Tuesday, 23 October 2012


A busy day in Alexandria. Most of the morning and lunchtime was spent ringing voters. Virginia law apparently does not permit the printing of party labels for candidates at the lower levels of government. Consequently, as well as finding out whether individuals are inclined to vote for a particular party, it is necessary to tell them who the 'party list' are. It makes for quite a long 'conversation' - except, with the volume of unsolicited phone calls, few people would answer the phone. I'd have been tearing my hair out if I got such a low response rate from telephone canvassing in Britain. But perhaps this is a taste of things to come.

I also had some very interesting conversations in which British and American campaigning was compared and contrasted. The sheer cost of a campaign in the US was worrying.

This afternoon I got to stand out in the sun, on a beautiful, cloudless 'fall' day. I was handing out "sample ballots" to voters who were voting early, or in the local jargon "absentee voters in person". Until 3rd November, people who might not be able to vote on election day, can cast their vote at special centres.  To remind them of the party candidates, lists are offered to people as they approach the polling place. While I was there both the main parties had people handing these out. Some were refused, and many only took the list for the party they generally supported.

Tonight I'm watching the final debate between the presidential candidates. Then it's off to bed as I'm doing a live interview on BBC Radio Northampton on their breakfast show. 7-25 UK time, but 2-25 here in Virginia. There's now an iPhone app called 'BBC iPlayer Radio' which allows you, in addition to the main BBC stations, to listen live to local stations. I have been able to use it here in the USA to listen to BBC Radio Northampton. You can too - even if you are out of the range of the BBC Northampton transmitter!

While waiting for my bus, I videoed this 'panorama' of the junction of King Street and Washington Street, the very centre of Alexandria.