Well, this is my first time volunteering for any campaign. I started with going to the web site at Barackobama.com and making phone calls., But today, I took the day off work, and went down to the local campaign office. (I voted two weeks ago, so today was all mine.)
And I am glad I did.
I volunteered for the first shift, showing up at 7:30am, and I didn’t actually know what they were going to want me to do. I was actually nervous about showing up. I don’t always like getting in front of people, and the phone calls made me nervous, but I was committed to doing this, leaving everything on the road.
The office was shared by the Obama campaign and the Darcy Burner campaign, so once I showed up and signed in, they asked me what I was here to to. I asked them what they needed most, and they said canvassing. Fine. I can do that. So I got a cup of coffee and waited. The place started to ill with people, and at around 7:45 or so they started a quick canvassing training, going over the script, the literature (which was a nicely done door hangar that promoted Obama, Gregiore, and Burner together. We were split into teams of two and given a bag with our district assignments.
I was paired up with a sharp guy named Mike. Mike had been doing this before, and was actually from Manhattan. He took time off work and flew to Seattle to volunteer for Darcy’s campaign. Dang. Our packet was for a neighborhood off in the far suburbs of WA-08, so we took off right away to make good time.
The organizers at the Campaign office wanted to make sure that everyone had their packets turned back in by 1:00pm. That didn’t sound too hard.
As we drove out to our location, Mike laid out his plan, I could handle driving door to door, and tracking the map, and he would be the runner. This was helped by using the GPS in my car to track the streets and locations without getting lost.
This worked out quite well. I organized our route, and when there was enough doors close to one another, we both would jump out and do opposite sides of the street. It was still early in the morning, so we could only hang literature on the doorknobs, we weren’t allowed to ring bells until 10:00. At 10 we started ringing bells as well, but most folks were at work. We were making great time, and were done with our whole list by about 10:30.
We headed back to the main office, and got there around 11:00. The place was packed. There were all kinds of people manning the phones, the overflow room had people making calls on their own cellphones, and the canvassing material was moved outside into the parking lot, which was filled with so many cars we had to park down the block.
We turned in our packet, and since I still had time, we grabbed another. This one even further out in Carnation.
The GPS guided us out there again, and we started knocking and hanging lit. We noticed that some of the doors already had the same stuff that we were hanging. This seemed odd. It wasn’t random either, these were the same houses as were on our list. So we called the office. As it turned out, there were enough canvassing volunteers that they were making three passes on each name on the list, until they got confirmation of voting.
We kept it up, finishing by 1:30, and making it back by 2:00. The place was still packed. I had to go pick up my daughter, so mike and I traded numbers, shook hands, and he paired up with another new canvasser to show him the ropes as well. We’ll be keeping in touch.
This is amazing. This is people-powered politics. This is why we will win.
All of us. Yes we can.