Last night, I attended an OFA GOTV training. It wasn't my first, but it will be my last. There was a lot to think about on the ride home.
Starting at the end, it will be my last OFA GOTV training because in four years, there will be no more OFA. The DNC will merge with our 2016 candidate and his or her campaign. I fervently hope that the lessons learned (and taught) by OFA will be passed to the next candidate. From that first kick-off meeting in 2008, OFA has been different from any campaign on which I've ever worked, and trust me, that goes back much longer than I like to admit.
The training was led by people who work the campaign. A lot of them also worked in 2008, and in those people, I could see their growth, in part attributable to years of working for OFA. And it was nice to see.
There were two things that I took from the overall training:
- In 2000, the election was decided by 537 votes.
- In Pennsylvania, we have 13 hours.
The first time the 537 number was mentioned, I flashed back to Tim Russert and his little white board, saying "Florida, Florida, Florida." I was at a friend's house with a co-worker who was in from out of town. When Tom and I left, Florida had been called for Al Gore. In the 20 minutes it took to drop Tom at his hotel and get home, Florida had been called for Bush. And then, well, you know...Point is, 537 votes. One fewer then the total number of EC votes. 537 votes in what was then a country of about 250 million people. For the rest of the training, my mind kept a track open to the idea of how important every single vote is to this, and every, election. 537.
The next point that struck me was when they reminded us that in Pennsylvania, we don't have weeks of early voting. Nor no-fault absentee balloting, we have 13 hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to get our voters to the polls. I came home and checked my list of what I call "direct voters" - that is, people I personally know who have told me that they will be at the polls here in Chester County, on election day. I have indirect voters, as in "yes, I'm bringing my husband" or "I'll make sure my kids fill out and send in their absentee ballots".
22 days from today. 13 hours. 537 votes. And it will be close. What are YOU doing to help the cause in this seminal year? I hope you'll be making calls, knocking doors and giving money. As an aside, our money goes much further. But it's the ground game.
I know the Romney folks are out, and that their lists are not like our lists. I know this because they walked past my car with it three bumper stickers (Obama/Biden 2012, Dogs Against Romney dot com, and Save Medicare, Vote Democrat) and knocked my door to see if I was going to vote for their candidate. Really. MY FRONT DOOR. I knew they were coming because I'd received calls and texts from appalled houses they'd already hit. They can walk my neighborhood, but they cannot have it.
So get out there. Call your local OFA office and sign up. Sign up online. If you live in a state where the outcome is known, help make calls in swing states so we can have more people canvassing. 22 days.
Elections are won one voter at a time.
Get yours today.