HOW TO VOLUNTEER FOR OBAMA (FOR MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS)
1. Sign up for an account on:
2. Join the local group for your town. You can search by zip code or town name. For instance, the group in Framingham is here:
( http://my.barackobama.com/page/group/FRAMINGHAMFOROBAMA )
3. Look for events on that page and sign up for them.
People who do not have a computer can get in touch with the MA state campaign by calling 617-776-2895.
WAYS TO HELP:
A. Carpool to NH to Canvass, Enter Data, Make Phone Calls, or Register Voters
We in Framingham will carpool up to southern NH at least every Saturday morning, and on many Sundays as well. Sign up for a carpool on the Framingham for Obama page. The more advance notice, the better, but try to give the leader at least 12 hours’ notice.
Those who are able to walk for several hours are encouraged to canvass. The most common form of canvassing involves getting about 1 hour’s training at headquarters, receiving a filtered list of voters, walking to their doors, introducing yourself as an Obama volunteer, asking if they’ve thought about who they’re planning to vote for this election, recording the result, and returning the packet to headquarters. For most canvassers, the focus is on voter identification (“voter ID”) rather than persuasion. Hence, there’s no need to be super-informed on the facts. Furthermore, most responders are supportive, polite, or neutral rather than hostile. Thus, it’s much easier than most people anticipate. For a description, see this piece:
( http://bluemassgroup.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=12182 )
Canvassing requires several hours’ worth of walking. It can be done by pairs traveling together to house, by pairs working opposite sides of the street, or alone. If you have mobility problems but would still like to canvass (for instance, if you have a scooter), let headquarters know ahead of time.
If canvassing is not for you, you are welcome to enter data or make phone calls at the campaign headquarters. The campaign headquarters in NH may enable you to perform voter registration as well, but this is less common in my experience.
B. Phone NH Voters from Home
You can make phone calls right from home as long as you have a computer. See the page at:
( http://my.barackobama.com/page/votercontact/campaign_overview?campaign_id=3gP )
C. Phone NH Voters from Phone Banks
To attend phone bank parties at private homes (usually requires you to bring your cell phone), look for events on the Framingham for Obama page. Better yet, host your own!
There are sites set up that let people make calls from land lines on a regular basis, and there will be more.
UPDATE (2008-09-19): See comment below for information on the phone bank in the Arlington district office.
D. Help Out-Of-State Students in MA Register In Their Home States
If you have a connection to a campus (for instance, if you’re a student, or are related to a student) and are interested in this, get in touch with Tim Moloney ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). See also the Voter Registration Action page:
( http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/vrachome )
UPDATE (2008-09-19): See comment below for information about registration deadlines for selected swing states.
E. Travel to Other Swing States
If you want to volunteer in a swing state other than NH, contact Tim Moloney at email@example.com . When you write to him, please share your contact info, relevant state, time frame and a brief sense of skill/experience.
UPDATE (2008-09-18): Also see ObamaTravel at:
F. Phone Potential MA Volunteers from Home
To phone Obama supporters and potential volunteers, go to:
( http://my.barackobama.com/page/votercontact/switch_campaign?campaign_id=phK )
G. Attend or Host House Parties
House parties bring people together and attract potential volunteers. The host may give attendees the opportunity to donate to the campaign at the party. Look for house parties on the Framingham for Obama page, or host and post one of your own.
H. Join the Election Protection Team
If you are a lawyer and would like to defend the integrity of this election, sign up for Counsel for Change:
( http://my.barackobama.com/counselforchange )
If you are not a lawyer, sign up for the Voter Protection program:
( http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/vpcvol2 )
You can set up a fundraising goal on your my.barackobama.com account and ask people you know to donate toward your goal. See:
( http://my.barackobama.com/page/outreach/splash/main )
J. Register Voters in MA
See the campaign’s guide to registration at:
( http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/VRM2.pdf )
You may obtain voter registration forms in multiple languages at colleges, high schools, local government offices. Make sure that you inform potential registrants that they must be American citizens who will be 18 or older on Election Day. It will help to have multilingual people and signs at your table. You can distribute the forms at tables at events or streets that experience a high amount of foot traffic. If you will be on or near private property, make sure to get permission beforehand. For information for MA voters about registering to vote or applying for an absentee ballot, see:
( http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/ )
Here are suggestions for signs in several languages:
Not registered to vote? Do it here now. You must be 18 or older and an American citizen. Make your voice count.
¿No se ha inscrito para votar? Hágalo aquí, ahora. Debe tener 18 años o más y ser ciudadano de los Estados Unidos. Haga oír su voz.
Você ainda não se inscreveu para votar? Você pode se inscrever aqui, agora. É preciso ter 18 anos ou mais e ser cidadão americano. O seu voto conta.
K. Help Family and Friends Register
Direct people you know to their secretary of state’s website to learn information about that state’s registration requirements and deadlines. Generally, the website will have a link to a page for the elections division.
L. Intern for Obama
If you or someone you want to know wants to intern for Obama, see:
( http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/NHintern )
M. Buy Gear for Obama
You can buy lawn signs, car magnets, T-shirts (personalized or otherwise), and other gear on the
Internet. While there are unofficial sites that offer these products, at the official Obama store
your money goes directly to the campaign, and goods sold there are union-made in the USA. If you’re approaching your maximum contribution limit, be careful, though: money for your purchases is counted as a donation.
Note that products are discounted for bulk (click on the “Buy in Bulk” button that appears after you’ve clicked on a particular product), so it’s worthwhile for a group (such as a Democratic Town Committee) to buy and then distribute a large number of an item.
UPDATE (2008-09-18): I’m told that Demstore.com, which also sells only U.S. union-made merchandise, has faster order fulfillment than the Obama store. There are also union shops within Massachusetts that can fulfill your needs.
N. Write Letters to the Editor
You can submit letters to the editor to newspapers and magazines. While your letter will get a wider audience if it is accepted by a major publication, your chances of getting published are much better if you submit it to a smaller local publication. Local publications are also much more likely to allow you to print a longer piece as an editorial. Be sure to find out beforehand the restrictions that the publication places on submissions, since if your piece is too long, it will be rejected.
O. Organize or Help Organize a Local Group
If you can’t find a local group via barackobama.com or a local coordinator via the office (617-776-2895), or if the coordinator in your area could use some help, consider becoming a coordinator or co-coordinator. Ask the office for more details.