Monday, November 08, 2004

Report #9 - The Final 24 Hours

My team stopped canvassing on Monday night around 7:00. Back at headquarters, new volunteers had arrived over the weekend with tech expertise and additional computers. This seemed to be a great omen and immediately eased the data entry crunch. But now the Internet connection has slowed dramatically. Can we send out for food and coffee? Panda Express or In-and-Out Burger? Volunteers are stymied because they have questions nobody has time to answer. No matter, everyone keeps hustling and figuring it out as best they can. We can overcome all obstacles. We are tired but upbeat and we are working together to accomplish something very important.

By 9:00, there is concern that new walk lists will not be available. Is it possible to print back up walk lists for the 1,042 precincts in Clark County before 7:00 AM? Can I go to Kinko's and check out the status of printing? Of course. Where can we buy another printer? Who is open after midnight? Walmart. I am back at headquarters at 1:30 AM. Technical glitches in the database have been resolved and all early voters have been removed. So I enter my data from today's canvassing and print my election day walklists as well as my poll watching list. In bed and asleep by 2:30 AM.

Up at 6:00 AM to get to my precint by the opening bell at 7:00 AM. The polling place at Jack Dailey Elementary School opens on time and is running smoothly. At 9:00 AM in Nevada, polls must provide updates of who voted between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM. Around 9:20 I get to review the list and cross off the new voters from our precinct walk lists. Then we start election day canvassing. "Have you voted yet?" When will you be voting?" "Do you need a ride?" At different times in the day, there are six of us working the precinct - 4 from California, two local.

On election day our team knocks on a total of 204 doors and speaks with 64 voters. When we check the polling results at 9:00 AM, 43 votes have been cast in precinct 7084 - 6 from our lists. We cross those voters off the list and keep knocking on doors. Between 9:00 AM and noon, 57 votes are cast and 12 are from our target list. Between 12:00 and 3:00 PM, 52 new votes are cast and 15 are from our list. We hear encouraging news from precinct residents who have heard that Kerry is leading in the exit polls of the battleground states. We do our final check when the votes from 3:00 to 5:00 PM are posted. There are 58 votes cast and 23 are from our Leave No Voter Behind target list.

By now we have crossed off 56 voters from our list and it no longer makes sense to walk the streets. Instead, we drive to specific addresses where we know that target voters have not yet voted. At 6:50 PM we call it a day and head back to headquarters. Our hopes are high despite a few vague but inauspicious cell phone reports about Florida.


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