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Why I’m Running

In 2018, I canvassed my precinct for the Democratic Party. I knocked on doors, talked with voters, and dropped off flyers indicating where and when the elections were held.

“Hey there, you!”

A woman in her early 30’s stopped raking the leaves in her front lawn and stared at me knocking on her neighbor’s door.

“Yeah, you!”

“Yes?”

“They’re not home. They’re away.”

“Oh? Okay. Thank you.”

I tucked a flyer in the neighbor’s door handle.

“Hey you!”

“Yeah?”

“What’re ya doing?”

“I’m dropping off flyers for the election coming up.”

“Oh yeah? Who are ya working for?”

I noticed a political sign behind her, just at the foot of the front steps.

“I see your supporting one of our candidates.”

“Cindy Wilson? For Superintendent of Public Schools? Oh yeah. She’s great.”

“Glad you’re supporting her.”

“Oh sure I support her. I’m a teacher. I vote straight Democratic Party every election.”

“You typically vote Democrat?”

“Always.”

I checked through the roster on my clipboard.

“But I have a list of all the registered Democrats in Precinct 76 and you’re not on the list.”

“Oh I’m not registered Democrat.”

“You’re not?”

“No. I’m a registered Republican.

“Why?”

“I learned years ago that whoever wins the Republican primary in May, automatically wins the November general election.”

“But…why?”

“Because there’s never any Democratic opponent.”

“Never?”

She leaned on her rake and shook her head. “How long have you been in Idaho? The Democrat running this year is the first opponent in maybe ten or twelve years. I register as a Republican so I can at least vote in the primary in May. I’d rather have my voice heard somehow and someway.”

I shook her hand and thanked her for being a teacher. She continued to rake the leaves in the lawn. I walked away and wondered, what good is a democracy if there’s only one candidate?