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Thoughts on Election Day: GO VOTE

Seriously. Go Vote. This site is proudly apolitical, but there's no reason why you shouldn't go out and vote today. As I always say, vote early and vote often.

If you don't know where to go vote, I'd encourage you to visit Vote 411. They'll give you your polling location. If you're worried about your vote counting, visit 866ourvote, they are a non-partisan group devoted to protecting voters from all the various impediments that can pop up on election day.

Since this is a Jaguars blog, there's probably a good amount of readers from Florida. If you need help with voting, or just have a question, use this hotline: 1-866-308-6739

As for me, I waited 2.5 hours on Saturday to cast my ballot.

I'm looking forward to election day being over. As some of you know, I'm working on a major congressional election (candidate and party will be kept private, both for the sake of my employment and to avoid bringing partisanship to the site) and will be starting my day in about 90 minutes. I've spent over 90 hours a week since early August on this campaign and it's come at the expense of just about everything in my life, espeically this site. With the election almost over, I look forward to focusing back on Big Cat Country and hopefully moving on a bit after what's been one of the most difficult (and satisfying) adventures of my (young) life. It's been painful to miss Jaguars game while working, but what's been the worst is not being as active on BCC.

Big thanks to Collin and FSBlue for helping keep the site chugging when I've been slammed with campaigning. Big thanks as well to all the readers and fanposters who've I put on the front page. Jagz08 and Tkopa get a major shout out for their well written and well thought-out posts. I've been so proud to see this site take care of itself with my absence, quite a rewarding feeling to know that we've grown so much that BCC has its own institutional momentum. It's hard to write for the site when I'm stuck between working on an article or stockpiling sleep, but it's just about over. Tonight, things come to a conclusion, one that I'm cautiously optimistic about, but one that's been the result of hours of hard work. If you've ever volunteered with a campaign, you'll know the feeling.

Just in case anyone is curious, my day tomorrow includes organizing nearly a hundred volunteers to cover everything from polling locations, phone banks, canvassing, and election protection. It starts at 4:30 and won't end until we know that the ballots are counted and the vote is concluded sometime in the late evening. In fact, by the time I get to the "watch party" at the end of the night, the results will be long known and the speeches given. But such is the life of a campaign worker. What matters is that I've helped countess people to utilize their right to vote and hopefully made a difference. I want to win, no dobut, but the relationshps I've made with my volunteers, the friends I've made on staff, and the fact that I've pushed myself farther than I ever thought will stay with me no matter how the results turn out.

Frankly, I'm ready for this to be over, but the next 18 hours will be the most intense I've ever had.

It's a strange contrast with my thoughts about the state of the Jaguars. As we got closer and closer to election day and the excitement built, Sunday were the hardest day because the Jaguars, the thing that I use to escape from politics, were struggling so much.

Anyhow, it's a weird thing to ask, but when you're watching election results, no matter who you're supporting, take a moment to think about the countless hours of hard work that staffers on every side of the aisle are putting in to make this happen. TV ads and Cable News get so much attention, but elections are won and lost on the backs of over caffinated and underslept staffers and the critical volunteers who believe so strongly in something that they give up their time for weeks and weeks to make something happen. I've had volunteers this cycle who have come in two times a week since early August, just on the hope that they could make a difference. There's a grandmother who thought that our staff was eating poorly (Publx Fried Chicken, Pizza, and Red Bull) that she started bringing in fresh baked muffins and healthy dinners.

Politics is dirty and nasty on the outside, but the true motor of a campaign comes from people wanting to make a difference. Sure, the outcomes can be frustrating and disappinting, but what makes it all tick is a desire to do something positive and change for the better. Republican or Democrat, we can all get behind that. I've made lifelong friends and met more interesting people in a little part of Central Florida in the last 100 days than I ever thought possible. I've been fed, housed, and even clothed by near strangers all because we had the same goal. It's simply remarkable the goodness that comes out of something so ugly.

This is starting to turn into something very different than when I started, but since I can't really sleep, this will have to do.

What you see on the outside of campaigns is largely theater. The pundits, surrogates, talking heads and talk radio hosts are only the surface level of what really happens. These are also aimed at people who typically already have their minds made up. What really swings an election one way or the other is the direct contact between volunteers and voters. While ads and what not might shore up the base, there's simply nothing more effective (both in cost and in results) than neighbors talking to neighbors. It's not how many yard signs (and don't get me started about yard signs) you put up, it's not how many times you mail out attack pieces and "go negative", it's all about having a conversation. The power of personal politics is far greater than that of any TV spot, that's for sure.

So, in conclusion, wish me luck today. It's going to be a long day. Hopefully I'll get to celebrate (and sleep in for three days) when it's all said and done. Remember that no matter who wins, on November 5th, we are all still Americans. And for the love of god, don't skip the downballot races. Nothing makes me more upset than people who are only voting for the Presidential Race and then stopping. All poltiics is local, and it's the Member of Congress, the City Council, the State Senator, the State Represntative, and even the Soil and Water commissioner who makes the decisions that effect everyone on a daily basis. You can't complain if you don't vote.

Good night, and Good Luck.