Voter deadline looms; Reid's says get out
The effort has paid off, says volunteer Adrienne Ghaly, who in the last two days has assisted 17 voters– some new who were unregistered; some who simply needed to update their addresses. This morning, she was camped in front of the Lucky 7 convenience store on Market Street, but, she says, not all stores have been welcoming.
Management at Reid Super Save Market on Preston Avenue has asked several volunteers to leave the property, says Ghaly, who says the Reid's manager kicked her off the property yesterday.
Reid Super Save Market is the closest grocery store to several primarily African American neighborhoods, including 10th and Page and Starr Hill.
"I am shocked," Ghaly says, "that he would take the community's money and not allow people to enfranchise that community to vote."
But Reid's manager Charlie Wood says that's not the case– he doesn't mind voter registration as long as its nonpartisan.
"They're wearing a campaign button," he says of the Obama volunteers. Wood says he welcomes voter registration efforts and cites a recent day when the city set up a voter registration table. "They sat out here all day," he says.
Ghaly admits she was wearing a small Obama sticker, but insists she wasn't trying to sway voters. Campaign law prohibits canvassing during voter registration, but Ghaly says wearing a campaign logo doesn't count as canvassing. In addition, she says, she offered to remove the Obama sticker once she realized that's what Wood disputed. That didn't satisfy Wood.
"Hey, it's too late now," says Wood, who worried that McCain voters would be put off by Reid's. He adds that Ghaly argued with him after he told her to leave. "You don't go on someone's property and argue with them," he says.
Wood says his position on politics in the store has been the same for the 30 years he's worked at Reid's.
"I have Republicans and Democrats who shop here," he says. "I don't even allow them to put political signs in the windows. I want to stay neutral."