“A historic day” – A Look back on a campaign

2015-05-17 11.51.40Its been awhile since I blogged and I only managed one post here during the referendum campaign itself, I felt I was playing a greater role through working with the amazing team in YesEquality Cork and Faith in Marriage Equality.

It was very tough campaign, but the result was phenomenal.

But not only was the result phenomenal, but the volunteers were phenomenal. Having been involved in Referendums and Election Campaigns in the past, I have never felt part of something bigger then me, or been involved in something that would have such a profound impact on me.

Across the campaign I was blown away by the enthusiasm of those involved in the campaign, not only from the LGBT Community but from those who were not going to be directly effected by this vote, but that they were doing it for friends, for family members or because they believed it was the right thing to do.

The Community though were by far the stars for me. It has always been described as a community, but I must say, despite having involved in Cork Pride and other groups, I never felt part of ‘community’. That changed in this campaign. They stood up, went outside their comfort zone and got involved.

2015-05-14 11.08.43At the beginning of this campaign I was worried about this. How do we get those who’s idea of a community was a pub, out campaigning. But I didn’t need to worry. Once the campaign got going they were there. They were helping prepare for canvass’s, they were answering phones, making badges, knocking on doors. The passion, the importance, the integrity, it just blew me away.

Across the country from Donegal to Wexford  people stood up to be counted. They campaigned Monday to Sunday, sun-up to sun-down, and convinced the people on the ground on how important a Yes Vote was.

And it worked. It worked hugely. The Yes Campaign managed to catch the imagination of the electorate and that was evident in the result.

On the campaign, it had some of my best and some of hardest canvasses that I have ever did.  It was often though going on the door, basically asking for my right to Marry, but some nights the reaction was just mind-blowing. Some nights the reaction wasn’t great, being told to “f**k off” or that is what “unnatural”, but the nights I was hugged or rewarded big smiles did make it worth it.

2015-05-18 19.44.42I also had some first’s in the campaign. Publishing my first Election Material, a faith based letter giving out at churches across Cork (Big thank you to YesEquality Cork for this!), and running the tally in Cork City Hall. Of course I was well used to canvassing, I had never led canvass’s before so this was another ‘first’, but one that many in this campaign can share. It was amazing out on the ground with YesEquality Cork which can be seen in all the Selfies from the campaign trail!

The result though was better then anything I ever expected. A 62% yes vote was out of this world and better then I ever expected. As anyone who say me on the day of the results (and the days after) knows how emotional I was and its only now that I was feeling ok enough to write this without crying!

What we did, as a campaign, as a country, was historic. We made many people’s hopes possible. We completed a path, that many before us laid. We can be very proud of what we did, while there are still many equality issues in Ireland to be fixed, this is one less issue.

I know I can’t wait for Cork Pride this year!

Diary of a Canvasser – Entry 1 #MarRef

2015-03-21 12.10.26So the Marriage Equality Referendum is starting to get going campaign wise. While we are 62 days out from the referendum on May 22nd, some campaigns have started.

YesEquality Cork is one of the groups that have started, with canvassing beginning on St Patricks Day before the Parade  and evening canvasses also.

Today was my first proper canvass with YesEquality Cork (as I had to go to work on St Patricks Day). We were joined by the INTO LGBT Group and Teachers for Marriage Equality as we set up shop on Paul St.

2015-03-21 12.11.55

As the sun was shining everyone was in a good mood. We had a great crew of canvassers. We met a varied group of people and the majority were quite positive towards us.  But with 62 days to we cannot be presumptive in any way, shape or form.

One lady stood out to me today. She was 86 and made a bee-line for me. I must admit I was expecting an ear bashing. Instead it turns out she was Women’s rights campaigner for all her life. She strongly believed in Equality and as a person on the ‘Left’ she would definitely be voting Yes on May 22nd! Not just for herself and her generation, but also her 23 year old grandson who is Gay! Now that is words a canvasser loves to hear!

canvass equality
Author with 86 year old equality campaigner, photo courtesy of Ken Curtin.

 

For many young people we canvassed it was an open and shut case, they were voting yes, no question about it. Same with two ladies who worked in a cafe who called me over to say they were having a rant and “people should be allowed do want they want”. They were delighted to see us out campaigning for it.

We did of course come across a few No voters, who it must be said, were very respectful, apart from one Lady who decided to shout “No, you should be ashamed of yourselves”. But I was pleasantly surprised we didn’t hear a lot of that!

There is a still a long way to go to ensure that this referendum passes on May 22nd, but today for me was a great start!

If you want to get involved with the campaign, join your local YesEquality Group, and if there isnt one locally why not get a group together and set one up! Its by working together we will ensure Equality for all couples in Ireland!

For those of you unsure what the #MarRef in the title is about, it is shorthand being used on Twitter.

US Election 2012: Election Nerds Unite!

So tonight’s the night that hundreds of political hacks, opinion makers and general election nerds all over the world, stay up or get up early to see what happens in an election that they have no influence over, but arguable has the most effect on them outside of their own national elections, the US Presidential Election. So whats the story?

Well if you haven’t taken a nap, I hope you have tomorrow off because it will be a long night. The first polls begin to close at 2300 GMT in Kentucky and Indiana and the last poll closes at 0500 GMT (Wed) in Alaska.

But these arent the important ones. The battle ground states polls close as follows:

  • Virgina 0000 GMT
  • North Carolina 0030 GMT
  • Ohio 0030 GMT
  • Florida 0100 GMT
  • New Hampshire 0100 GMT
  • Pennsylvania 0100 GMT
  • Colorado 0200 GMT
  • Wisconsin 0200 GMT
  • Iowa 0300 GMT
  • Nevada 0300 GMT

Each state should be called based on exit polls and early results soon after.  So we should have an idea who will win between 0300 and 0500, as I said it will be a long night.

Is it just about Obama, Romney, the popular vote and the electoral college (there is a lot written about those elsewhere so I wont bother). Well it mainly is but there is plenty else going on 11 State Governors, 33 Senate Seats and all of the 435 seats in House of Representatives.

Some interesting races here to watch including can Scott Brown hold his Senate seat from Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. Will Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana two Republicans who made bad statements on rape manage to get elected? Will Tammy Baldwin a Democrat in Wisconsin become the first open Lesbian in the Senate? Connecticut too has an interesting race with Linda McMahon (yes her from the wrestling) trying to win a seat and has spent a lot of her own money. It is highly unlikely that the Republicans will gain control of the senate, but will Democrats increase their control? Also will Maine elect independent candidate and former Governor Angus King?

In the House it is expected that the Republicans will retain control, but will Michelle Bachmann retain her seat in the Minnesota 6th? The Californian 30th, 31st and 44th  are also interesting thanks to redistricting and Open Primaries. The 30th sees two incumbent Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman battle it out. The 31st sees Republican Incumbent Gary Miller take on a Republican challenger Bob Dutton. While the 44th again sees two Democratic Incumbents Laura Richardson and Janice Hahn fight for a seat

In terms of ballot measures, four states are voting on Marriage Equality. Maine, Maryland and Washington are voting to allow Marriage Equality while Minnesota is voting on the definition of  Marriage (between a Man and a Woman).  Arkansas is voting on Medical Marijuana and Colorado, Oregan and Washington is voting on legalising it, while Montana is voting on banning Medical Marijuana. California is voting to ban the Death Penalty and to Increase Taxes to pay for education. Florida is voting to Limit Obamacare (as is Montana and Wyoming) and also on limiting public funds to abortion.

A long but interesting night ahead, and one which will show how Americans are moving on some interesting questions. Enjoy fellow elections nerds!

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