Toledo’s GOTV Party

On Sunday November 6, we volunteered at a Clinton campaign table outside the Early Voting Center at The Source in Toledo, Ohio.

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This location is the only place to vote in all of Toledo – a city with a population of over 280,000 people. While some people went home because they didn’t want to wait in line, the overall turnout remained quite large and the line wrapped around the building.

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On November 1, the New York Times wrote of low African American early voting participation in cities across Ohio, including Toledo, reporting that:

“In Ohio, which also cut back its early voting, voter participation in the heavily Democratic areas near Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo has been down, though the Clinton campaign said it was encouraged by a busy day on Sunday when African-American churches led voter drives across the state.”

The African-American turnout this Sunday was particularly strong, as was the presence of a variety of constituencies, including the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), pastors of African-American churches, college students returning home, and families with small children. We were encouraged by their frequent visits to the Clinton tent.

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A DJ blared music from a parking lot on Monroe Street. People ate chicken wings, sausages, and tacos from nearby food trucks.

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Volunteers danced in the median of the road with Clinton-Kaine signs, offered pan dulce (Mexican sweetbreads) from a local bakery to passersby, and prepared information on the Democratic ballot for voters.

The party atmosphere of the entire day added some much needed levity to the election.

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The polling station closed at 5pm, but people in line continued to wait; by law they must be allowed to vote if they are in line when the polls close.

Volunteers continued to offer support from a distance, even as the setting sun drew their long shadows over the rough pavement of Monroe Street.

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In that moment of transition from afternoon to evening, I got the sense that we were all thinking and feeling the same thing: just a few more days to go. 

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