Mefite Election Volunteering October 19, 2016 5:18 AM   Subscribe

With so many Mefites volunteering for the coming US elections (some in a coordinated fashion), I think a MeTa is in order. Come on in to share tips, stories, encouragement, and more!

A big thank you to kristi for creating a Hillary Clinton call team- Mefites United! Join here. Right now, we have 53 members, and are the #3 team for the week and of all time (all time = the past 2 weeks, heh), behind the teams of the famous texting Jess from JFA and FLOTUS.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to MetaFilter-Related at 5:18 AM (138 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

They unveiled this "team" thing at the exact right time, because I was starting to feel a little complacent about calling and now I'm like IN YOUR FACE, MICHELLE OBAMA, OUR TEAM IS GOING TO CRUSH YOUR TEAM WITH CRAZY HILLARY SUPPORT
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:20 AM on October 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


I helped the Democratic Party HQ here in Blacksburg register voters this year. They were almost entirely Virginia Tech university students and many of them had never voted before. :) There were a lot of questions like "am I going to be at the polling place for like half a day?" and "what other issues are on the ballot?" -- mercifully, our ballot this cycle is just presidential ticket and a couple proposed amendments. Whew.

I talked to a lot of really enthusiastic potential voters and a lot of really enthusiastic already-mailed-in-my-ballot-ers. Let me say: the kids are alright. I had really few grumblegrumps ("I haven't voted since 1980 and I don't see a reason to start again now" did make me chuckle) and one conspiracy-theory doctor (literal M.D.) who wouldn't stop talking to me about MKUltra and Sandy Hook FEMA false flags. :[

Anyway, as someone who is really not cool with talking to strangers, the people at the DNCC (DNC?) office here made it really easy. I got sent out on my first time with two other volunteers; they split up, I hung with one of them for a while, and then I was subtly but lovingly encouraged to Do All the Good I Can by moving a couple blocks over to intercept a different stream of students. I did a bunch of solo registration runs at local university hot spots after that and it was lovely. The registration deadline here in VA passed on the 17th and now I'm trying to figure out if I should muster up the strength to work in some GOTV help in between all my work travel.
posted by introp at 8:34 AM on October 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am working the polls at my local election as an elected Justice of the Peace, so I supervise poll workers. Which is funny because, as I mentioned on Twitter, I am also running for re-election, and I am going to win. This normal for small towns but is also amusing. My town has one place for voting, so everyone in town who votes comes through at some point or another. We've also got a lot of political diversity so people are going to be voting for a lot of different folks (including possibly Bill "Spaceman" Lee for governor and Boots Wardinski for Lt Governor). There's a shortage of poll workers so I've been bugging people in town to come work with me. Afterwards when we count the votes there is pizza.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:39 AM on October 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


I have three days (starting tomorrow!) and a shift on Election Day where I will be handing out "blue ballots" as a reference for any voters wishing to know who is who in the downticket races. My first three shifts will be at an early voting location, and on Election Day I will be at a neighborhood voting location in a heavily Dem area. I am also planning on voting tomorrow. I had been doing the data captain work for my "community" and did a few voter registration shifts, but got sidetracked after my leader left the campaign and work ramped back up and there was a hurricane and life, etc. I am still nervous regarding the election. After the 2005 tape came out, most of my offensive coworkers dialed back some of the rhetoric if only because they know I'm a rather open and almost-pushy feminist (who has had her own issues with workplace harassment and assault). SENC is very, um, provincial might be the most diplomatic word, and there are Trump signs and stickers everywhere - I even saw one on a Prius. No one in my super diverse neighborhood has any yard signs out; I have one affixed to my refrigerator, buuuuut that's about as far as I was willing to go. I have no interest in slashed tires or defaced property. In 2004, my car was keyed and my Kerry sticker stolen while I was at work, so I've never put another political sticker where other people could see it.
Anyway, I'll be the short lady in a hat and Stronger Together shirt outside of the NE Library for the next two weeks.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 8:51 AM on October 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am canvassing for the first time. I have been taking my three-year old with me in a stroller, so that makes it easier in some respects (I'm not alone, he's a built-in conversation starter) but harder in others (maneuvering a stroller is not awesome). I am happy to be doing something constructive instead of just spiraling into despair, but I REALLY hate when people come to my door unsolicited and now here I am doing the same thing. I try to spin it as, I'm just here to make sure you know where and when to vote, and oh by the way can we count on you to vote Dem all the way down the ticket? It makes me feel more helpful than intrusive.

I still have two more short blocks to go and I should be able to finish those up on Sunday. Any words of encouragement or advice from experienced canvassers?
posted by slmorri at 9:03 AM on October 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I love the calling, because as an elected Republican low-level party person, I have been SUPER NERVOUS about volunteering for Clinton - like, I'm not even sure if I'm allowed to or if I signed something at the time I took on the responsibilities that would prevent me? Also because I'm technically supposed to be doing GOTV for the GOP right now. #sorrynotsorry

But the call thing lets me call, say, New Jersey! Or Kentucky! Or lots of places where I am statistically unlikely to call anyone who might even know anyone who knows me!

Basically, it is the best.
posted by corb at 9:36 AM on October 19, 2016 [18 favorites]


I'm planning to help out at the Westside Democratic HQ in Santa Monica at least a couple nights a week once they start their 9 AM to 9 PM hours next week; I'll be there tomorrow too. Any other West LA Mefites should let me know if they're also gonna be there!
posted by yasaman at 10:14 AM on October 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm going to Ohio (Cleveland, to be exact) to work for the Ohio Secretary of State. Most of the time, out-of-state lawyers are assigned to stand outside polling places to assist voters seeking help. However, for reasons unclear to me, the Ohio Secretary of State hires out-of-state lawyers to become actual employees of the various Boards of Election (Cleveland is in Cuyahoga County), so we're able to work inside polling places, at the Boards of Election themselves, and as credentialed troubleshooters.

I'll be working the poll workers hotline, which means that I'll help direct people to their correct polling places so that they can actually cast their votes after they've been turned away from the wrong polling place. I did this work in the 2012, and while it was highly stressful, I found it really worthwhile.
posted by holborne at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I will once again be doing a terrible impression of an organized person and running a canvass location for GOTV. We had our first dry run last weekend, and we're doing another one this weekend. I have no idea why anyone thinks it's a good idea to delegate this task to me. Anyway, I miss actually canvassing, but dealing with canvassers is a ton of fun.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:22 AM on October 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Then living in LA, I knocked on doors for Obama in Vegas in '08 and it was one of the hardest things I ever did. Especially as a person who used to hang up on telemarketers after their cheery "Hello!". But it ended up being a great time, I met some incredible people, some miserable people, lots of people who worked at night and were sleeping in the day (there was a category on the form for that. Daysleeper.). And best of all, the civic-mindedness endeared me to my then-new girlfriend, who still today tells the story about how I uncharacteristically drove out to the desert and talked to strangers for a good cause.
posted by hwyengr at 11:03 AM on October 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I signed up to volunteer as an election judge (poll worker in MN) for the first time this year. My brother has been doing it for every election since he turned 18, and this year when I heard that my county was looking for volunteers it just felt like the right thing to do. I'm questioning my sanity a little bit, though - the shift goes from 6 AM to 8:30 PM, training was fairly minimal, and dealing with the public is not my favorite thing under the best of circumstances.

So I guess this is my PSA to be nice to your poll workers, everybody!
posted by beandip at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm planning to help out at the Westside Democratic HQ in Santa Monica at least a couple nights a week

I'm unable to do any kind of volunteering right now (I take care of my mom from 6am-9pm every day) but sending you happy vibes from down the road on Main St!

Re the call team, I signed up to follow along, but if I'm bringing down the average let me know and I'll un-join.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:36 AM on October 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have done polling place voter protection as an attorney for the last two presidential elections and I checked the "I'm available again this year" box with the American Constitution Society, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and Hills' Victory Counsel. I had hoped--like holborne above--to be assigned to a hotline, but because I've done in-person for two elections already, they're sending me to Wisconsin to be on-site voter protection again.

