<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/59124558@N06/8164964317/” title=”Ohio GOTV by dengre.bj, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7115/8164964317_709a435d81.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Ohio GOTV”></a>
After spending five days doing GOTV in Ohio, I’m back in Baltimore.
I knocked on a lot of doors–and some of them almost every day I was there. The voters I talked to were mostly African-Americans. Almost everybody I talked to was engaged in the election. They were serious about supporting President Obama. They had his back, but the Teaparty Attorney General in Ohio was doing everything he could to make voting hard and confusing. Folks needed a bit of help to sort out early voting hours and rules as well as where to vote and what documentation might be required. Our GOTV effort gave them the tools to cut through the bullshit and vote. It was sweet to see the targets of voter suppression efforts fight back and vote.
The GOTV effort boiled down to breaking a voting precinct into 2-4 walk lists. These turfs came with printouts of likely Obama supporters and their addresses. The task was to talk to each of them and get them to go out and vote.
If folks weren’t home we left lit (that would change each day). If they were home, we would confirm their support of President Obama and then ask for their commitment to vote. Sometimes folks already had, sometimes they promised to Early Vote later that day (or the next) or vote on Election Day. Information would be recorded and reported to campaign after each list was walked. The lists would be updated. Then we would go back and walk the precincts again and again and again–always trying to move more voters to the polls. This was the drill from Friday though 7:30 pm on Election Day.
The face to face contact was great. The repeated visits were effective. What we did in our small turf in Columbus was repeated all over the state and the Country. The ground game of the Obama Campaign was awesome. I did GOTV in 2008 and the effort was good, but the 2012 GOTV effort was a quantum leap beyond it. I was honored to be a small part of it.
The effort worked. I know we got people out to vote. I can think of dozens of people that I talked to who wouldn’t have gone and voted without the nudge–and it was great to go back to a house and have somebody show me their “I voted” sticker. We helped folks get their absentee ballots in and gather the right documents to vote. We told them where their polling locations were and even engaged some neighbors to help other neighbors get to the polls.
The final hours were a panic as we made a fourth or fifth walk of the lists to try and get every last possible supporter to vote. As a lifelong Democrat, I was prepared for disappointment. I went to dinner with a couple of other out-of-state volunteers and as returns flashed on the teevees we began to feel better. By the time we got to the Ohio Democratic Party in downtown Columbus we were feeling good. And when MSNBC called it for President Obama we felt great. More than great–I was elated, relieved, thrilled, grateful, proud and happy.
More shit will come down the pike, but we re-elected President Obama. That is a big fucking deal.
ps: I tip my hat to all the folks who worked on his campaign. These folks are hands down amazing–and so is the man they worked for…