Hard Out There Petitioning for Dems in A Red District
This is another report about field activities from a volunteer's eyes in IL-15. This is about obtaining signatures for petitions to put candidates on the state ballot.
On Wednesday, I received a note from John Edwards' Midwest OneCorps coordinator that our Champaign-Urbana group would be soliciting petitions in order to properly put John Edwards on the ballot for the Illinois Democratic primary. My understanding is that this is common practice and all candidates, regardless of party, must have the legal number of signatures. Since I'm new to doing real grassroots work, I did ask how many signatures were needed. No one I asked was totally clear about it, but the goal was to get as many as possible.
Today was Dad's Day at the University of Illinois, and the Illini were playing a home game against the number 5 ranked team in the nation, Wisconsin. Big 10 game. OneCorps was meeting in Champaign near Assembly Hall between 8 and 9 this morning, and as I live only 2.5 miles from it, I chose to ride my comfort bike and meet the folks there.
It was the best method of transportation since parking was already beginning to become a premium with big tail gating parties and kickoff was scheduled for a little past 11am.
There were only a handful of us as our OneCorps chapter is very small.
But here's a picture of getting a clipboard with the petitions attached from one of our leaders.
We took our clipboards, and set forth to do some canvassing amongst the big crowds in the nearby parking areas. We were forewarned it would be a tough crowd.
The crowd was full of Red Shirters for Wisconsin and Orange Crush for the Illini. While it was exciting to see such enthusiasm for the football teams, it was clear that either the crowd goers (a) weren't interested in signing petitions or (b) were not registered voters who wanted to get a Democratic candidate on the ballot. My cohorts and I tried to stay within the same area, and they fared better than I did in getting some signatures. Both said they had better luck with women.
Moi? I got zippy-do-dah, and I believed I could obtain more fruitful results at the Urbana Farmer's/Free Market, where the crowd goers are more friendly to Democrats. My team concurred. I left them at the pre-game activities.
I returned to get my bike, kept secure in a vehicle, and the the round-up leader who had it still was around and got it out of the car, ready for me. She had found tickets for any of us who wished to get signatures, and I had one of them. However, I returned the ticket as I knew someone else could enjoy the game better. I wanted instead to stay on task for my candidate. As I told the One Corps leader, I relish a good game of college football, but I wanted to get the job done. She seemed appreciative and wished me luck getting around via bicycle the growing, snarling traffic of game attendees.
It took me almost twice as long to get home because of the traffic and waiting. I took a little time to cool off in my AC'd home as it was already 85 degrees after my arrival. I got to the Urbana Farmer's/FreeMarket by 10:30, later than I expected, but still I made it. The market was not quite as full because of the game, but we had plenty of hard core Dems passing by, and oddly Ron Paul supporters near the space. I'm supplying a pic to give readers a lens of what the farmer's/free market looks like.
I also got to say hello and chat with Tony Fabri, who is the appointed current County Auditor, but running for the election next year, and he is our County Dem chair. He remembered my name, which impressed me since I see him only a few times a year. He's a busy person.
The person of the day was Kai. She got quite a few to register to vote in our County. Of
those, many were students and new to our area. She also reminded other folks if they changed addresses, to re-register as well. Kai is the gal on the right in the picture below.
And in the end, the Illini beat Wisconsin 31-26. Good for the Illini. Not certain how the rest of my OneCorps group did, but I'm betting they were better than I was.
In the end I obtained 13 signatures for my candidate. I'll do better next week.