I am having second thoughts because I am, honestly, a little scared. I've witnessed angry people; I've had folks be belligerent at me, but it's been basically calm. This year it just seems so very very likely that angry or belligerent people will be the best of it. I'll be alone, far from home, faced with a long drive home in the dark and I'm trying very hard not to back out now.

It's the least I can do, though.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:48 AM on October 19, 2016 [18 favorites]


the shift goes from 6 AM to 8:30 PM, training was fairly minimal, and dealing with the public is not my favorite thing under the best of circumstances.

Having been an introvert poll worker myself I'd say don't sweat it. Almost every interaction with the public is a very regimented one and you'll just develop a snappy patter you'll reuse over and over all day. The only time I found it wearying was low turnout elections where I had lots of time I had to stand around and make nice with the other workers.

As far as training, the scheme here in VA is there's a very well experienced precinct captain who gives the marching orders. So as long as you remember the vague structure of what's going on they're going to tell you anything you need to know. I'm sure MN's structure is similar.
posted by phearlez at 12:14 PM on October 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I canvassed for the first time in my life yesterday! I was surprised that no one wanted to actually engage me in a political discussion, but I was pleased that nearly all the people I talked to were voting for Dems and were enthusiastic about it. My only wish is that there was some way to direct more people to pay attention to the super-important congressional race and ballot measures happening in our city and state, but I can only hope that getting out the vote in general will help with those issues.
posted by zeusianfog at 1:02 PM on October 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


First, thanks to everyone who is canvassing and calling. It's not something I can bring myself to do for dumb personal reasons (2004 still looms heavy in my brain and heart.)

But I am working as an election judge in Chicago, which I've always meant to do but finally signed up for this year because of a fellow local MeFite doing it previously (thanks, garlic); I'm super excited about it and I was selected to be the judge who picks up the key, so I definitely have to be there by 5 AM to get everything set up by 6. (This part terrifies me.)

I was also selected as the Cell Phone Judge, which means my phone is the "official" one we use if we have to call in any problems to Election Central.

This means I'll be super busy all day November 8 and not able to check my phone continuously for results, breaking news, or any other things that might happen. Originally, I said I signed up to be a judge 90% out of civic responsibility, 10% to give me something else to focus on that day. It's feels about 50%/50% now and I fully expected it to continue to trend in that direction over the next 3 weeks.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:32 PM on October 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


I have done polling place voter protection as an attorney for the last two presidential elections and I checked the "I'm available again this year" box with the American Constitution Society, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and Hills' Victory Counsel. I had hoped--like holborne above--to be assigned to a hotline, but because I've done in-person for two elections already, they're sending me to Wisconsin to be on-site voter protection again.

I signed up this year for the same - I'll be a legal field observer at different polls around the Northern California area, coordinated by Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Asian Law Caucus. I think it's an offshoot of the same effort. I am very concerned about voter suppression and disenfranchisement efforts this election. If anything stands a chance of upsetting the conventional wisdom of poll results, it may well be conservatives and racists ramping up countrywide efforts to disenfranchise minorities, confuse them, intimidate them, and turn them away from the polls.

There may still be opportunities for both lawyers and non-lawyers, if anyone's interested. I think just the training alone will prove very informative and worthwhile - I'm eager to hear about what to expect and how to counteract it. See some links here and here.

I am having second thoughts because I am, honestly, a little scared. I've witnessed angry people; I've had folks be belligerent at me, but it's been basically calm. This year it just seems so very very likely that angry or belligerent people will be the best of it. I'll be alone, far from home, faced with a long drive home in the dark and I'm trying very hard not to back out now.

I'm a bit scared too. We'll be partnered up in my case, at least. But it's looking like I will end up at one or more polling places in Sacramento, which made headlines recently for confrontations and stabbings at a neo-Nazi rally. I hope to avoid madness but you have to be prepared for anything at this point.
posted by naju at 2:56 PM on October 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm phone banking a little for my county's local affordable housing bond measure, A1 for Affordable Housing.

My observations are it's mostly nice - people are mostly polite on the phone when they answer. When you call with the computer thingy, you can see people's party affiliations, and it's interesting how many couples are split Dem/Repub (usually man R, woman D I think?)

I have had a couple disheartening conversations: one woman started ranting that she doesn't want any affordable housing built in her neighborhood because poor people are drinking booze out of paper bags and are "messing up" her neighborhood, another guy who yelled, "I'm not paying for that!". I just felt like, shit, I know people feel this way, but how are we supposed to have a functional society if no one is willing to help anyone else? ):
posted by latkes at 3:16 PM on October 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


naju thanks for those links! this is the second election since 2004 i'm not working and it really hurts my soul. i've been a precinct coordinator for the last 6 years (i've made it to middle management!) but i've been feeling like maybe i might want to volunteer in future elections against voter suppression but didn't think there was much i could do since i'm not a lawyer - just somebody very familiar with california election laws and procedures.
posted by kendrak at 4:03 PM on October 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would like to remind everyone about timezones. I am in EST but remembered last night I could call CO, OR, and Alaska after it's 9:00pm here. Hopefully, other people realized this more quickly than I did.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:34 PM on October 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, I have decided to play a game. Everytime I see a Trump post on my fb feed I am adding an extra call to my goal.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:36 PM on October 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm doing a modified half-shift at my own pct from 5am-10am because I couldn't stand not being in a pct for Prez. I'll probably do a few runs through the lines (In 2012 we had 300+ people waiting in line when the polls opened at 6) to get them to really look at the sample ballot, dig out their ID, fill out assistance forms if needed, answer questions etc. I hope to keep our morning student page with me so they can learn the ropes for the rest of the day.

I've got to get into the office then to answer calls from precincts, press and voters and monitor the inbox. It's nonstop putting out fires and I love election day more than Christmas.

At about 8pm I switch gears again and head to the loading dock to work with teams of staff and Boy Scouts receiving and logging returned materials and ballots.

Last Prez I finished up at 3am. I expect nothing to change there.

Then it's back in at 8 am to get set up for the canvas. I'll be doing a bunch of different things throughout the next days, some with my own team and some with the canvas team.

Once results have been certified we still have weeks worth of work to go documenting and archiving everything.

If I can break with the format for a second and make one suggestion, if anyone is still looking at positive things to do on Election Day. Most jurisdictions have closed their books now, and voter registration deadlines are coming up daily. From now on it's about getting the vote out. Think about it. What are some of the reasons people don't go to the polls besides being inconvenienced or having no political interest?

Depression. Anxiety. The fear of not knowing what everyone else seems to instinctively know. Feeling ignorant and unprepared. Not having a firm grasp of English. Please, please, if you know somebody who is not able to legally vote absentee or early, as could be the case in many places, consider being their voting buddy. You are allowed to accompany voters to the polls to offer assistance, and that assistance can be emotional. Help people vote! People are afraid of going to the polls. People are afraid of looking ignorant. Large polling places can be ridiculously overwhelming. Small polling places can be ridiculously overwhelming when you feel like the spotlight's on you soon as you walk in, and you need to state your name and address out loud.

Just... I don't know. Everyday I hear a lot of different reasons for people not wanting to go to the polls and vote and no electoral board is set up to encourage or assist them before they vote.
posted by ezust at 5:59 PM on October 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Have signed up to do GOTV canvassing in Northern Virginia on election day, and a couple of weekend shifts before that. The area's looking increasingly safe for HRC, and there's no Senate race, but hopefully I can make my marginal contribution to the House if they send me to VA-10.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 10:13 PM on October 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm doing my first-ever volunteering as a poll worker here in Montgomery County, MD. I've signed up as a closer, which means--among other things--I'll be responsible for delivering the final results to the Board of Elections. I'll be driving the results over with one of the Republican poll workers in my passenger seat and we'll make the final handoff together. It's been really interesting to learn about all of the standard procedures that protect against fraud (the bipartisan chain of custody being one of them).
posted by duffell at 3:14 AM on October 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


A simple way to help ensure that people you talk to will actually vote - research shows it increased voter turnout significantly:

Just ask people you know or meet what time of day they plan to vote, and what they'll be doing just before.

