‘If I changed two votes I’m happy’


Pat McCabe at the Water and Sewer DepartmentPhoto by Laura Yepes

40 years of working For Democratic candidates

Pat McCabe stood outside the voting station at the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department wearing a navy blue shirt with the name of a Democratic candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, Jose Javier Rodriguez, written in white letters across the front. Making sure to keep his distance from the voting place – as prescribed by law – McCabe greeted every voter with a Jose Javier Rodriguez flyer.

“Welcome,” he called out while waving with one hand and smiling. There had not been much of a turn out all day at the Water and Sewer Department, but that had not diminished his enthusiasm.  As one couple in their late 20s or early 30s headed into the polling place in late afternoon, he banter,  “You guys picked the shortest lines of the day.” 

McCabe, 60, said he had volunteered for elections since George McGovern ran for president in 1972.  In the 2012 campaign, he said, “if I changed two votes, I’m happy.”

Brooke Bovee, a 32-year-old professor at Miami-Dade College, was at the Water and Sewer Department as a volunteer for Obama. She was somewhat dismayed at the low turnout.  During the early voting part of her sales pitch had been that, there would probably be crowds of people voting on Election Day.  She had been telling people to arrive early. Surely, she said, on Election Day, the lines would be staggering.

Now she could only shake her head and laugh at the miscalculation. Most of the day people had been walking right in to the low-rising white painted Water and Sewer building on Lejeune Road and heading out in less than half an hour.

Even so, Like McCabe, Bovee stayed determined.  For Bovee it was the end of a volunteer journey that began shortly after the Democratic National Convention.  At first she dedicated five hours a week to canvassing. During election week, she said she worked more than 50 hours. She was determined to win votes.

“There was this one undecided voter who told me he would vote for Obama if I listened to his brother’s band,” she said. “So, that same night I went on Youtube to check out the band.”

 

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3 responses to “‘If I changed two votes I’m happy’”

  1. E Dearmas says:

    I love that this story doesn’t focus on the voters, but on an advocate. The lead is great – I love the description. Great job capturing the essence and the moment.

  2. CC says:

    Cool story. Really shows how ordinary citizens can assert their rights and influence.

  3. M Acuna says:

    This is such a great story! I feel like you really embraced the democratic aspect in volunteering, which is honestly a side that people don’t see. Everybody thinks about the democratic aspect of voting, but ignore the “invisible heroes” or the people that are necessary for the election to happen in the first place. Very well written.

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