Everything about this trip seemed to be aligning perfectly.
A few days before I arrived in Pennsylvania John McCain decided he wanted to go after the state, putting the Obama campaign in a defensive position. Since 1988 Pennsylvania has voted Democrat in the presidential elections. This meant that there were political rallies and events almost every day I was there.
On the drive from Harrisburg, PA to Cincinnati, OH yesterday I tuned into a strong National Public Radio signal which was my salve for my separation from television election coverage. (I found this story particularly interesting - about a couple in their 30s who are organic farmers in Missouri) NPR is a great source of news and if you are outside the States you can listen to it from the website.
NPR kept me up-to-date about the election. Turns out that as I was driving to Ohio, McCain was also there, beginning a 2 day tour on his 'Straight Talk Express' bus starting off in a town called Defiance.
Apparently the Clintons are here too. Downstairs in the hotel lobby this morning a Union worker from Cleveland who is here volunteering with the Obama campaign, told me that there is a Hillary Rally at 3:30 this afternoon.
I say everything was working perfectly because last night I realised that my mobile/cell phone has no coverage in Cincinnati. So I have been phone-less since then.
And this morning on my way to Prestige Audio to pick up a radio/wireless microphone for the camera, the car would not start. But there is a silver lining in every situation as now I have time to update the blog!
The rental car is from Massachusetts and the slogan on the plates is 'The Spirit of America' . A perfect slogan for this time of year and perhaps this project. Which is why the car has got to get back in working order!
I drove through 4 states yesterday - Pennsylvania, West Virginia (well, only for 15 minutes), Ohio and then Kentucky, to pick up Malcolm from the Cincinnati airport. You can move so easily across borders in the States that it's easy to forget every state has its own laws - everything from driving laws to election laws are different.
For instance only some states allow early voting, and those that do have different deadlines. Illinois has really pushed early voting in their state because they anticipate a large turnout being Obama's homebase. NPR reported yesterday that 30% of voters in Illinois are expected to vote early.
Why early voting?
There's an unprecedented voter turnout expected for this election. And because Election Day is always on the first Tuesday of November, there are usually big crowds before work, at lunchtime and after work.
Even at the early voting polls big lines/queues have been reported. On NPR yesterday one woman spoke of having to hire a babysitter so she could go to the polls to vote.
There must be Americans out there who plan to go to the polls on Election Day but won't because of these small logistical hiccups. Things like not being able to find a babysitter, having a car that won't start, not having money for a taxi, etc.
Election Day should be a national holiday and Americans should be allowed to take time away from work without penalty to go to the polls.
I kept a road journal on my 8 hour drive to Cincinnati yesterday which I hope to post later this afternoon.
One last thing - when I picked Malcolm up at the airport yesterday he said he had heard mixed reviews about Cincinnati. We both were curious to find out what kind of city it was.
Which is why I was a bit concerned this morning when I spotted a bird on the way to the store to buy milk.
But after snapping the photograph I realised it was Halloween and that the people probably don't normally walk around in costumes.
Happy Halloween everyone! Malcolm and I will be participating in a Trick or Vote event this evening.
Thank you to Carlos for telling me about another website- If The World Could Vote where people around the world are getting involved in the American election.