[example questions from the research] "Around what time do you expect you will head to the polls on Tuesday? Where do you expect you will be coming from when you head to the polls on Tuesday? What do you think you will be doing before you head out to the polls?"

"asking people about their voting plans increased turnout by 4 percentage points...for those living alone, the effect was tremendous: turnout jumped by nearly 10 percentage points."

This is from a 2008 presidential primary study involving scripted phone calls to Democratic households, but it's based on a general concept called "implementation intentions" -- when people put into words _how_ they are going to do a thing, they are much more likely to actually follow through.

One source is this (long) article:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/magazine/31politics-t.html?_r=0
posted by amtho at 6:31 AM on October 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


ugh, I just hate how Trump poisons everything, as in I can't read "...for those living alone, the effect was tremendous" without hearing his awful voice.
posted by moody cow at 6:37 AM on October 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Try imagining Tina Fey saying it.
posted by amtho at 6:44 AM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I signed up to be a poll clerk on election day but was told it was unlikely my service would be required, the wait list for positions was already hundreds of names long!
posted by books for weapons at 8:11 AM on October 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I read an article about how some poll workers are receiving active shooter training this year. Which makes a lot of sense, but fuck. This is what it's come to.
posted by naju at 11:41 AM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


A friend on Facebook shared this today, and I will leave it here for voters and election volunteers alike: voting rights resources from the National Center for Transgender Equality.
posted by duffell at 4:16 PM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


FWIW, books for weapons is in Berkeley. Other areas of the country might not be so volunteer-rich.
posted by amtho at 4:52 PM on October 20, 2016


I've been phonebanking at the neighboring county (they do daytime calling.) My tips:
  • Charge your phone / bring a charger. (I put this first because I always forget)
  • Headphones are a help, it can be a bit noisy if everyone else is talking.
  • Fuck the script! It's usually terrible copy. Find the questions they're asking and just bring them up naturally. The answers are the important thing.
  • When working from a paper list, use your script to keep your place and uncover names as you go. It's easier to spot duplicate entries that way.
  • If you can, bring snacks. Especially beverages. I brought a twelve-pack of Orange Crush today and was a godsdamn hero. (You don't even have to volunteer!)
  • Most people want to help! They can't come in? Tell them to check the website or at least to work on friends and family.
  • Be prepared for callbacks! Sometimes you'll get a callback after you've left. I keep the office number handy so I can redirect them after I've left.
  • Sometimes you'll get a callback when you're still there! Keep your completed lists handy for reference (unless they really are desperate for data entry, in which case see above.)
  • A new-to-me as of today development: some people have a setup that texts you to text them after you call. I now have a short pitch to copy and paste them.
But MOST importantly, make a few calls--you're multiplying your force.

I know, I know. I had fallen out of the habit of calling people and it took me fifteen minutes to make my first call. But it's something people used to do all the freaking time! It's an easy habit to fall into. By call six I was annoyed how few people answered. By call twenty I was catching up on election threads while the phone rang. Very few people are assholes. Worst I've gotten are hang ups (code: refused) and people in a meeting/have to do something immediately (code: not home, so someone tries them later)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:53 PM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


FWIW, books for weapons is in Berkeley. Other areas of the country might not be so volunteer-rich.

According the the Alameda County Registrar of Voters person I talked to when signing up last Friday, they actually needed more workers in Berkeley.
posted by clorox at 5:25 PM on October 20, 2016


Also, if you GET canvased/phoned/whatever, thank them. It goes a long way.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:32 PM on October 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


i am so proud of everyone in this thread, I really am.

Another tip: If you go to a campaign office to phonebank, instead of just doing it in your pjs at home, there will be super nice and supportive people there! One guy in my office literally applauds people for their first few calls. It is definitely possible you'll get a mean person on the phone, and having nice people around makes it easier, and it will/might help you feel less alone in this political nightmare. Kind of like this thread is doing right now.

I've been doing data entry for my local congressional race, because I have negative-integer social skills and they are in pretty dire need. And I think in future years I will sign up to work the polls.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 7:19 PM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


By the way, "be nice to phonebankers" applies to canvassers on the street too. Everyone I know will rag on e.g the Greenpeace people standing on the corner, and it sucks balls. Saying something like "That's awesome and I'm glad you're out here, I have to get to class now, good luck" really makes a difference to them.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 7:28 PM on October 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


My schedule is kind of insane right now (5 classes plus a 15 hour/week internship), but I'm managing to fit in one shift / week on doors. So far we've just been ID'ing, but ballots dropped in Oregon this week, so it's all GOTV from here to election day. It's a little weird "just" volunteering after being on staff for the last presidential cycle, but I've been doing my canvassing with a couple of my favorite vols from 2012, so it's also kind of awesome.
posted by dersins at 9:05 PM on October 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm doing a bunch of work on local /state elections in San Francisco. Tomorrow morning I'll be standing on a corner in the Castro handing out voter guides to people -- come through and say hi. Monday morning I'm helping a friend do morning commute visibility, standing on a corner with a sign as he talks to voters. I'm probably doing morning visibility for another candidate later in the week. If you're in SF and want to help out with any of the local progressive candidates, hit me up! There are lots of phone bank, canvassing, and visibility options.

In particular, I recommend the League of Pissed-Off Voter pub crawl/voter guide distribution events. They are a lot of fun, very easy, and people like getting the voter guides.

I also seem to be spending a lot of time on social media correcting bizarre misinformation about Prop 64, to legalize marijuana in CA.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:42 AM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, my city is looking for election judges. Can someone break down what that entails? How do you manage lunch, bathroom breaks, etc.?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:59 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting, all. I'm not allowed to do anything political for ethical work reasons and it warms the cockles of my heart to read all you are doing. I really, really wish I could join you this year. No margin of victory is big enough.
posted by bearwife at 2:12 PM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm door knocking here in Pittsburgh, mostly in my own neighborhood, which is nice. It's a racially integrated neighborhood in a very blue city so it's not exactly challenging, but I really want to ensure we GOTV and have a landslide. I'm signed up for a shift once a weekend and then I'm taking the day off the 7th and have three shifts.

I've also been taking my son in a stroller (it's the only way I can justify spending so much time on this--at least I'm not sticking my husband with child minding while I just peace out for hours). The best was when a mom and her two similar aged sons answered the door and they asked if he could come in and play :)
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:55 PM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Really quick note: speaking as someone who has canvassed for Hillary and as someone who knows a bit about chuggers, please do not conflate the two. Chuggers don't choose the charities they represent, and they frequently ignore interpersonal boundaries to make their quota. Hillary canvassers are invested in the campaign and are taught to end conversations if someone is not interested. There are some pretty big differences there.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:10 PM on October 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Now, onto my experiences as an HFA volunteer. I started out with data entry at the Boston office, out of unemployment, fear of a Cheeto planet, and not looking like a hypocrite for wanting to busk with Tim Kaine. I got a job within a few weeks of starting my volunteer work, and I switched to canvassing because it worked better with my schedule. I also figured that people would be more polite IRL than they would on the phone.

Canvassing is a crapshoot, not unlike phone banking--for every one person you get, you'll have ten houses where no one answers the door. Working with a canvassing partner has been beneficial (training and having someone to bounce ideas off of) and frustrating (my most recent partner was an apple-cheeked, outdoorsy type who mocked my fancy-ish dress and Fluevogs). My belief that people are polite in person has borne out in interesting ways...the Trump supporters have stopped us before we went into our speech and wished us well, which--based on his constituents' behavior at rallies--I wasn't expecting. The Clinton supporters have had great stories, like the retired union machinist I met who talked to us about her experiences on the job before telling us she wanted to volunteer.

