11.10.08

campaigning in ohio - dispatch #4

it sort of feels like i've actually re-located to columbus, not just popped by as a political tourist in search of a hot campaign. i mean, today i did such 'i live here' things as shop at Target for scouring pads and a brita, get a massage, and visit the market for produce. i'm currently preparing a sweet potato chipotle soup. feeling harassed by that bandwagon, i picked up a copy of 'the secret life of bees' which i shall curl up and read on the porch tonight instead of seeing margaret cho at the palace theatre - an expense i really couldn't justify.

after our 'golden week' grand finale on monday, the campaign has temporarily suspended. tate, the director, drove back to brooklyn for a few days to stroke shawna's baby bump; plus he's up to his eyeballs in FEC paperwork. other members of the core team have scattered away for a few days of rest/play. and here i remain in columbus, holding down the fort while tending to neglected contract work for clients from home.

and of course, i saw OBAMA yesterday at genoa park, downtown. it was all that. i'm so glad i came down here to this intensely heated battleground state. what a freaking historic election.

i've had occasion to weigh options and consider other points of interest in these here united states. i thought about checking out philly, looking for campaign work in florida, or even heading to colorado where the race is tight and fascinating. then amy, our field director - who is now home in new york state with her ducks and congressional races - suggested my role in the next phase of our project could be that of more press officer duties while continuing my regional oversight of cincinnati. that suits me fine. i feel invested in ohio now, especially after these two weeks of fervor. and i like the idea of staying with this team and seeing something really cool to it's end.

what exactly are we going to do? well now that 'golden week' is over, we are planning some variation on the same theme: mobilize registered voters to continue to take advantage of the early vote scheme. it all returns to full swing in this makeshift HQ on monday morning.

here's what we/i posted just the other day to the Vote Today Ohio website:

LOOK WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO!

Monday was the final day of Golden Week here in Ohio, and we ROCKED IT!

That was the day we banked just over 800 Obama votes (exact tallies to be confirmed).

That was the day we hit our single biggest total.

That was the day when all our advance work and publicity paid off. It shows the cumulative power of our relentless organizers, drivers, team leaders, and supporters. We built a great organization together, and no matter what curveballs came our way, we persevered with our mission.

That perseverance touched people. As corny as it sounds, our work here hasn't just added votes to Obama's column. It has changed lives. Original volunteers have decided to stay longer to keep driving early voters. New recruits found over the course of our activities have thrown themselves into the cause. One of our team leaders in Cincinnati called on Tuesday to announce "The amazing volunteers here just won't be stopped!"

Deep down, I think he's why all of us do this work -- to make our democracy work for the people that need it most. That's justice.

Also, of course, we do this work to WIN. So, how does it all add up? What do we have to show for our blood, sweat and tears?

During Golden Week, Vote Today Ohio banked ~3300 Obama votes and 621 voter registrations. Did we make a critical contribution in America's #1 battleground state? Absolutely!

Our 3300 votes were far more than just a drop in the bucket. Consider this: In Franklin County (home to Columbus), 9264 people voted early during Golden Week. Vote Today Ohio vans (and cars and marches) moved 1369 of them to the polls. Yes, we directly moved 14.8 percent of the early vote in Franklin County. It's safe to assume that thousands more heard about Golden Week directly from our work. That's powerful. We were THE game in town.

Plus, we broke new ground. We asked ourselves a risky question -- could a hard-working and intrepid group of volunteers actually make good on an untested Golden Week voter mobilization program? Would voters respond? Could we pull it off in just three wee weeks? The answers are a resounding YES. Sure, we learned some tough lessons. But we learned them well, and by the end of the week, we had the kind of smooth, professional operation that any campaign would die for. With some strategic tweaks, our Golden Week program will now become a powerful tool in the progressive arsenal.

Now for an important announcement: Over the next few days, our core team will be processing and analyzing this amazing experiment. We're already planning our next steps. We've built something strong and effective, and are compelled to keep it moving. So please stay tuned for our next phase, and don't be surprised if we invite you back!

We should all feel immensely proud of the work we did -- from driving voters to the polls to engaging with them directly, from supporting us with donations to housing our volunteers, to a zillion other things. We've accomplished an historic feat this week. Go ahead. Pat yourself on the back. Celebrate our success. And when Obama wins in November, you'll be able to say, "That's MY victory!"

With deep, deep respect for all you've done this week,
the Vote Today Ohio team

3 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

What an amazing adventure you're having, Pam. Hope you're taking notes. The way things are looking, you will be able to tell people about your role in making history.

Now GET BACK HERE and fix OUR politics, willya?

7:13 PM  
OpenID audrawilliams said...

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

yah to the above. Sign guy

10:01 AM  

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