My turn

Political signs, hand shaking and door-to-door canvassing end Tuesday

2014-05-04T00:00:00Z Political signs, hand shaking and door-to-door canvassing end TuesdayBy Bill Vargo Times Columnist
May 04, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Sometime in early April the signs started popping up like mushrooms in yards all across the region. Campaign season will do that to most any disciplined political organization.

The old saying goes that signs don’t vote. Well, as any candidate will tell you, with all the other things on people’s agendas, voting seems to fall pretty far down on the list.

What we have become is a society of negative voters. “I won’t vote for him, he looks like a dog abuser,” or “I vote for anybody but the incumbent.” Then there is the standard, “We need term limits.”

What we forget is that it is very difficult to cut through all the haze and really get a message out there without signs, door-to-door canvassing and, of course, camping out at the South Shore train station (preferably the East Chicago station for countywide candidates).

I was reminded of this last week when I arrived at the station and was greeted by a candidate and his very dedicated volunteers. He shook my hand and asked for my vote (which is about all you can do in the 10 seconds with each voter).

Then one of his volunteers handed me a water bottle while another handed me a card. It takes coordination to pull that off while commuters brush by to get to the train.

People will say that the political season is too long, but I think they really mean the national political season.

Indiana has a closed primary process, which essentially means that you must declare your political allegiance. Indiana also has a ban on candidates that lose in the primary flipping parties and running in the Fall election.

Primary voters tend to be a very discerning group. Some would call them "true believers." I think that is a little harsh, but if you declare your political allegiance, you don’t select it by accident. That narrowing of the electorate tends to take out the more independent minded voters. We all know them as the "undecideds," people who vote for the candidate and not the party.

On the Democratic side, there will be households that will not vote for you simply because you don’t have the union bug on your literature. On the Republican side, you may find a family that will not vote for you because you didn’t give an opinion on a social or economic issue. After you have navigated this labyrinth of political idiosyncrasies, you would do well to remember door-to-door canvassing etiquette.

No campaigning on Sundays and no campaigning after dark – pretty wise, really. No campaigning at the dinner hour. No campaigning on the weekends before 11 a.m. – you never know what you will find when you do that.

By the way, you can campaign all you want from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, but no one will be home. It’s no wonder that candidates opt for the expensive mailers and the standard red, white and blue campaign signs.

If you find a brave soul knocking at your door at 4:30 p.m. (that fits into the rules), give him or her a little more consideration in Tuesday's primary election. That candidate has either never been read the rules or felt it was too important to not knock.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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