As I have said on BMG on occasion, no one ever accused me of being normal.
In the interest of encouraging BMGers to help elect Democrats, I’m sharing my story of how I observed the 100 days out weekend. Now is the time to start planning to help. Don’t think of volunteering as something you do when you don’t have any thing else to do. Start blocking out time now to help.
In my area we have three towns that work together as a team. We are known as the MW Team Five. With the 100 days milestone looming, it seemed like a great chance to try to do 100 doors in a day. I asked some of our key people to set personal goals around the 100 theme.
Matt, a high school student who is the leader of Team Five, decided that he would get some of the local high school students together and as a group do at least 100 doors over the weekend. We came up with the name, the “High Fives” for the Team Five High School students. Paul decided that he would do two canvasses and 100 doors over the two days. I would focus on trying for 100 doors in one day. The idea was for each to have a goal that would be fun and challenging.
At 9:30 AM on Saturday, Matt and a high school friend arrived. My husband drove them to their turf and later drove them home, freeing me up to get to my total. We deployed quickly since Matt was able to easily train his partner, by showing him what to do.
Mostly it was places we hadn’t walked before, but I had included one street that I done a small part of a few months ago. The voters remembered me and chatted. I have started incorporating into my pitch the information that Independent factcheckers showed Elizabeth Warren’s plan to cut the deficit was 67% more effective than Brown’s.. This was resonating and I was getting a very positive response. One thing is very clear to me. It’s not too early to start engaging voters. If we want to reach folks, we need to recruit more volunteers and we recruit volunteers by going door to door.
A high point of the morning was meeting a gentleman who was an early supporter of Elizabeth Warren, living in my town. We had spoken on the phone once or twice, but I had never gotten him to volunteer. When I knocked on his door on Saturday, I knew that my goal was to get him to volunteer. We had a great conversation. He agreed to try to get “Eleven for Elizabeth” from his personal network, and possibly start volunteering with canvassing voters in Spanish speaking communities.
I got 57 doors done and I was back in time to meet the 1:00 PM shift. This took a little more time. We had six for the afternoon shift. The three high school students went off together and the two adult volunteers partnered up and I was solo again. The only problem – not quite enough literature for me to do the 43 houses so that I could meet my goal. My ever supportive husband agreed on a quick trip to pick up more literature.
Just as I was running low on lit, my husband met me and gave the lit. I was still on track to meet my goal. And then it rained, hard. I will canvass in a little rain, but when you are drenched and the literature is getting soaked the voters think you are crazy, not dedicated. I had a plastic bag but somehow rain was getting in and I saw that my walk pages were getting wet and the ink was running.
I ran to the car and got home. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that all the lit was in good shape and that the running ink was on the names and not on my results. I dried off, changed my clothes and then I tallied up my doors. Only 91 doors. It was still raining but it was no longer a downpour. I had promises to keep.
Time for Plan B. My backup turf was a condo complex. The buildings are setup so that you can stand in the lobby, out of the rain, and ring buzzers and hope that people will talk to you. My contact rates were actually as good there as they were on the rest of the route. The voter who made the biggest impression on me was the woman who buzzed me in, invited me into her home, and then offered me juice or water. She didn’t seem terribly interested but she listened very politely and told me that she would make up her mind later. I had the impression that people don’t knock doors in this complex much and she was simply treating me with the hospitality that she would give to any visitor to her home.
Final personal tally for the day: 109. They call me relentless, but even I would not have gone back out for the third time, if I hadn’t had a goal keeping me going.
Sunday was allocated for going to NH. A friend responded to my offer to drive people to NH. She took the train out to the South Acton train station. The coordinated campaign office is just a few steps away. I grabbed a doughnut, dropped off some turf and we were off to the Nashua office. We were sent to a neighborhood in Nashua. We identified a possible volunteer and a family that would need an absentee ballot for a relative who is living overseas and would be there during the election. Between the two of us, my partner and I knocked 51 doors.
My partner hitched a ride to Boston with some other MA volunteers and I was off to join Paul’s group next town over. Matt joined us and between the three of us we knocked off two turfs. Paul and Matt & the High Fives all eat their goals. It just made it fun!
To top the day off late Sunday evening I got the following message on facebook. “I did 131 today, but only with the motivation from your post yesterday. Yesterday you beat me by 3, so I had to do better.” I was thrilled by the fact that I had motivated someone to do more!.
Every area is different. Every person has different availability and capability. Doing 100 doors in Somerville is different from doing 100 doors in Alford. Pick goals that are meaningful and achievable. I loved Matt’s goal because he used it to engage his fellow high school students. For the busy parent, squeezing out an hour to help a campaign is a real commitment.
Don’t think “it’s too early to canvass.”. This election will be won this summer. Do it now. It’s fun and it’s an opportunity to change politics!!