I'm proud of my work on the campaign. If you're thinking about volunteering, do it.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:28 PM on October 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


You guys are the best. I am a professional political person who has spent the past 16 months having my soul deadened by doing opposition research on Donald Trump. It makes me so happy to see everyone getting hype for GOTV. As it happens, I am actually waiting on a flight from DC to New Hampshire right now so I can pick up a few shifts for Hillary and Maggie Hassan (and Colin Van Ostern)

Keep it up! We've got this thing on the hook, but we need to make sure we reel it in and get it on the boat. And for folks who are on the fence -- I am not generally a people person, that's why I got into opposition research, but for a few days a year I suck it up and knock on some doors and some organizing because it's the most effective thing you can do to make an impact on the outcome of an election. Also, it's fun! Really!
posted by fancypants at 3:57 AM on October 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I brought my eight year old canvassing last weekend. Highly recommended for anyone who has an eight year old available.
posted by gerstle at 4:58 AM on October 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm curious - is there any talk at the campaign offices of doing stuff to prepare in the event there's an internet outage on election day? Like having extra print copies of maps or being sure to download a local copy of mission-critical stuff like the phone number database or whatever?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:50 AM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Our office runs on printouts, so we wouldn't even notice if the internet was down for 2-3 days. Where it might be disruptive is when we're changing focus, like pivoting to more GOTV emphasis, but we've already done that. I don't know if we have things like a list of people who need rides printed up yet. I'll have to check on that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:23 AM on October 22, 2016


I'm part of the team running the canvass location for my precinct. We're not printing anything new on election day. We've got one set of walk packets for the four days leading up to and including the election, which we'll be reusing. We use an app to report back to headquarters, but we can function by phone if it's down. (I know this because the app went down at one point.) It may be that there would be issues at a higher level than the precinct, and there could be an issue with phone banking, but my precinct's canvass operation could function fine without the internet.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:57 AM on October 22, 2016


is there any talk at the campaign offices of doing stuff to prepare in the event there's an internet outage on election day?

Dunno about this year, but in 2012 part of our prep was making sure we had paper and (offline) digital backups of our entire GOTV universe. Of course, this was in Oregon, which is entirely vote-by-mail, so dynamics in other states are probably different.
posted by dersins at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2016


Our office runs on printouts

This is how the polls work near me. We have some internet-enabled computers to look things up if there are challenges/issues but voting takes place in the Town Hall which means we can head upstairs and look at forms if there are concerns and no ready internet access.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:03 PM on October 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Canvassing report: I headed to Londonderry NH with three other volunteers. We split up when we got to the office, and my partner and I ended up on one semi rural stretch of road. About half the people we canvassed were home, and we started out strong with one unabashed Hillary supporter. Since my partner hadn't canvassed before, this was an encouraging start to the day. We got two polite refusals and two voters who very archly told us they never told anyone who got their vote. 🙄

I also got a woman who was undecided because "this campaign has been so ugly" (fair enough) and that she would vote for whoever would kick "welfare cheaters" off the rolls. At the next house, we were embroiled in a conversation with an ill-informed voter who was undecided because of Wikileaks and Vince Foster. I kept trying to end the conversation, but my very sweet, very earnest partner tried to correct this guy's beliefs. I had to all but bodily drag her away.

On the bright side, we ended up at a house with two large Shibe running around in the yard. The dogs' high energy made me nervous, but once we met their people--a pair of married men--we felt at ease with their rambunctiousness. (I thought they were saying SO PRESIDENT VERY HILLARY WOW.)

I'm holding off on canvassing next week until I see if/when Tim Kaine will be speaking in the Granite State. (There are rumors.) I'll see you on the trails!
posted by pxe2000 at 1:37 PM on October 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


Mefi call team report: Currently #5 this week (832 calls, 37 behind #4) and #4 all-time (1023 calls). I don't know who or what team "H" is that zoomed up the charts over the past few days, but I like to imagine it's Hillary herself, because surely there is nothing she cannot do!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


37 behind #4)

One person could close that gap in about 40 minutes.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:52 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


With 60 members, I have faith in us. GO TEAM GO
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:40 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]



I'm curious - is there any talk at the campaign offices of doing stuff to prepare in the event there's an internet outage on election day? Like having extra print copies of maps or being sure to download a local copy of mission-critical stuff like the phone number database or whatever?


I'm just the voter assistance hotline equivalent of front-line tech support, but I know that many operations will be decentralized and people "deployed" to state boiler rooms over the next week. We were affected by the internet outage, and I know that someone is developing a response plan, but i'm not sure what the plan is. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

I signed an NDA for the hotline stuff, so I held off on an update until I could make some sweeping generalizations that won't disclose personal data. It's exciting--you'll never know what situation you'll get on the other end of the line--and there's lots of support for more complex issues and things that should be flagged for further investigation.

Because we're the overflow room for all 50 states, there's a lot of quick research and learning on the job. We have some helpful manuals that cover the basics, and there's some downtime between calls to read materials and catch up.

Questions range from "where do I vote?" to "I moved recently and changed my registration but it's not showing up with the new address and my name has a typo. Help?" Because people are often directed to call us when the local office can't help and they're stressed or concerned about possible disenfranchisement, some callers can be less friendly than people you get when phonebanking. (Two have been actively hostile, but the ratio is low enough that I know it's not a "me" problem.) I've also learned that people tend to call with one question, then ask their real question at the end when I prompt with "is there anything else I can help you with?".

I haven't done call center work before, so this may be old hat to many MeFites, but I figured I would share my experience and encourage lawyers/law students to sign up if this seems like fun.
posted by Leslie Knope at 9:04 AM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've been phonebanking at our Somerville HQ since right after the first debate. At first they had us calling Somerville residents to get them to come volunteer (two of my personal friends showed up in my call queue! That's always fun.) but now they've transitioned me and a couple of the other volunteers to calling NH residents to check their voting plans and see if they're voting absentee. The predictive dialer keeps you on the line until someone picks up, so last Thursday I was able to talk to 75 people in 2 hours. Granted a lot were "she's not home" but I had a long chat with a guy who was voting for Hillary but had major issues with her vote for Iraq, and another few with people who were just SO EXCITED about her. Those calls really are the most fun.

Some of the fun calls:
  • A girl who just moved and needed to update her voter registration.
  • A very chatty British gentleman who referred to Trump as a "four-year-old crossed with an angry gorilla."
  • A call to a person who was actually phonebanking with me at that very moment.
  • The guy whose yard is just outside the no-canvassing perimeter and who REALLY WANTED yard signs.
  • The woman dealing with a chronic condition that prevents her from volunteering who kept thanking me for my work and who was DELIGHTED to find out that field offices take snacks, because that's something she can do!
Some of the slightly less fun calls:
  • A 70 y.o. man who griped about getting a weird email from the campaign asking him to verify his citizenship (he'd donated while he was in Haiti) and seemed super puzzled about how she could figure that out. He also let me know that "part of her problem is that she's too organized." But hey, voting for her.
  • Another 62 y.o. man (theme??) who said "I'm severely disappointed in the choices I have this year and I'm going to write in for Kiefer Sutherland." Well ok dude.
I have been really surprised at how much I am enjoying myself. Normally I despise phone calls but I realized how excited and energized I was getting on my walk over on Thursday. This is what it's like doing something you believe in!

P.S. Is there a way to record these calls for the Metafilter team? I like the experience of phonebanking with a group much more.
posted by athenasbanquet at 10:37 AM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Quick field update:

When I went into the campaign office yesterday to pick up my canvassing packet, the volunteer at the front/reception desk was one of my 10th grade students.

I think it's pretty goddam awesome that she's doing campaign work when she's at least two years away from being old enough to vote, but I tried to play it cool; nobody wants to see their teacher getting all choked-up and sentimental and shit.
posted by dersins at 11:16 AM on October 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


We just had a couple of 13-year-olds walk into our canvass location and ask if they could volunteer next week. They're going to bring a bunch of their friends and knock doors for GOTV. The kids are seriously alright, you guys.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:04 PM on October 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kiefer Sutherland???
posted by holborne at 7:57 PM on October 23, 2016


P.S. Is there a way to record these calls for the Metafilter team? I like the experience of phonebanking with a group much more.

