Sunday, March 16, 2008

Philadelphia Stories

We're on the way back from Philly after spending the day registering people to vote. My non-economist friend George and I worked a mall in Cheltenham for most of the day. The most striking fact was that the overwhelming majority of people we talked to had already registered. I also learned that the Pennsylvania voter registration form is so poorly designed that very few people fill it out correctly without assistance. See the previous post for a photo of Obama volunteers studying the form during the training session I attended. (I will try to do a full post later on the problems with the form.)

Notable encounters:

* One 40-something gentleman I signed up said he hadn't voted in over 20 years and was excited to vote for Obama.
* We registered one woman who was wearing a burka. I wondered if all the Obama-is-Muslim misinformation makes her MORE likely to vote for Obama.
* One woman was talking on her cellphone the whole time she was filling out the form and said, "Baby, are you registered to vote? Baby, you've got to get yourself down here to register NOW!"
* An African-American woman filled out the form and left it with me and then came back a second time, saw my Obama sticker and said "Oh, you're Democrats so it's OK. I was worried that if you were Republicans you might take my form and throw it away." She was laughing but not joking.
* We had lunch at Big Daddy's BBQ, where Roxanne treated us right and served us up plates of chopped beef and cornbread.
* For the first hour we were at the mall, not many people were there so we didn't have much success. We did, however, score some free moisturizing lotion when we made friends with Russel, the owner of the Dead Sea Secrets lotion stand, who had signed up to register the day before with another group of Obama supporters. Below is a photo of George when the owner left us watching the stand while he went outside for a smoke. We didn't manage to sell any lotion, but we did sign up a bunch of voters.

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