Protecting The Vote Is Hard Work, But Someone’s Got To Do It!

Written by Susan Lerner, CCNY Executive Director

Election Day 2012 was the culmination of a tremendous amount of work under adverse conditions. We turned my living room in Brooklyn into a war room; I have fond recollections of sitting with three co-workers around my round dining table, each with our laptop and cell phone, phoning volunteers to confirm their plans to work with us on Election Day.

My day started at 4 a.m., at a 24-hour copy center on Union Square. When Gov. Cuomo acceded to our request and announced at 4:30 p.m. on Election Eve that rules were being loosened to allow displaced voters to cast affidavit ballots anywhere In the state, we created two flyers to distribute to our polling place monitors. Printing the messages was a challenge however, as our office remained inaccessible due to Hurricane Sandy-related flooding in the building’s basement.

Brian Paul, our Research Coordinator, conducted a quick internet search to locate a 24-hour copy center in Union Square. When I called them at 7 p.m. to order 3,000 copies of each flyer for pick-up at 4 a.m. the next morning, I was told I’d missed the deadline for overnight copy work. But once I told them why we needed the flyers, the response was “email it over. We’ll get it done.”

Driving through the dark streets of Lower Manhattan on Election Day morning, I worried about getting the flyers distributed to our 6 a.m. teams. The copy place was bright and the staff cheery as they helped me load 6,000 flyers (they weighed a lot!) into the car. As I headed to drop-off points in Brooklyn and Manhattan, I hoped that this good start augured a successful day ahead.


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