Halifax native volunteered for Democrats in U.S. midterm elections
Instead of just tweeting about politics, Andrea Melvin says she decided to get involved
A Halifax native with little previous involvement in politics in Canada says it was exciting to volunteer as an election challenger for the Democrats at polling stations in Tuesday's midterm elections in the United States.
Andrea Melvin moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., about eight years ago for her husband's work as an academic at a university. She is now an American citizen and also has a job there as a museum curator. Both are Dalhousie University graduates.
An election challenger is someone who makes sure people turned away from the polls, if, for example, they don't bring their ID, know what their options are if they want to vote.
"I was presented with a hotline that I could call if you needed help," Melvin said in an interview Tuesday night just as the midterm results were coming in.
"And it was kind of cool. There was a lot of opportunities for me to help. For instance, there were people who had moved — especially students, they tend to move around a lot and so … trying to figure out if you can't vote here, where can you vote.
"And it was just really exciting to be a part of it."
Melvin said the precinct where she volunteered was very busy.
"There was lots of activity. And you just felt there was a lot of young people out, a lot of people out for this election. We were really surprised by the numbers," she said.
Tuesday's midterm elections marked the first major voter test of Donald Trump's controversial presidency.
The results mean the Democrats are set to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, while the Republicans hold on to the Senate.
This was Melvin's first time voting in a midterm.
"Typically on the midterm elections you don't get as high a turnout for voters. I had voted in the presidential election in 2016 and it felt very comparable to that in terms of the numbers of people that were out."
She said she wasn't really involved in politics growing up in Canada as at the time there didn't seem to be "too many controversial things."
But in the U.S., all the discussion on social media about the state of politics pushed her to become more involved and to become an election challenger.
Now that she's voted, Melvin said she'll feel better when she goes on social media and say whatever she wants about politics.
"It's just more knowledge about the United States and kind of where we're at today, so I'm just really excited to continue to learn about politics here and just how complicated they are."
With files from Anjuli Patil