Nope. Only the calls you make on the website after you join the team count. At least for this year.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:49 PM on October 23, 2016


This might be new, or maybe I didn't notice it when I used the website call tool before: the phone banks list has two different filters in the upper right. The default is "Hillary for America" and there's now also a "State Races" link. When I selected "State Races" earlier, there was one phone bank available: to call Arizona and help elect Ann Kirkpatrick to the Senate (as well as Hillary for President). So if you're like me and haven't noticed it before, be sure to check it out.

Anyway, after dealing with a cold/cough for a couple of weeks, I was glad to feel well enough this weekend to make some more calls (got all answering machines or voicemail though).

(If there's anyone here who's considering making calls but is still unsure about it, here's my previous comment from a prior election thread, where I made some observations about phone banking from home for the first time: how the call tool works, what's involved, if you need to commit to a certain time (no), if you have to go through a training session (no), etc.)

Kudos to kristi for creating the MeFites United phone banking team (I love that you picked the cat icon), and for everyone calling and volunteering in so many other ways. Hearing stories from you all really helped convince me to join the effort. So, helping the team on the leaderboard is a neat extra incentive and I'm happy to be able to credit my calls to Team MetaFilter.

Also, it's super cool and kind of surreal to see the words "MeFites" and "MetaFilter" on hillaryclinton.com!
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 3:27 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


The woman dealing with a chronic condition that prevents her from volunteering who kept thanking me for my work and who was DELIGHTED to find out that field offices take snacks, because that's something she can do!

is this really a thing? I'm terribad at phones (all the wrong order words come out) but I'm good at baking and cooking. But maybe it's better to just donate? But also I'm good at and enjoy baking/cooking.
posted by you could feel the sky at 10:53 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes! We like snacks! We tend to get a lot of sweet stuff, so anything that was more like real food would be particularly appreciated.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:56 AM on October 24, 2016


I baked cookies this weekend and I'm taking a batch to the campaign office with me when I go volunteer tomorrow! And my mom and aunt aren't comfortable on the phone either, but I told them they could still help out with food, so now they're planning to swing by their local campaign office with sandwiches.
posted by yasaman at 11:29 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kiefer Sutherland???

I had nothing at that moment and I still don't.

is this really a thing?

YES DEFINITELY! Last week we had a cake with the Hillary logo on it! Seconding that there is usually a lot of sweet stuff so something like real food is very appreciated. I would love it if someone dropped by with some chopped up veggies or a sandwich tray (I'm usually phonebanking before I eat dinner so trying not to eat dessert first.)
posted by athenasbanquet at 12:00 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


It sounds like I'm making hummus today!

I have a bunch more questions, but I think I'll make an ask instead.
posted by you could feel the sky at 12:04 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kiefer Sutherland???

At the risk of demystifying some high weirdness, that's probably a reference to Kiefer's brand new show, Designated Survivor, where he ends up being President because the rest of the adminstration gets blown up during the SOTU. Though maybe that fella just really liked the cut of his jib in Lost Boys.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:30 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Beverages are also appreciated. (I recommend not getting large bottles of soda, which tend to go flat.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2016


I'm going to phone bank tonight and bringing a huge baked ziti with me. Hope the office is hungry.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:35 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


that's probably a reference to Kiefer's brand new show, Designated Survivor, where he ends up being President because the rest of the adminstration gets blown up during the SOTU.

Ah, of course. Frankly, I still think of Kiefer in "Stand By Me" when I think of him at all, so.
posted by holborne at 3:00 PM on October 24, 2016


I'm going to phone bank tonight and bringing a huge baked ziti with me. Hope the office is hungry.

I seriously recommend visiting/volunteering before bringing food so you can gauge the number of people, hours populated, availability of refrigeration, etc. (Evergreen things like bottled water are a no-brainer, of course)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:16 PM on October 24, 2016


I've been volunteering there for months and know most of the staffers by name, thanks. They loved the ziti.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:40 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Update from the fight for the House: My dude Peter Jacob is neck and neck with the Republican incumbent. And it's pure volunteer power - there's no money in the campaign for ads. I can't believe it.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 5:47 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


These offices really should be planning for a blackout on Election Day. Last Wednesday we lost VAN for no reason, and it very nearly tanked the night's phonebank event. Our data guy was nearly crying. I'm going to suggest that they have paper backups set up for Nov 4-8.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 5:51 PM on October 24, 2016


These offices really should be planning for a blackout on Election Day.

Most will.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:53 PM on October 24, 2016


I'm going to suggest that they have paper backups set up for Nov 4-8.

If that's not already written into the GOTV plan, they need to find some new staff to write the GOTV plan.
posted by dersins at 8:48 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mefi call team report: Currently #6 this week (641 calls, 55 behind #5) and #5 all-time (1674 calls, 35 behind #4). Go team go!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:55 AM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't know if this counts, but I signed up to work as a (non-partisan) poll worker this year. I finally got my assignment last week (elementary school 10 minutes from my house, yay!), and on Monday I went to my training.

It was a solid 3.5 hours of training, in a large room with a lot of clearly experienced staff of the county Registrar of Voters. We were trained in a hands-on fashion in how to set up the scanner that will scan the completed ballots, and the touch-screen machine with audio function for people with vision problems. We were also trained in how to take them down.

We got fat books with specific job guidance on how to do each of our various tasks (Setting up the polls, opening the polls, checking voters against the various indexes, handing out ballots, helping voters with the scanner, closing the polls, taking down the equipment, delivering the finished ballots and equipment back to the warehouse), and were also given scripts for interacting with voters in various situations (not on the index, when an ID is required, spoiled ballot, etc).

It was very dense training and I'm grateful that there are many job guides that will be provided.

My take-aways?

1. We need more poll workers. The current shift is 6AM - 9PM, with two one-hour breaks, and that's a hella long day for someone not getting paid. If you feel inspired, volunteer and give your fellow citizens a break!

2. Lots of retirees volunteer, which is great but also disheartening. I took a vacation day to do this, because I can. I wish more young(er) people would.

3. Nice mix of races/ethnicities. Not everyone was a native English speaker, but everyone seemed enthusiastic.

4. There was no political commentary, although the community where I live is definitely going to be voting for Clinton, since it has a lot of immigrants and a significant African-American population.

5. The key point I got is that this is a complicated system. There are checks at every step to make sure that no significant fraud can be perpetrated. There are seals on every piece of voting equipment, that must be logged and kept track of and replaced at various times. Before the first voter of the day can vote, she must confirm that all the bins are empty and watch them locked inside the equipment and sealed by the precinct boss. All handling of the voting equipment is done by two-person teams. All spare ballots (spoiled, discarded, etc) are accounted for. None of the electronic equipment is on the internet, and the hard drives are removed and submitted to the warehouse with the scanned hard copies of the ballots.

I don't see how anyone thinks in-person election fraud is a thing. Not unless you have a ton of people register in advance with fake names, and even then you can't make it work. In California, the first time someone votes in a federal election they have to show an ID, so fake registrations won't get you far unless you also have a fake ID for that identity.

If you vote, they strike your name off two indexes which are cross-checked and updated all day long, and submitted with the ballots at the end of the day. If you use someone else's name and vote, and then they come in, or vice versa, the second ballot will be a provisional ballot and so one of those two votes won't count. And how could a fraudster know someone wasn't going to vote? Sure, you could try to use the names of the dead, but how many are there of those in any given precinct? How could you even begin to hope to influence the outcome?

Busing people in? How does that work? They have to be on the rolls, and if they're not, those are provisional ballots. So they won't count until they're approved.

And every county has its own system, all different.

Basically, it's what that election law firm said last week: there's no way to rig the election in any consistent way, it's far too decentralized, with too many controls on it.

Which makes me happy about volunteering, although not about the length of the day. I've already identified a taco truck for the first of my one-hour breaks. :-)
posted by suelac at 11:32 AM on October 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


1. We need more poll workers. The current shift is 6AM - 9PM, with two one-hour breaks, and that's a hella long day for someone not getting paid. If you feel inspired, volunteer and give your fellow citizens a break!

