OK, the voting adventures begin. Today I woke at 8:20 a.m. (for no reason — I forgot to set my alarm) and met a DrivingVotes.org group at Milton’s at around 9:00. At first there were four of us: me and Jim, a retired psychiatrist, in his car (a lovely Toyota Prius — yay for my first ride in my dream car!), and Steve (a psychologist) and Paul (no idea) in the other car. All of the men were roughly 60 or slightly older, and they were all wearing these shirts. I now have one, too, though it doesn’t really fit. Anyway, we drove through KC and picked up Janette — a French and Italian instructor at Johnson County Community College — and then began the trek to Sedalia, Missouri. We got there around noon (it was a longer drive than we expected) and met a girl from Missouri ProVote at Wal-Mart. Then we drove off to a neighborhood considered to be predominantly demographically Democrat — mostly low-income housing, a majority of African-American residents. We split into teams — I went with Dr. Steve, who is the father of the guy who (with friends) started the national DrivingVotes deal — and spent the next few hours registering voters. At the end of the day, I had only three new registrations — and one was a Republican — but the experiences could not be beat.
I saw houses where broken pieces of crappy plaster were inadequately blocking holes in the door and an apartment in the Housing Administration territory where a grinning man without a shirt told me he couldn’t vote because his felony had not yet worn off, and invited me in to a living room with incredible white furniture and rich scarlet rugs. I listened to a woman whose 20-year-old daughter has been serving in Iraq for the last 15 months rail against President Bush and I heard a 40-ish daughter tell her 70ish dad that she’d “burn down your house” if he voted for Bush. I left feeling pretty hopeful, so that’s worth the drive. All totaled, our group of 6 registered around 25 new people I think — so that’s a good day, too.