Election Express: Talking politics over coffee and sandwiches

By Cathy Poley

Originally appeared on CNN.com

Thursday, July 22, 2004 Posted: 10:50 AM EDT (1450 GMT)

CONCORD, New Hampshire (CNN) — Across from the New Hampshire Statehouse is a small sandwich shop called the Brown Bag Deli.

Owners Betsy Fitts and Diane Nourse say that their location leads to a good deal of political debate inside their doors.”We get a lot of
people in here who are very political,” Fitts says.

“Being downtown, we have a lot of white collar folks who are very involved with the Statehouse across the street. We hear the bantering and
we hear the concerns that people have.”Fitts says it does not surprise her that New Hampshire is a battleground state.

“It is very few and far between that you hear people say, ‘I’m not voting for Bush this time’ or, ‘I’m definitely voting for Kerry,’ or that sort of thing,” she says. “It’s hard to tell which way New Hampshire voters will go this time.”

Down the street, The Coffee Mill also has a politically minded clientele and has sandwiches with names like, “The Fil-a-Buster” and “The Lobbyist.”

Justin Furrow who works at The Coffee Mill says many of his customers worry that voter turn out will be low. “Many of the people who come in here from the political parties are concerned about getting voters out to the polls, and convincing them to vote at all.”

In New Hampshire, to register to vote, you need to go to City Hall. While in most states you can register by filling out a form and sending it in, New Hampshire voters have to make an extra effort to register in person.

There is one other option for citizens of New Hampshire though: They can register to vote on Election Day right before they vote. So for the Bush and Kerry campaigns, convincing the people of New Hampshire to vote at all is almost as important as convincing the citizens of the Granite State to vote for them.

Tomorrow, the Election Express heads to the JFK library as we continue on the road to the Democratic Convention. Boston officials are concerned about how labor disputes with police officers will affect the convention.

Aside from security concerns, there is the possibility of picket lines at welcome events. Some delegates say the will not cross a picket line to go to the convention. We will continue to monitor this story.