Sunday, November 02, 2008

View from the Ground - T Minus 49 Hours

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

We had about 45 volunteers at our phone bank yesterday, exclusive of those of us who virtually live there. Some stayed for only 3 hours (1 shift) and some stayed for 5 or 6. I was supposed to calculate "shifts" and not "volunteers", but I didn't find out about that until about 10:30 at night.

On our sign-up sheet, I had listed "time-in" and "time-out", but only 3 people had done the "time-out" thing, so I actually don't know the real shift number.

I know we did slightly over 5000 calls, with a supporter/non-supporter ration of 14:1.

The big problem we had yesterday was the number of callers who reported that this was the second or third call that they'd gotten TODAY. The standard, correct, and TRUE answer is that we were calling from the National Campaign, but there were other groups with access to the same lists who could have called. Namely, Women for Obama, Jews for Obama, Hispanics for Obama, Catholics for Obama, etc., etc., PLUS Move-On, SEIU, the state Democratic Party....but there was something to the information we were getting from respondents that was a little off.

It took a few hours to figure out, but it turns out that SOMEONE - and I do not know who (although I certainly have my suspicions) is calling our people and saying the following:

Hi, I'm so-and-so for the Obama campaign, reminding you that Election Day is Tuesday, and your polling place is (this location).
Problem is, that "polling place" is incorrect. The ramifications of which are obvious.

So we're all over this, but for all of you that think PA is won - how do the opinion and tracking polls pick up that people may be sent to the wrong location, stand in line for an hour, and then get told that no, this is not your polling place? Will the voters be willing to go to another place? Wait in line again?

The "wrong calls" are targetted to younger and lapsed voters, also to new-to-the-area voters, and they very well might not know where their polling place is.

The other obnoxious thing we found out is that some older voters are receiving calls which offer to send cars for them. And when we ask WHO is coming for them, they realize that there was no name left, no contact phone number. Another set of problems.

So, we're on it.

But, and you know this is coming: if you live in a swing state, PLEASE come out and help up with phone banking and canvassing. If you live in a blue state near a swing state, come on over, we'll find you a place to stay.

Bottom line: no matter what the polls say, you cannot always account for people who are working feverishly to corrupt the process.