It is way more than a cliché to say that this is an incredibly important election. I truly believe that our future, and our children's future depends on it.
The last week has been intense. Very intense. In the past ten days, I have put in five full days of volunteer work for the Nashua Campaign for Change, and at least a couple of hours on all the other days. I have done phone-banking, data entry, transportation of canvassers to and from their turf, transportation of literature from the campaign office to the staging site, and more. I have put up campaign signs, and I have taken them down, repaired, and replaced them after they were vandalized. (More on that in a bit.) And then there's tomorrow...
Election day here in New Hamspshire will see an unprecedented Get Out The Vote effort from our campaign. More than a thousand, and perhaps several thousand, canvassers will come through our staging area and cover routes in Nashua and surrounding towns. Many will drive themselves, but there will be bus-loads coming in from neighboring states where the result has never been in doubt. The buses have been coming on weekends for over a month now, but tomorrow we will have more -- lots more -- buses than we've had on any given day. And individual canvassers will walk more, too. But I won't be at the staging area, and I won't be driving canvassers. I'll be a poll-watcher.
I volunteered for the poll-watching job because it seems like a personal challenge. You see, the job of a poll-watcher is to be quiet most of the time and remain unobtrusive. Anyone who knows me can attest to how challenging that will be It's also a very important job for the campaign. It's not just that we're there to assure the fairness of the vote. Through a system of watchers and runners, we feed information back to the campaign organizers that helps them make decisions throughout the day on allocation of resources. It's a sophisticated operation, and the other side their own poll-watchers and their own systems in place. Turnout is expected to be huge this year. I've heard an estimate of 85%.
Don't think all this effort makes a difference? Consider this: in 2000, there were 566,796 votes cast in New Hampshire. In 2004, with both parties mounting large-scale GOTV efforts, there were 676,227 votes cast. That's a 19% increase in overall turnout. And because minor party candidates got about 23,000 fewer votes in 2004 than they had in 2000, in order to turn a 7,000 vote loss in 2000 into a 9,000 vote win, the Democratic party actually had to turn out 74,500 more voters in 2004, for a 28% increase in the Democratic vote, because the GOP turned out 58,500 more voters.
Now, a certain amount of this increased turnout was due to passions on both sides running higher, but with numbers like that there is no denying that a good piece of it came from the "ground game", and I'm proud to be a part of it. We, on both sides of the get out the vote effort, are pro-democracy. And being pro-democracy is being pro-American.
Even if you are not in a position where you can be a formal volunteer for the campaign of your choice, you can help. Call your friends and family. Pester them. Get them to go to the polls. Drive them if they need a ride. Watch their children if they need someone to do that.
Votes matter. Every vote matters. Here in New Hampshire, we had the closest election for US Senate in history. That was in 1974, when I was 14 and several years before I lived in the state -- but my grandparents lived here and I was well aware of the what went on. The initial count gave the election to the Republican candidate, Louis Wyman, by 355 votes. A recount then gave the election to the Democrat, John Durkin, by 10 votes. A second recount gave the election back to Wyman by just two votes, which was ruled the final count by the governor, and so the two vote margin stands as the official election result. There were still disputed ballots, though, and Durkin appealed to the Senate itself. A deadlock resulted and dragged on well into 1975, and finally an agreement was reached to re-seat the prior incumbent and hold a new election, which Durkin then won by a wide margin, with record turnout. Loads of people who didn't vote in the initial election turned out, and they delivered a decisive result. Votes matter.
1. ninest12304/23/2016 04:47:34 AM