We had a great day canvassing in Medford. It was a wonderful mix of experienced canvassers, people from across the state and local people. People came for all sorts of reason and had heard about this from many sources.
DFA Chairman Jim Dean came and addressed the group. Jim Dean talked about some of the research around what influences voters. He stressed the importance of door to door. He mentioned issues around television advertising.
Senator Pat Jehlen spoke briefly to the group, talking about Scott Brown and her knowledge of him as someone who had been a colleague. She stressed that he is not an independent voice. I was very pleased that Senator Jehlen spent the day with us, including joining us at the social gathering afterwards.
As an organizer the event was successful in getting people out for a number of reasons. Jim Dean and the advertising from DFA brought people in. Senator Jehlen had publicized the event as had Progressive Democrats of Somerville. The local Elizabeth Warren team, under the leadership of the extraordinary Erin RIst, got people to come. Hearing from guest speakers gets people out. BMG promoted the event, Charley joined us and brought his two kids. Max Stahl of DFA, Chris Warshaw, Ari Fertig and Katie Wallace all helped in organizing or promoting the event.
It was also my “Birthday Canvass. And there were a number of people who came because I asked them to.join us. Although I am not above shameless self-promotion, I say this today to encourage all of you who are volunteering, but not recruiting to ask people. Keep those asks going. Make personal connections. Most importantly, look beyond your political friends.
I personally was particularly pleased that my sister came and canvassed with me. She had never done this before, but came because it was my birthday canvass. I also got my friend Matt to join us. He was also a first time canvasser. We had a great time canvassing together the three of us.
One of the most memorable moments of the day was at a particular home. As is my habit I knock on the door and then look at the list to get some information about the voter. I want to be prepared to ask for the voter by name and get a little bit of a sense of what to expect. My list said that the voter was 100 years old. I expected that we might get a relative telling us that the voter couldn’t come to the door or that she was in a nursing home. I expected that we might not get an answer. But this 100 year old woman came to the door and had a a real conversation with us. She told us how she thought Elizabeth was a wonderful candidate and what a tough decision it had been but she had already voted for Scott Brown.
The day ended with a restaurant meal provided by DFA. Rule number four is feed the volunteers. It is a way of saying thank you. As important as satisfying hunger is, as important, if not more so, is the fact that when people break bread together, we work better together. We learn about each other as people. It makes it easier for us to be tolerant when things don’t go quite as planned. When a volunteer cancels out but you know they are balancing two jobs and school, it is easier to understand.
Thanks to all who made the day such a success. It was a very organic event so I’m sure that I will miss some people, but I want to mention here the BMGers who took part. Charley-on-the-MTA, afertig, sue-kennedy, ealmquist, katie-wallace and more. I’m naming only those who are open about how they blog.
When it comes to lessons learned I see that I should have put the address in the post and not simply relied on people to click through to the RSVP to get the information. One of the reasons that so many people came out is that it is so close to the election that people are paying attention. The downside is I have too many things going on and missed that question on the post!
All in all, an absolutely awesome day!