Your first statement is correct almost everywhere but it may not help with the time. Some regions, including mine, simply always require full-shift work for elections officers. They have added some new "election concierge" program to let people do non-ballot-handling things for shorter shifts but clearly someone believes that having folks there from start to finish provides some sense of security for the sanctity of the vote. I can't prove it (and am too lazy to call and ask) but I suspect this comes down from on-high at the state level.

If anyone wants to see the sort of documentation poll workers get on equipment here in Arlington they post it here, including the statement of results process. As you say, it's insane to imagine rigging this process in any meaningful way. It would be challenging to insert a few bad votes much less a quantity that would tilt a typical election.
posted by phearlez at 12:01 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


clearly someone believes that having folks there from start to finish provides some sense of security for the sanctity of the vote

Oh, yeah, that makes some sense. Thanks for explaining it!

It's still going to be pretty exhausting, though.
posted by suelac at 12:09 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Crossposting from the current election thread, because it's more appropriate here:

Field report: still recruiting locals, but now with an emphasis on the last four days for GOTV for swing states (phonebanking and trips to the neighboring state.)

Weirdness of the day: A couple days after I started volunteering, I got a call from my call center asking me to volunteer. Funny, but our lists can sit around for days, so I get it. Today I got called again. I told them I was going to be there in a couple hours and to show that to one of the coordinators. When I was there, in a completely different context, I learned that we were supposed to mark people already volunteering as "not interested" so they get removed from the list. Counterintuitive, but OK, that explains things. I get home and am telling this story to the S.O. when I get a phone call. Guess who it was.

This apparently happens a lot, to the point where people have called other people sitting in the same office! Why they don't take people with a hard commit off the list is a mystery. We fill out a separate form for them, so we know who they are.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:54 PM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


If anyone wants to see the sort of documentation poll workers get on equipment here in Arlington they post it here,

Thanks, I love this kind of stuff.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:53 AM on October 28, 2016


If anyone wants to see the sort of documentation poll workers get on equipment here in Arlington they post it here,

Thanks, I love this kind of stuff.


As someone who loves process and systems I have to say, volunteering to be a poll worker is a great way to see something interesting and do some civic good. I can't think of many other circumstances where you get to participate in this big but strictly-defined endeavor and see so many parts of it unimpeded. Mileage may vary, but in our county it's common for workers to get to move around and do different tasks over the course of the day - mostly to prevent boredom, but still, it means you see most of the moving parts. Everything that happens from soup to nuts is specified and documented and available for you to see, no matter how junior you are in the operation. Then when the day is over and the tabulation is done there's this big mass of paperwork and assembling of documentation and that's pretty interesting too.
posted by phearlez at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Aw, found out today I'm not needed as an election judge. Regretting switching parties for the first time.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:33 PM on October 28, 2016


Actually there's a question - is there anything I can do re polls to help specifically as a registered Republican? Is that valuable anywhere? Can I take a useful slot away from an asshole?
posted by corb at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2016


I'll be out in the Castro again tomorrow, handing out our slate cards and canvassing for No on Propositions Q & R. And SF mefites who want to show up are welcome, or just come through and say hi.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:57 PM on October 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Corb, in my county at least, all polling places need to be staffed with representatives of at least two parties. There are a number of tasks that have to be carried out in tandem, to avoid the risk or appearance of impropriety. It's worth checking with your local election board.

I was the token Democrat when I worked at the polls here in August.
posted by Superplin at 11:14 PM on October 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


When I canvassed yesterday, I met a woman and her beautiful (super friendly and affectionate) boxer mix. He has three legs, and she adopted him after driving down to Mexico to rescue pets from a shelter that had run out of money and hadn't fed the animals in a week. This was shortly after she'd lost her beloved German shepherd, and she'd assumed that she would only ever bring home GS pups, healthy and strong.
"He rescued me," she said of the animal bumping his head against my hand to remind me to keep scratching.

She hates Trump with a fury so strong she seems to vibrate with it when he's mentioned, and she's prepared to wait in line as long as necessary on Election Day to publicly cast a ballot against him.
posted by Superplin at 5:17 AM on October 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Mefi Call Team is currently the #2 team of all time! (We were being lapped by the FLOTUS team but they fell off the map earlier this week) We aren't in the top 10 yet for this week, which I sort of enjoy because I love seeing what the other teams are called- screenshot!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:55 AM on October 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Mefi Call Team is currently the #2 team of all time! (We were being lapped by the FLOTUS team but they fell off the map earlier this week) We aren't in the top 10 yet for this week, which I sort of enjoy because I love seeing what the other teams are called- screenshot!
Awesome! I haven't been able to contribute yet since I've been busy studying for an exam (though I did do some phonebanking earlier this year not associated with the MeFi team) but now my exam is behind me and I'm raring to make some calls. It's the last push!
posted by peacheater at 11:13 AM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I voted today. Wait would have been about two hours but my 75 year old dad somehow skinned his knuckle (after an hour in line) and started bleeding so they let us go to the front of the line. Pretty great turnout but it was mostly senior citizens. Since my dad was bleedy I didn't really get to stand at the booth and reflect.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:33 PM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Field report: We're still phoning locals to find volunteers for our swing states GOTV push (starts Friday or Saturday). Best response was a crotchety 96 year old man who interrupted me with "I've already voted for Hillary, so shove off!"

Also amusing, I mentioned above how I've been called three times from my own office after I volunteered. I was sure we had it sorted out after that. This morning I got an email from one of the coordinators asking me to volunteer. I emailed back, "Really?" She got there after I did and was still cracking up over it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:27 PM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm going to need to develop some patter to defuse the canvassing exhaustion that people in this important swing state are experiencing. There are multiple organizations out there canvassing, not coordinating with one another, and people are getting really really sick of it. They don't really distinguish between someone knocking on their door from Planned Parenthood vs. Clean Water Action vs. Hillary For America, all they know is that people keep bothering them. Most of the not-home (probably moved/abandoned--it was that sort of turf) doors I knocked this past weekend already had a blizzard of lit on the porch.

I'm sympathetic (my husband has been canvassed three times now and my phone is constantly blowing up with out-of-state numbers) but I still have my packet to complete. It's awkward.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:02 AM on November 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Two new phone banks have opened- *Ohio GOTV World Series* and *Illinois GOTV World Series*. Both are described as, "Call it for your team! Make 45 calls in honor of your team and be entered to win." Entered to win what? I have no idea.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:37 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


The World Series?

It's all rigged!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:44 AM on November 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have somehow managed to get blocked from making Hillary calls under a second account- not sure what sort of barrier I'm trigering- calling from too many IPs (home and office), calling too fast (nobody was picking up last night), something else? I created my 3rd account and got back on the horse, but I'd love to know what exactly I'm doing wrong.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:52 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah I made 20ish calls last night and no one picked up!
posted by peacheater at 8:01 AM on November 2, 2016


Finally got through to some folks in Wisconsin - a 77 year old man and his wife who told me they'd both already voted and for Hillary! Woo!
posted by peacheater at 4:50 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


After months of guilt-donating, I finally decided to put my mouth where my money is and I'm knocking doors all day Saturday. I feel like a garbage person generally for not doing anything sooner, but my social anxiety has really had the better of me. I'm pretty okay with talking to strangers about politics in person (I'm a lobbyist), but hoo boy the phone is the worst. I've been dodging an increasingly thick blizzard of out-of-state numbers blowing up my phone for ages.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:08 PM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hi MeFites United call team: In case anyone missed this or turned off email notifications -- I saw this email message today about a call team competition that ends in four days. It was signed by Ashley, the call tool organizer.
In no time at all, thanks to your organizing and your calls, your team has climbed the Hillary for America leaderboard. You and your teammates are one of our top teams campaign-wide, and you've been entered into the Get Out The Vote Call Team Championship.

The top three call teams on the weekly leaderboard at midnight EST on Sunday, November 6th will be entered to win.

The team that makes the most calls in this period of time will also be considered for team-wide prizes, with a special shout out to your Team Captain. Not to mention bragging rights!

