having control over my own body and my own choices. One thing about our society I simply don’t understand is this driving need to force opinions/beliefs on others.

    If one is religious and doesn’t believe in homosexuality or abortion on moral grounds that is fine: don’t get an abortion and don’t marry someone of your same gender. Why must you attempt to force that belief on others?

    How does what I do with my body impact you in any way, shape or form?
    How does whom someone marries impact you in any way, shape or form?

    It doesn’t.

    If one is not religious one doesn’t go around attempting to force religious people to stop believing. It is the same premise. You are free to believe what you wish, just as I am free to believe what I wish. When what I do doesn’t impact you or impede you from participating in your religion, then it would follow that you should not try to impact or impede others.

    Judge not, lest ye be judged.

    BTW-I am not a democrat, or a lesbian. I am a human being who believes in the libertarian values of live and let live.

  • Debbie~ October 27, 2012, 8:58 pm

    Romney supporter all the way!!!

  • Meredith October 27, 2012, 11:30 pm

    Erin, you say “We need to cut everything. We can’t continue to spend into the deficit.” It sounds as if you think that Romney plans to cut “everything,” but that is just not the case at all.

    For one thing, Romney, if elected president, would seek $2 trillion more in discretionary defense spending that the military has even asked for. That is a huge amount of money, much more than any other discretionary spending that the government does.

    Romney has also pledged a 20% across-the-board tax cut, even for the top 1%. That reduction in revenue is huge, and will explode the deficit.

    Romney also plans to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. This would result in $500 billion going to just 120,000 families. Does this not bother you, when you are working so hard and being so frugal? Don’t you think that is a luxury we, as a country, cannot afford?

    • Kristee October 29, 2012, 7:04 pm

      This would result in 120,000 families being able to keep $500 billion more of their hard earned money…why would somebody being able to keep more of their own money (especially when they’re already giving disproporitionately more than others) bother anyone?

      • Laura WL November 1, 2012, 7:47 pm

        Because that money helps pay for basic services. Was that even a serious questions?! I actually understand why social conservatives want to vote for Romney, but fiscal conservatives? The man.does.not.have.a.plan that is fiscally responsible. Vote for Romney if you are tired of Obama or if you’re disappointed in Obama or even if you just want a new perspective, but don’t expect our overall fiscal outlook to drastically improve. I’m voting for Obama again bc his stance on social issues more closely aligns with mine. In my book Romney as MA governor was a moderate and had a chance at my vote, but now Obama is the only moderate left.

      • Meredith November 5, 2012, 7:00 pm

        “Hard earned money”? Do you not realize that the Bush tax cuts lowered capital gains taxes and the tax rate on dividends? How can you consider capital gains and dividends to be “hard earned” money?

        And how is a 14.1% tax rate (Romney’s in 2011) “disproportionate”? Unless you mean “disproportionately low.” (It’s sure lower than mine, and I am far from wealthy.)

        • Meredith November 6, 2012, 2:13 pm

          Also — the Bush tax cuts, which were supposed to be a temporary cut, have reduced revenue. Romney’s plan does not provide any credible way to offset that lost revenue, which means either that his plan will increase the deficit or it will require increased taxes on the middle class. That’s why it bothers me, Kristee.

  • Anne October 28, 2012, 12:50 pm
  • Meredith October 28, 2012, 5:47 pm

    Quick correction to my post: I meant to say “For one thing, Romney, if elected president, would seek $2 trillion more in discretionary defense spending than the military has even asked for.” (Changing the word “that” to “than.” I find that posting late at night leads to those kinds of errors, at least for me!)

  • Kristen October 29, 2012, 12:15 am

    Thanks for the info DadHTP! Its my first time voting in a presidential election (just got my citizenship last year) so trying to get as much info as I can. Was reading my voter information packet today and learned that SF has the longest serving poll worker in California- she started in the late 1930s as soon as she could vote. Very cool 🙂

  • Jennie (in Wonderland) October 30, 2012, 10:33 pm

    As a Canadian, I have to say that I find the idea of Romney being elected very scary. But what especially troubles me is women voting Republican. I don’t mean this to be offensive, but hearing women crowing about Romney/Ryan is frightening. They want to control your vaginas, and you’re giving them that control. I mean, wow, REALLY? They are repeatedly telling you that if you get raped, you might as well lie back and enjoy it, and also, if a rapist impregnates you, you better have that kid because it’s a gift from God, but don’t expect any help for it. Oh, and also, stop being a slutty slut on birth control… PLUS equal pay for equal work? NAH, not important. But they’ll let you get home in time to make your family dinner! How progressive…

    Not to mention, after reading endlessly about both candidates, I can’t see how Romney could ever be considered the better option, especially in his days with Bain Capital, where he heartlessly blitzed businesses, saddled them with debt and then took all their money. The man is amoral, racist and would say ANYTHING to get elected.

  • Diana October 31, 2012, 4:08 pm

    Thank you so much for this article!

    Believe it or not, thanks to some sort of problem at my County Board of Elections, I’m NOT registered to vote in this election! I moved this spring so I had to re-register at my new address and in my new county. Somehow my registration was never received. My previous County Board of Elections got the memo that I had moved and removed me from their voter ledger.

    My only option is to appeal to an Election Judge on election day and thanks to HTP Dad I know what one is! I really want to vote so will probably give it a shot and see what happens!

    • Meredith November 4, 2012, 12:45 pm

      No matter what, Diana, you would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. But what you really want to do is cast an actual ballot that day. My advice: if there is a poll watcher at your polling place (either inside or outside), ask that person for help. That’s what they are there for — to do what they can to make sure that everyone who shows up can actually vote on Election Day.(If you’re planning to vote for Obama, a poll watcher from the Obama campaign would be more likely to be of help, I would think.)

      • Diana November 5, 2012, 11:42 am

        Thank you!

        Maybe I will try showing up at my polling place first and then try meeting with an Election Judge.

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