Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The days leading up to the Maine vote

[Nov. 3, 1:52 p.m.] I'll be blogging from the Maine NO on 1 election-night event. The polls close at 8.
[Nov. 2, 2:38 a.m.]
Evening "Get Out The Vote" debriefing for NO on 1 volunteers who spent the day knocking on doors.
One of several such rooms around the state.
Alas, the gay side took a tumble in the latest polling (here), though it's still within the margin of error.
It's all gonna be about which side gets its voters to the polls.
And you can still help with that via phone if you live anywhere in the U.S. Click here.
Not that civil rights and equal treatment under the law ever should be put to a popular vote, but, for some reason, many states think that's cool.
The bottom-bottom line, of course, is that this really is not about marriage. If they thought they could get away with it, the folks who funded this "people's veto" campaign in Maine would take more away from gays than just marriage. In Washington state on Tuesday, they'll try to take away domestic-partnership rights. In California, they're freaked out that the Governator signed the Harvey Milk Day bill into law. It's not just that they don't want us to get married.
So, we have to keep fighting. If we lose in Maine on Tuesday, the Legislature will just pass the law again and the governor will sign it again. We're not talking about a constitutional amendment here, as was the case with Prop 8 in California. In reality, gays are going to be able to get married in all states, perhaps even soon if the Olson/Boies Prop 8 case succeeds at the U.S. Supreme Court.
[Nov. 1, 1:48 a.m.] Will the gays win Maine on Tuesday? I haven't a clue, but here are the factors in play...
1. The polls are a tie. That may not be good for the gays because, it is thought, some people who are going to vote in a way that others consider bigoted may not tell pollsters the truth. 2. Opponents of same-sex marriage tend to feel more strongly about the issue than supporters do. Opponents, therefore, may feel more motivated to actually go vote. Not good for the gays. 3. However, the gay side's get-out-the-vote operation here in Maine is superior to the opponents' GOTV operation. This is very good for the gays. Regardless of how someone feels about same-sex marriage, it doesn't matter a drop if they don't go vote.
These vexing topics must be what No on 1 campaign spokesperson Karin Roland and I were discussing in the hallway tonight as Andrés Duque shot an endless series of pictures. Or maybe we were just making Halloween faces at each other. Note her horns.

Julia Rosen from the Courage Campaign also was sporting Halloween horns.
Below, I ran in to fellow San Diegan Elaine Graybill in the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality headquarters.
No on 1 is still looking for volunteers from anywhere in the U.S. for its "Call for Equality" program. Clickez-vous here.
[Oct. 31, 12:45 p.m.] Less than three days to go. There's not much more to say except that Halloween is frightening when the National Organization for Marriage's gathering storm is threatening to rain a people's veto down on you, wiping out your right to get married. Gays and their supporters have fanned out across the state today with thousands of clipboards. Their main goal is to make sure that all the people who support same-sex marriage get to the polls Tuesday.
Joe Sudbay from AMERICAblog. He's a Maine native.

Once again, Karin Roland, my handler from the NO on 1 campaign's communications team.
She keeps an eye on me.
Karin Roland has not been the only bit of pleasantness in my daily life here. Also delightful: Julia Rosen from the Courage Campaign.
Also on the scene: Blabbeando blogger Andrés Duque.

[Oct. 30, 1:09 p.m.] Maine doesn't have a lot of people (the same number live in the San Diego city limits) but this battle is hugely important as the first voter referendum on gay marriage since Prop 8. If the gays win here, they knock the wind out of the opposition's sails, they go on to win same-sex marriage in New York and New Jersey later this year, California votes again and Prop 8 dies, and that's the end of same-sex-marriage culture war. If, on the other hand, the opposition wins here in Maine, they prove that they can continue to take away gay people's marriage rights by blasting the airwaves with ads claiming that gay marriage melts kindergartners' brains -- and they prove, for the first time, that they can take away gay people's marriage rights even when the Legislature passed the gay marriage bill and the governor signed it into law. There were no "activist judges" involved here in Maine. So, what happens here Tuesday: It matters, no matter where you live in the U.S.
[Oct. 30, 11:20 a.m. The Rachel.]
[Oct. 29, 5:41 p.m.] There are 8,000 volunteers working on the campaign to stop the National Organization for Marriage from taking away gay and lesbian Mainers' right to marry. There are 4 days to go.
More volunteers still are needed for two of NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality's projects: Drive for Equality, and Call for Equality. As explained further down in this post, Call for Equality volunteers can work from anywhere in the U.S. There are training sessions for volunteers every day, including the morning of Nov. 3, election day.
Last night I was in the mood for a photo essay, capturing the scenes in various rooms of NO on 1's headquarters.
And down the street at one of No on 1's call centers.

I made Campaign Manager Jesse Connolly stand still for a new pic.
This poor woman seemingly has been assigned to be my handler. If I am in NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality's offices, she is at my side, making sure I don't ... well, we'll never know what I might do if left to my own devices, because Karin Roland is my constant companion. Truth be told, she's lovely. For some reason, Karin and I have become fixated on the sign below -- one of many that could have captured our attention -- in one of the offices. "What," it asks, "would Harvey do?" Of course, no one can say for sure, but I think he might have been impressed with the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality operation. They are doing a very good job of doing what they decided to do. Of course, that leaves open the question of whether what they decided to do was the right mix of tactics.

[Oct. 28, 2:39 a.m.] The NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign headquarters.
NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality Campaign Manager Jesse Connolly.

Karin Roland of the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality Online Communications Team. Karin needs you. See below.
Here's what Karin needs. This. Basically, Karin needs you to get trained fast, then make lots of phone calls to Maine from wherever you are. It won't cost you anything. The software calls you. Your phone number won't be revealed. Caller ID will show the NO on 1 office number.

"Call for Equality is critical to our plan to reach all the voters in Maine we need to reach," Roland told me in an interview. "We literally need to make hundreds of thousands of dials through that program -- and in order to do that, we know we need several hundred more people to sign up. You can sign up and get trained now, and start calling now, and then you'll be all set to call on election day."

"We're calling people who we believe support marriage equality," Roland said. "That is a no vote on Question 1. We are confirming that they support marriage equality -- and the vast majority of them do -- and we are urging them to vote early if they support marriage equality -- to vote no on 1 early. Voting early is the best thing that our supporters in Maine can do to help us right now because it lets us take them off our list for election day. We have to literally make over half a million calls in the last week of this campaign, but if you vote today, you just take one of those calls off of our list."
[Oct. 28, 1:00 a.m.] I'm in Maine to observe the same-sex marriage battle.
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