Saturday, October 16, 2004

Operation Clark County 

Our hallowed colleagues at Blondesense and the All Spin Zone alerted us to a letter-writing campaign orchestrated by the editors of the Guardian -- who, despite being British, have every reason to be concerned about the outcome of the election on November 2. The plan is for readers to "adopt" an Ohioan voter and explain to him or her in a brief, polite, preferably handwritten note why the coming election matters:
The result of the American election in less than three weeks could have huge consequences for the whole world. Yet those of us outside the 50 states have had no say in it. Until now, that is.

In the spirit of the Declaration of Independence's pledge to show "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind", we have come up with a unique way for non-Americans to express your views on the policies and candidates in this election to some of the people best placed to decide its outcome. It's not quite a vote, but it's a chance to influence how a very important vote will be cast. Or, at the very least, make a new penpal.

It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page, you will receive the name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 324 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference.
Admittedly we are not English, but we see no compelling reason why Americans, especially Zemblan-Americans, should not get in on the action as well. Take ten minutes; reach out to Ohio. You will be in the excellent company of John le Carre, Antonia Fraser, and Richard Dawkins, whose own letters to Clark County are reproduced here.

UPDATE: In the comments section, esteemed visitor Smith points out that America Coming Together has a similar program through which volunteers can write GOTV letters to multiple swing-state voters. (The ACT program, however, targets only registered Democrats.) Needless to say, we endorse all such efforts, whether foreign or domestic.

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