Best of all, you'll be helping Hillary win. Get calling now so your team finishes in the top 10:
Then there's a link that goes to the phonebanking page on Hillary's website. While I have no idea what the "team-wide prizes" might be, I think it would be pretty cool for kristi to get a shout out.

(For anyone who's still considering making a call or two or more, here's the MeFites United call team link again. When using the call tool, I've found it reassuring to see "MeFites United" and the kitty icon on my screen.)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:26 PM on November 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I hope the prize is Hillary joining Metafilter so we can call her "Mefite's Own".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:45 AM on November 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Hey look no one knew she was into The Toast until its last day. She could be here among us RIGHT NOW.
posted by corb at 5:40 AM on November 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if she was lurking on some of these threads, clearing her head from the Kafkaesque nightmare that is the rest of the internet/world these days.
posted by peacheater at 5:52 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Called a 92-yo woman in Wisconsin last night. When I asked her if she was a Hillary supporter, she said, "Her?!? BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" and hung up the phone. I can't wait to be old.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:00 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Have you been noticing that most of the Wisconsin people are on the older side? Most people I called seemed over 70.
posted by peacheater at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2016


Even calling people in the SF East Bay area for a local bond measure, I'm calling many more seniors than middle aged people, and almost no one in their 20s or 30s. I think it's just a reflection of who has a landline.
posted by latkes at 9:26 AM on November 3, 2016


EVERYONE FROM EVERYWHERE IS CALLING MY 87-YO MOM ABOUT EVERYTHING MAKE IT STOP PLEASE
posted by Room 641-A at 9:45 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ugh, got my first Trump supporter. Claimed the Clinton campaign got her number illegally and said she can't tell me the number of people she's told she's not a Clinton supporter (would support her going to jail not the White House). Says she's not saying that I'm doing anything illegal of course, but wouldn't put it past the Clinton campaign, of course. Well, I guess it had to happen some time, and to be honest, it wasn't thaaaaat bad. She wasn't personally rude to me.
posted by peacheater at 3:52 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


EVERYONE FROM EVERYWHERE IS CALLING MY 87-YO MOM ABOUT EVERYTHING MAKE IT STOP PLEASE

Yeah, that's going to have to be addressed. Bad enough there are uncoordinated campaigns, but my own office has called me four times after I volunteered. That's wasted effort.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:13 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Calling once you've already volunteered is definitely a waste of time, but I don't think repeated GOTV calls are - I think people require like 7 GOTV calls before it starts being a waste of time? People really do forget and need to be reminded to the point of irritation. It's the same principle as the constant asking for donations - irritating as hell, but effective!
posted by peacheater at 6:24 PM on November 3, 2016


Calling once you've already volunteered is definitely a waste of time, but I don't think repeated GOTV calls are - I think people require like 7 GOTV calls before it starts being a waste of time?

That seven number seems like it came out of the phone number thing. It's just irritating if it's over a weekend or whatever. Ask me how I know.

Dems have to do better coordination going forward. (Ideally, tomorrow.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:54 PM on November 3, 2016


Yeah, I don't know. I vote because civic duty and all, but when a nonprofit has called me at three inconvenient times I usually threaten to donate to their opponent if I get called again. I could see a similar result for some people for voting.
posted by corb at 8:15 PM on November 3, 2016


That's wasted effort.

It's not just a wasted effort, it's disruptive and can become a problem. Sometimes people need to sleep but can't turn off the phone, or they have sensory issues. Since she usually gets almost no phone calls my mother gets worried every time it rings now, and I have to assure her they are just election calls.

The escalation is out of control and I want to take back my phone. I'm not knocking any of the efforts here but I think the system needs to change.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:43 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


> I wouldn't be surprised if she was lurking on some of these threads

If she -- or someone on her team -- ever mentions Egg McMuffin, eggs Benedict, Hollandaise sauce, or guacamole, I'm going to consider it a high five to MetaFilter.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:27 AM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I want to apologize for my last comment. Regardless of what prompted it, this wasn't the right place for it. You all are the reason we ate going to win, and I'm sorry I let my emotions take away from that.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:36 AM on November 4, 2016


Oh I don't think anyone took it that way, I think it's totally understandable to be frustrated at how these things impact real people on the ground.
posted by corb at 8:27 AM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


If anyone wants to go to Nashua, NH tomorrow to canvas for Democrats and needs a ride from Boston, I will be departing from Central Square at 8:30am. MeMail me.
posted by Coventry at 8:56 AM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I attended the legal poll monitoring training earlier this week, and it was really informative. Lots of takeaways from it, and I think some stand out as worth worth mentioning, especially if you're a poll worker.

First, pass this on: if someone tries to prevent you from voting or intimidates/challenges you and you feel you have the right to vote, call one of these hotlines (there's one each for English, Spanish, and Asian languages.) It's non-partisan and will walk you through the situation and your rights. Generally, don't let any member of the public try to stop you from voting. Report people to poll workers if they're out of line.

There are frequently issues with polling places not providing adequate materials for alternate languages. This is a huge problem. As a poll worker, overlook this and you might exclude entire communities of people from voting, and likely no one will know enough to call you out on it (and the groups that need this the most won't know enough English to ask you in many situations). Your training has likely skipped over this too.

Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act requires translated materials for language minorities that have suffered a history of exclusion/disenfranchisement in the voting process. It kicks in when either more than 5% of the citizens of voting acts of your state or subdivision are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient, or more than 10,000 of the citizens of voting age are. Everything must be translated for these groups. Spanish is pretty common.

The requirements vary by county and state, but your polling place might have more stringent requirements. In California it's 3%. If any requirements kick in, you should receive the alternate language materials to be provided at the polling place. If it's a laminated translation of the ballot, it might be placed on a wall in a prominent part of the polling area. If it's a box of ballots, then place them as an option alongside the English ballots. etc.

Pretty simple! But commonly ignored completely. Just thought I'd pass this info on in case it helps. There are other things. Understand the voter ID laws in your state if there are any, for example. This is a common way that poll workers (often inadvertently) show discrimination against minority groups, for example by asking for IDs for foreign-sounding names but not for others. Make sure it's actually required, and make sure you ask everyone if it is.

If a voter's name isn't on the registration list, or if she doesn't have required identification, etc., she should always be given the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot. Many poll workers are untrained on this. In most cases, think about this before you let someone walk away. If they're at the wrong polling place, maybe they can head to the right one with no problem, or maybe they're unable to. They should be able to cast a provisional ballot in a worst case scenario.

Hope this helps!
posted by naju at 12:20 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


naju, that information seems great! Think you could post it on the main election thread? I'm afraid it might get lost in this old MetaTalk thread and would love to have more eyeballs on it.
posted by peacheater at 12:27 PM on November 4, 2016


more than 5% of the citizens of voting acts of your state

That should be citizens of voting age, sorry.
posted by naju at 12:27 PM on November 4, 2016


Sure, will do.
posted by naju at 12:27 PM on November 4, 2016

If anyone wants to go to Nashua, NH tomorrow to canvas for Democrats and needs a ride from Boston, I will be departing from Central Square at 8:30am. MeMail me.
Change of plans. I've been promoted to Social Media Guy.
posted by Coventry at 3:05 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sigh. I live in Maryland (DC suburbs) and was hoping to do all-day canvassing in PA tomorrow, but couldn't get child care organized, so I'll be doing 2 hours in northern Virginia instead.

Still, I probably wouldn't be doing canvassing if not for all the amazing stories and encouragement I've gotten through MeFi, so thanks, all!
posted by duffell at 3:59 PM on November 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Thank you all so much for the MeFi United team. I signed up to make calls a few days ago. I kept saying I'd do calls in the evening, East Coast time, calling the Midwest and the West. And then I was taking care of this friend, and that responsibility, and I was exhausted...

And then today -- thanks to a FPP -- I heard David Rees yell at me to get off my ass and start making calls. And he was right, and I made a few calls to the Call Guides who were very reassuring to me as a first-time-caller. Two of them even said that if I had problems or questions I should feel free to call them specifically again!

