Next Stop for the Mobile Voting Precinct: Austin, TX

As we close out day four of our Mobile Voting Precinct Southeastern tour, we are happy to report back that our day in the Big Easy has been quite productive. We wish we could report that our night ended quietly last night after we arrived in New Orleans, but that is another comical situation that cannot be overlooked; more of that to come. Despite the inferno heat and a thirty minute long torrential downpour this afternoon, we had many visitors at our MVP demonstration, which was accompanied by terrific feedback and great stories from all who stopped by to say hello.

After a couple weeks of dialogue, the New Orleans Registrar of Voter’s was kind enough to invite us into her home town. Given the application of the unit, we have always thought the MVP would be an excellent addition to the election office in New Orleans and Louisiana parishes so when we were invited to show the unit, we jumped at the opportunity. We arrived in front of City Hall this morning at 7 A.M. in order to park the MVP in Duncan Plaza literally right across the street. After the Sheriff’s department blocked off the road, they kindly pointed to the 5 foot wide sidewalk that leads to the center of the plaza and indicated that was our only access route to our parking spot. With Chris at the helm, the MVP was in its parking spot quickly after the six point turn on the one way street and a short ride down the sidewalk.

The theme that resonates the most from our visit with the New Orleans election office is the passion everyone has for the city and its community members. Every person that visited the MVP commented on the way it would allow the parish to further reach out to the community through voter registration drives, voter education exhibits, mock elections for schools and continued outreach to senior citizens. In addition, attendance at events such as Jazz Fest, VooDoo Fest and Mardi Gras would further provide massive potential for effective voter awareness, resulting in increased voter turnout.

Needless to say, it was an extremely successful day in Louisiana. However, we had to put a little elbow grease in to make sure it all worked out. We would be misleading our readers (I think we’re up to seven now) if we told you that it was smooth sailing after our post en route to NOLA yesterday.

The trip from Orlando to New Orleans is 639 miles and while we’re not positive, we are pretty confident there were approximately 7.2 million of bugs in between the two cities, of which 7.1 million ended up on our windshield. When we arrived around 11:30, after a long day of exhibiting and driving, the MVP was far from City Hall Showcase shape and we knew we were up a creek without a paddle in sight. We knew we had to wash the RV prior to this morning’s demo, which sounds far simpler than it was considering we lacked a water hose, a tall ladder, long handled brush or soap. Fortunately, the wonderful people at the Holiday Inn helped us as much as they could, but conditions were not ideal and we don’t think washing our RV was in their job description. We had to bellhop all of our materials and luggage ourselves down to the bellman’s room (not to be confused with the hotel dungeon, but close.) The ladies room, where we had to obtain our buckets of water, one at a time (uphill both ways) did not stray too far from the closet in décor. After an hour and a half of working with the equivalent of moist towelettes, the MVP was finally presentable and our work was complete. All-in-all, we now feel a little bit more confident about our road-warrior status and we cannot wait to share this experience with the veterans in Austin, Texas.

Blog Post By: Mike Linden & Chris Andrews

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