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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Canvassing


Al Giordano Reports from a Field Reader In Illinois:

I have just returned from canvassing Indiana, after leaving Chicago at 7 am today. I would like to share with you what happened.

The campaign had previously e-mailed me and assigned me to a specific city (Indianapolis), a specific office in that city, and a specific staging area to meet in Chicago to get there. Normally in these staging areas there are more drivers than riders. This time so many volunteers showed up the cars filled up. I showed up 10 minutes late and was not able to secure a car. They had all filled up. The campaign then told me to go downtown to the Illinois HQ, which was a staging area for a different city in Indiana, Michigan City. While I'm in the HQ signing in and getting a ride, I see at least 75 people phonebanking.

We hit the road and ninety minutes later I'm in Michigan city. The field office there is packed: at least 100 volunteers are crammed into it. They have a three shift system: people canvass in the morning, and give their list to the second shift who knocks on the doors of anyone who wasn't home, and a third shift that knocks on any door that the second shift didn't make a contact with. I was assigned to the second shift, but there were so many volunteers I couldn't get a packet!

Michigan City, a fairly small city, had a satellite office. I was quickly sent there, to find a room with 4 campaign organizers and at least 50 volunteers. I managed to score the last walking packet for this office's second shift. I did my shift in a lower-income African American area and had a contact rate of 30% (mind you, using a walking sheet that had already been walked 2 hours ago; I was knocking on every door that had been marked previously as nobody home). Everyone I spoke with had either already voted or assured me they vote Tuesday for Obama.

The best part? On the way to the satellite office we passed the local RNC office. It was closed.

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