Monday, November 03, 2008

One Day Out

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Call-out to DCW reader Chris: THANKS for coming down from NY! Welcome to PA to help with the final push.

Call-out to DCW reader Mithras: Happy you are running one of the Philadelphia phone banks. Glad you haven't seen the liar-calls we have. THANKS for being on the alert.

A few days after the election, I'm going to interview the campaign kid field operative who has been living in my house for the last several months. If there is anything you'd like to ask him, please leave it in the comments. I've had my list of questions for some time, and my first one (which I've already asked him) is: why did you decide to take a year off from college and work for Senator Obama? My second question will be: what did you learn?

If you've ever worked at a phone bank, you know it's a mass of papers and noise, and surprising volunteers. There are two magnificent women, Chardie and Kadida, who are helping run the phone bank, and will be completely in charge tomorrow when I'm at the polls. (I'll see if I can't talk them into a picture later today.) We have people who sign up for a 3-hour shift, and stay all day, and run packets and errands, and really go the extra mile. Then again, if you ever worked a phone bank, and you want to really piss off the person in charge, walk in late, ask where the coffee is, and then complain about the brand.

Anyway, yesterday started with a phone call from a kid named Chas. He was at the canvass site, calling to report a water main break. Chas is 15, and has been phone banking and canvassing for months. We actually make him take breaks to get his homework done -- left to his own devices he'd work the campaign 24/7. He's been working the canvass site making packets, doing training, along with a dedicated group of people, including Gerry from NY, been here for the last 2 months; and, for this weekend, my campaign kid's father and uncle. His 82-year old grandmother was at the phone bank yesterday, and made calls for 7 solid hours. They also drove down from NY for this.

This time of year, the canvass shuts down before the phone bank because it's easier to make calls after dark than canvass. (And make calls we did: over 5100 of them.) The photo is Chas, with Olivia. The campaign is big on titles: Olivia was assigned to "security." It worked well, as there were a few little kids who came with their parents in the evening, so besides coloring or playing with dolls, they "babysat" Olivia. (Some security....)

We started with a list of about 5000 people. We have so far identified about 2000 supporters, and another 800 non-supporters, bad numbers, undecided voters, college kids who have already voted absentee, and we were able to get about another 50 volunteers from our calls. Our goal is to identify each and every supporter and get each and every one of them out to vote.

A lot of people don't like getting phone calls. Oreo sent me a Kos diary from a guy who appearantly lives not far from here (next county over) who is overjoyed at the phone calls and other campaigning. He says:

I am so overjoyed, I cannot sit still. Writing this diary, and sharing the glow from watching a community rise from political lethargy, is my way of celebrating.
We know from our numbers that there are people who did NOT know where their polling place was located. In one area, the "normal" polling place is under construction, so there is an alternate site. Some people are new to the area. Some people have limitations which require assistance at the polls, and we can easily arrange for solutions. This is why we do what we do.