204. Canvassing for Obama in a battleground state
One of my objectives of being in the US in an election year was to contribute time to the campaign. Today, I finally managed to devote an entire day towards canvassing to re-elect President Obama. I was on the campaign mailing list and got notified about the need for volunteers who could devote a Saturday in October to travel from Chicago to Iowa and visit houses to help register unregistered voters and get registered voters to vote by mail (as Iowa is one of the many states that permits advance voting) and to convince people we visited about the need to utilise the opportunity to vote in advance. Besides persuading undecided voters to consider voting for Barack Obama.
The bus journey from Chicago along with 56 other volunteers began at 7 am. After a three hour drive that included an orientation we were at Davenport in neighbouring Iowa for a quick training of what needed to be accomplished. Then we were divided into smaller groups and dropped off at noon at different blocks with clear instructions and the voters list. (I had to cover about 30 houses of which 10 were either not at home or had moved).
I met 20 people and each one was an enriching experience. Many of them had never seen an Indian without an American accent knocking on the door asking them to vote for President Obama. Barring one young person in his 20s almost all others were supporting President Obama and many of them had already sent their ballots by mail and others wanted to go in-person on election day. Walking through three streets with maps, literature and a chart to enter data was an unusual and unforgettable experience. In less than a couple of hours 56 of us from the group had reached out to around 1500 households and made contact with the potential voter who was more than welcoming. (Several such groups are canvassing and the opponent doesn’t seem to have this field canvassing as part of the plan).
The local campaign office and the war room in it was very impressive and managed by youngsters with superb elegance. The data that we field volunteers collected was immediately entered by local volunteers in votebuilder.com This battleground state seems to be in favour of the President and November 6th will give us the answer.