I opened my mail yesterday to find an official ballot for the gubernatorial primary election for Baltimore City, Maryland. On the back, above big political buttons that read "Early" and "Voting" the ballot declares "This election, the first choice you'll make is which day to vote." For the first time in the state of Maryland eligible voters will have the option of voting in person once over the course of an entire week. A really interesting update on a system established 200 years ago.
I take voting seriously. I try to stay informed or at the very least to GET informed before pulling the lever. I looked at the list of candidates and realized that because I recently moved from out-of-state I have NO IDEA who any of these people are, how they feel about pressing local issues or even what the pressing local issues are!! But you can bet that I'll put aside a bit of time to find out! If you are an eligible voter ANYWHERE I hope you take the time to make your voice heard and to make your vote count!
Speaking of making your voice heard…
Last Friday night I received a phone call on my cell phone from a man named Doug. He had the professional demeanor of a telemarketer, but an immediately disarming presence that hit the pause button on my standard "I am on the do-not-call list" line. He proceeded to tell me that I was selected to participate in a Gallup Poll.
Perhaps the Gallup Poll rings a bell… Founded by George Gallup in 1935 as the American Istitute of Public Opinion, today's Gallup Organization provides some of the most quoted national public opinion statistics in the daily news and exit polls.
My first reaction was an audible "No way! I'm going to have to call everyone and tell them." Doug laughed and proceeded to spend the next 14 mintues asking me a series of prepared questions. Some concerning how I felt about the economy right now and whether I thought my financial standing was better or worse than it was this time last year while others were more personal.
Prior to one series of questions, Doug told me that the upcoming questions would all be referring to how I felt the day before. "Oh, it is so unfortunate that you called me today. Yesterday sucked," I warned. Doug chuckled. "No, seriously, Doug. Yesterday was the worst day that I have had in months. Maybe even all year."
Together we came to the conclusion that it didn't matter. It would all even out. Perhaps he secretly knew that one of his upcoming calls was just as likely to catch an underemployed single mother of 4 on the day she had just won the lottery!?
Doug: "Would you say that you felt happy yesterday?"
Me: "No. Decidedly not."
Doug: "Did you experience anger yesterday?"
Doug: "Did you feel worried yesterday?"
Me: "Oh, yeah!"
Doug: "Would you say that you were sad yesterday?"
The conversation turned to demographics. 'Are you hispanic, latino or of spanish origin,' 'What is your race?" "What city do you live in?" What is your zip code?"
Doug: "What is your height in feet and inches?"
Me: "I'm 5 foot nine and a half"
Doug: "How much do you weigh?'
Me: "Doug, my husband doesn't even know how much I weigh."
Doug: "Really? Well, he certainly won't find out from me."
Me: "Ok, hold on let me leave the room so he can't hear me"
and although I was well out of earshot I proceeded to whisper anyways…
He took my answers in stride. He listened and most importantly he made me feel like my answers mattered. Several times in my life upon hearing numbers quoted from a Gallup or other national poll and I have rolled my eyes in disbelief and said to myself "no one ever asked ME that! Who are they asking?!"
I guess I can never say that again…