Monday, November 03, 2008

Canvassing for Obama in the Burbs

Yesterday evening I volunteered to canvas voters for the Democratic party out in Virginia--a new experience for me.

First, I gotta say that the Obama people definitely have their act together. The organization was nothing short of phenomenal; if Obama wins and they can run the country the way this campaign is being run, we'll be in good shape!

When I got to the DNC parking lot on S. Capitol, they had direction sheets ready to send volunteers to local offices in the outer ring of the VA burbs, normally Republican territory. I got Ashburn in Loudoun County--out beyond Dulles Airport. This is the land of McMansions (the kind with brick facades on the front and vinyl siding on the rest of the house) and long commutes.

The local Democratic office in a very anonymous-looking office park had the packets ready with the names and addresses of the households we were to visit. The detailed info on the sheets was amazing. The addresses had already been visited twice, and we were only going to the ones where there had been no one at home, or where there was support for Obama--the idea being to make sure those people get to the polls. They even had flashlights for the canvassers (it was already dark at 6 p.m.)!

I was paired with a very sharp young woman who works in Sen. Patty Murray's office, and we headed off to a subdivision about 4 miles away--one of those with curving streets and lots of cul-de-sacs. I gotta say walking around suburbia at night seems pretty creepy.

Happily, no one pulled a gun on us, and most people were surprisingly cordial. Someone came to every door we knocked on. At the first house we hit, they actually wanted to engage in conversation about the election, so we hung around for a good ten minutes. A number of the households were divided about the election, but there seemed to be pretty good support for Obama--including a number of yard signs at houses we didn't visit. We were also supposed to say stuff about Mark Warner and Judy Feder, but people really seemed focused only on the presidential race. Only one guy (at a house with a big American flag on the porch and a "no tresspassing" sign in the window) told us to beat it--wonder who he's voting for.

So I don't know if this helped the cause, but I'm glad I did it, because it feels good to have done something besides give money.

I think they're still taking volunteers, so if you're interested, you can call at 202-579-2584.

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At 11/03/2008 12:35 PM, Blogger si said...

im so glad you went out & did this! jeff & I have been going out with a couple other neighbors for about a month now on the weekend and it has been a great experience. You are right, the organization level is pretty incredible.


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