Despite reading the news stories from across the country about the tour and tracking its progress across the country, the bus remained a largely abstract concept to me - until last night. Until I saw it turn the corner, coming toward me with the street light playing off the Capitol Guy logo and the Project Vote Smart web address painted across the side. Even after all the pictures, I was surprised at how impressive it was in real life. Reading that it's 45 feet long or even seeing the pictures doesn't prepare you for how massive it is when you're standing next to it.
Having the bus at the University of Arizona was incredibly exciting for the staff and interns here in Tucson. Most of our interns signed up to help and were out on the mall directing people to the bus throughout the day. Students climbed on board to hear Jon's presentation and watch the PVS video. The giant inflatable ball got quite a workout, rolling up and down the central mall, collecting messages along the way.
Most PVS staff members will never set foot on the bus or have the chance to interact face-to-face with the voters we serve. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the research that we lose sight of the impact our work can have. This makes the bus tour all the more important as a link between those of us in the organization and members of the public who want to see the election process change for the better. We're very grateful for the dedication of the bus team, living in cramped quarters for months on end and driving thousands and thousands of miles to get the word out to as many people as will listen. They remind us of all the reasons we joined the Project. We don't do this work for ourselves, we do it for the American public and because we believe every voter can make an impact. The bus leaves the Tucson staff and interns inspired, rejuvenated, and ready for the busy election ahead.