Image Credits: Metges
By: Linda Porterfield /May 25.20
MEET TEAM METGE: PROTECTORS OF YOUR VOTING RIGHTS
They won’t be wearing uniforms, badges or carrying signs at the polls. And their presence will likely not be noticed unless you encounter issues with casting your vote. But there is a special group of committed volunteers protecting your voting rights right now during election preparations, and in November when you show up to exercise your voting rights. That group, the voter protection committee, is guided by Maria and Greg Metge.
Since relocating to the area from Des Moines in 2015, the Metges have channeled their decades of political activism experience into promoting democratic values for Charlotte County Democrats. They guide volunteers on the voter protection committee to monitor calibration of voting machines, ballot counting, procedural compliance at the polls on election day and any other voting rights you are absolutely guaranteed by the constitution. If you are a registered voter challenged when entering the poll site, denied a ballot, unjustifiably questioned about your identification or personal information listed on the voter registration rolls, or in any other manner impeded from legally exercising your voting rights, team Metge is there to help. They know how to intervene and whom to call on the spot in order to resolve voting issues. The mission and mantra of this committee is EVERYONE SHOULD VOTE AND EVERY VOTE COUNTS. This has never been more important than NOW.
Over the past thirty years Maria and Greg developed an impressive political resume (inclusive of such names as Obama and Clinton) of democratic activism. In Iowa during the flourish of early voting, they met and conferenced with just about every modern-day presidential candidate. Co-Hosting fundraising events at neighborhood homes and waiting in long lines to shake hands and speak to candidates offered the Metges unique glimpses into candidates’ true character. Maria related the story of a friend who, standing in a Trump meet-and-greet line and wearing a button promoting a different republican candidate, was verbally rejected and waved away by this candidate when finally reaching the prime spot in line. Under similar circumstances, while wearing a Bill Richardson button, Maria made her way through a Joe Biden line; but this candidate shook her hand while looking at her button, smiled and remarked, “He’s a good man.”
Maria and Greg have seen a lot during their long tenure in politics. They shared many interesting personal stories with this writer demonstrating their rich, in-depth involvement. The conversation clearly revealed that something important in our political rhetoric and actions is very different now than it was for them in the past. When questioned, Greg responded “civility in political discourse has been replaced with extreme, entrenched bipartisanship that has transformed political belief into religious belief resistant to logic and fact. “
While recruiting volunteers for the voter protection committee, the Metges promote the same democratic values prominent in campaigning for candidates. Minority rights and issues also prevail for the work of this committee. The democratic push to vote by mail recognizes preferences of some minorities to actually show up at the polls and is now promoting this option to minorities as a back-up plan: read and study your mail-in ballot, complete the ballot with your choices and take it with you to the polls JUST IN CASE. Twenty-five percent of voter protection targeted precincts serve large minority population. Although there are three current representatives, the need for more minority participation on this committee is crucial to protect and support the rights of this population. They welcome ALL participation, and minorities are especially welcomed.
So, now you’ve met the Metges. They and their committee are pretty impressive, aren’t they? Why not meet them in person…join their group and be part something vitally important to maintaining our democracy. No need to worry. They will train you and provide all the support you need. Be a protector of democracy.
Who knows, maybe they’ll even invite you to dinner with Joe.