And then I made 15 more calls and all of them were either voicemail/answering machines or "they're not home right now". But I will make more.
posted by brainwane at 10:04 AM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I finally put my mouth where all my guilt-fueled donations are and canvassed all day in Virginia! I met a guard cat! My feet are entirely made of blisters! I am drinking a milkshake with bourbon in it to numb the pain! Dear god, we gotta win this!
posted by bowtiesarecool at 3:03 PM on November 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Belated field report from Thursday: they pulled me and some other veterans off the local lists and had us doing confirmation calls for the GOTV push that started today (Sat.) Basically we were confirming/reminding people about the shift they signed up for. We were leaving messages, so it took a while to work through. We also had to inform them about the temporary space just for phone banking these last days (main office has parking, so it's being reserved for door knockers who are bussing over to the swing state next door.)

Excited to get back for the final push.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:46 PM on November 5, 2016


Thanks yasaman for details about text (SMS) banking (including the fact that you can only do it from certain campaign headquarters offices). hillaryclinton.com/events/ mentions "Text Out the Vote!" events coming up at the Manhattan field office, for instance.
posted by brainwane at 6:48 AM on November 6, 2016


I have the morning off because the people in Brooklyn have decided that Iowans all need to go to church. This does not really reflect the religious makeup of the leadership or volunteers at my staging location, but I'm grateful for the chance to clean my apartment.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:18 AM on November 6, 2016


Canvassing report from 23220: On my first day of volunteering, I was so impressed with the campaign's coordination. I had a list of registered but inconsistent voters, a reminder card to fill out with voting time, ID type, transportation method, etc., and some stickers for doors where nobody answered.

I was in a predominantly elderly African-American area of Richmond's North Side, and nobody I met was annoyed about being visited on a Sunday or rushed me off their front porch. I even met one couple who had voted early—or who had tried to, but only one of them was successful. For the woman whose application for absentee ballot was still in limbo, I made sure she had the right number to call for more information on Monday.

I'm not sure I'll pick the same neighborhood, just for variety's sake, but I'm scheduled to go out again tomorrow evening.
posted by emelenjr at 3:46 PM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Penultimate field report: I got to see the new temporary phonebanking space. It's at least four times as large as the main office and filled up pretty quickly. The volunteer recruitment paid off! I staked out a corner of the break room, which was filled with goodies so ended up being busier than I thought.

We called NC voters with a fairly long script checking their support, reminding them to vote, making sure they knew where the precinct was and the times it was open (at least one was happy to learn they open at 6:30) and a couple questions about when they were voting and how they were getting there that's supposed to cement the idea in their minds.

One day more. My last act is going to be getting the S.O. to the polls an hour before they close.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:03 PM on November 7, 2016


Well, I just got back from helping set up the polls. This is my first time as an election judge. The polling place is a high school gymnasium. Roughly half of the volunteers are high school students fulfilling their community service requirement; half are older retired folks. I am one of a handful over the age of 20 and below 60. This made setup of the electronic pollbooks interesting; none of the high school students had ever seen an ethernet cable before, and the older volunteers all told me their kids were the ones who always set up their home networks. I got to feel useful!

We get a stipend for our service as election judges. Mine is going straight to the North Carolina NAACP.
posted by duffell at 5:51 PM on November 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


I need to share my sad story here: I signed up for a canvassing event on Saturday through Hillary's website, got a confirmation email, and drove out to the campaign office ... but when I got there, the office was closed and no one was there. I waited 15 minutes past the time the event was supposed to start, but no one showed up and I didn't have a number to call. I drove home. :-(
posted by cider at 7:10 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have been volunteering at least once a week since the convention. Also did a couple of weeks for Bernie. When I was phonebanking then, I got a bailbonds place. When I asked for the voter, the response was, "Is she in jail?" My response was, "No, she's not in jail." That got a laugh from the other volunteers.

I am glad I volunteered all around. I am much more politically active than I have ever been. But the Bernie group was much more fun that the Hillary group.
posted by maurreen at 1:47 PM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


For those of you making phone calls -- what do you do if the person has already voted?
posted by maurreen at 2:19 PM on November 8, 2016


I spent this morning, starting at 7 am, doing visibility with two of my favorite local candidates, Jane Kim and Bevan Dufty. Then switched to handing out voter guides outside a polling station for several hours. I'm home for a minute to eat some food, drink some water, and charge my phone, then back to do more evening visibility. I've begged off the phone banking as I have a cold and am losing my voice and didn't think voters wanted me croaking at them.

I love election day and I love being out there and seeing all the I voted stickers and answering people's questions. I especially love being able to support local candidates I like and see people respond to them. Election day here and volunteering for campaigns makes me feel good about our country and our people and our democracy.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:33 PM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Update from Berkeley, part 3: I'm glad it's over. Too tired at the moment to comprehend the election as anything but a personal hardship. I guess that's a positive?
posted by clorox at 10:29 PM on November 8, 2016


Final call total: The Mefites United call team dialed 8708 calls. I am super proud of us and the work we did! Thanks to everyone who participated.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:39 AM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Late to the party, but since I don't keep a diary I might as well post here for posterity.

Obama's 2008 campaign was incredibly inspirational, but I felt too meek at the time to volunteer in any way beyond donating.

In 2012, I was motivated enough to apply for the campaign's field data team, spending a few weeks phonebanking, turf-cutting, and learning the finer points of NGP-VAN. I didn't make the final cut, but it was fun and educational.

This year, the stakes were so high that I took a week off work to go canvass in Tampa, Florida. It was an interesting exercise, being on the other side of the turf-cutting/turf-walking divide. You show up at an organizer's field office (or in this case garage), get a neighborhood map and a list of names and addresses, one street per page. Enough pamphlets and reminder-to-vote sticky notes to plaster several blocks. A tote bag, sunscreen, water, and comfortable shoes are a must.

Being so late in the game, we were mostly targeting registered Democrats to GOTV, not undecideds. Two to three shifts a day, for 6-9 hours. Most folks weren't home, but the remainder were generally friendly. My first voter actually invited me to come back later for some free backyard BBQ, and I had a good time the next day trying to keep up with an enthused older Spanish lady with my poquitito del español. Pretty sure she said we had a duty to God to vote, and another woman down the street declared she was claiming that victory! for Clinton. Even after running into an actual-factual Stein household, it was hard not to feel optimistic, especially with the stories about Trump's nonexistent ground game.

My last shift on Election Day was spent helping canvass for the neighboring office in Clearwater -- first walking the hallways of a retirement community (the sounds of Wheel of Fortune behind every door), then skipping over a torn-down apartment block and several inaccessible gated communities, and finally ending the day in a crowded, largely Hispanic RV park. Poor timing (with most everybody at work) and the language barrier made the trip pretty unfruitful, but I did have one voter named Noemi who wanted to vote but didn't have anyone to take her there. So with about 30 minutes left and with the help of the Google Translate app, I offered her a ride.

Of course the polling place had no interpreters, but luckily the Clearwater office was able to dispatch someone at the last minute to help walk her through the process. No long lines (though one dude on a bike got turned away for being at the wrong site, with no time to reach the proper one). Even without my HRC button, I felt a little unseemly sitting there waiting on them, but the poll workers were all very solicitous -- and at least one on the verge of tears. Joy or fear, it was hard to judge.

I drove Noemi back home, agreeing in broken Spanish how horrĂ­ble Trump was. Dropped her off, returned the canvassing papers, grabbed a pizza. Proceeded to watch Murphy, Ross, Kander, McGinty, Feingold, and finally Clinton all go down in flames, with Florida along for the ride the whole way. Spent the nine hour trek back the next day listening to Clinton's concession, Obama's press conference, and the shellshocked reactions from Keepin It 1600, FiveThirtyEight, and the rest of the political podcast world. It was a rough drive. But fighting and losing feels better than standing by and doing nothing.

(On the bright side, with Sessions on tap for AG, there's a chance to challenge his successor in a Senate race right here in Alabama! Of course, his colleague Richard Shelby just won re-election by thirty points against a no-hope marijuana activist, but you can't say we don't try.)
posted by Rhaomi at 2:51 AM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


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