Yesterday, Saturday November 3, 2012, marked the start of Get Out the Vote all across the USA. GOTV is when volunteers hit the streets, knocking on doors, encouraging voters--usually very carefully chosen registered voters--to get out and vote. Seeing that I live in Ohio, supposedly the battle ground state, GOTV has been huge. Seeing as this is a college town (where 6,000 new voters have been registered since August), GOTV relies very heavily on the young people.
Voting is very important to me. When I was naturalized as an American citizen when I was three, one of three memories I have of that day is the judge taking all of us foreign adoptees--and now new young citizens--into his chambers and explaining to us that as citizens we had the right to vote, but more importantly, we had the duty to vote and he expected us to do so every time we were able, as soon as we were old enough to vote.
I remember going behind the curtains and pulling levers as my mother voted in my elementary school gym.
I've voted in ever election since I turned 18.
As soon as we had children, my husband and I began taking them to the polls with us, even if that meant that we had to get them out of their classroom to do so. Even now, the 17 year old Middle One, went with his father to vote. I took the 12 year old with me when I voted early. The Eldest is on his own and voted by absentee from Spain. He and I did go together when he cast his first ballot, though, shortly after he turned 18.
At 13 and 16, my older boys worked hours and hours, days and days on the grassroots campaigning in 2008. They and my husband made phone calls, knocked doors, entered data, knocked more doors, rang more phones (I provide comfort instead, by feeding the volunteers and doing general grunt work and making it possible for my kids and husband to do what they do).
Since 2008, my boys have been active in more than just presidential campaigns. They've worked on local ordinance campaigns, senatorial campaigns, gubernatorial campaigns, as well as others. The Middle has protested bad proposed legislation (SB 5) and worked to get it over turned. He's completed two fellowships with OFA. And currently has a job working for a campaign.
So it was sort of a no-brainer that we'd all be busy this weekend with GOTV. The Middle was off with his campaign, knocking doors all over the county for nearly 8 hours on Saturday and for 3 hours today. The Feral Third went out knocking doors yesterday and today, doing the legitimate work that adults were also doing with him but not for him. I made food for the workers, drove workers and voters where they needed to be, organized food donations, checked out packets, did general "Girl Friday" type stuff. All day. Both days.
Friends provided food--pizza ordered from out of state, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti and meatballs, jambalaya, chili, cookies, salads, more.
A group of young men from a college in Connecticut showed up late last night and are staying through Tuesday morning before driving back.
For two days, we had a steady stream of people coming in to help. Retirees, university students, locals, out of towners, families, grandparents and grandchildren, all races, all ages.
By 1:00 today, they had knocked on every single door in the city of anyone who had indicated they were voting Democrat and, as of Thursday, had not voted. But wait! It gets better!
By 1:00 today, they had knocked on every single door twice! We sent people to other locations to help out. We were able to send people out to student areas a THIRD time to touch base with those who were still asleep earlier in the day.
Oh, everyone acknowledges that door knocking and calling is annoying. Yes, indeedy. No denying.
But these techniques work. And the workers frequently get thanked for their work.
So to all those of you out there working on GOTV in other places, keep up the good work! Two more days!
To all of you who are being harassed by GOTV, it ends in 48 hours.
To all of you who want to help with GOTV, there are ample opportunities yet. Just ask. There's plenty of work, especially Tuesday.
Tuesday, OFA staging locations will need food, especially lunch. They never turn down food.
If it's cold where you are, hand warmers are helpful. Canvassers usually have to remove gloves to write and their hands get cold quickly and frequently. If it's hot, water and other beverages.
And when you get those calls and knocks, remember, this is democracy in action. People make change happen.