Letter from the Editor: My experience campaigning on Election Day

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Photo by Amalia Villegas Vega ’21

If you have ever been to the polls on Election Day, you have seen people campaigning for a certain candidate near the entrance. Unlike voting, campaigning at the polls does not have a minimum age limit. Being only 15, this was the most effective way for me to be a part of American democracy, as I am not old enough to vote. By campaigning at the polls, I was able to use my voice.

I spent 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm on Nov. 6 standing outside Piney Branch Elementary School, campaigning for Nancy Floreen, candidate for Montgomery County executive. I was shy at first, because I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say or do. I began by reading the flyers I was given to understand what I could say to convince people to vote for Floreen. After a few people began to go in, I started to get the hang of it. In those three and a half hours, I said “Vote for Nancy Floreen for Montgomery County Executive” and “Endorsed by The Washington Post” more times than I can count.

A very frequent occurrence when campaigning at the polls is rejection, which came in many forms that night. I heard many polite “No, thank yous.” Some explained that they already knew who they were going to vote for or didn’t want to go inside with any papers or flyers. Other people just ignored me. I began saying my lines and they kept walking straight ahead without acknowledging my presence. Lastly, I received a couple very rude and negative responses. One person said to me: “There is no way in hell that I’m voting for her.” I was shocked by this response, but continued to talk to other voters.

Campaigning at the polls wasn’t always easy. It was cold, and I was unable to feel my hands. Some people were rude, while others were kind. In the end, my candidate ended up losing. It may seem that I wasted almost four hours of my life, but I don’t see it like that at all. I played my role in democracy. Even though I was unable to cast my own vote, I was able to speak out for a person I believed in. There is no way to know for sure if I truly convinced even one person to vote for Nancy Floreen. Even if I didn’t, I exercised my rights as a United States citizen.  

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