Today is the start on in-person early voting in Ohio. In my first diary (Getting Out the Vote) I described my GOTV plan for my precinct. I was able to recruit 20 Block Captains to collect phone numbers of registered voters on their blocks. This past weekend my Block Captains have been calling the voters on their block (Neighbors calling Neighbors) to remind them that early voting starts today and giving them the times and location to vote. They also offer people rides, remind them of the Democratic candidates (particularly the Supreme Court Justices who are not identified on the ballot by partisan affiliation) and explain the redistricting amendment on the ballot which the Republicans are doing everything they can to kill.
Of course my suggested script for my Captains had to include a different script for each week since the times ordered by Husted (SOS) are different by week and offices are closed on Columbus Day and open later on the last day for registration. We also still don’t know what will happen on the last weekend since the Federal Court ruling to allow voting then has been appealed and the appeal has not been ruled on yet. More on what has gone right and what has not below the elegant apostrophe.
In an earlier update I described my pleasure and surprise that three-quarters of my recruits had completed their collection without pushing on my part. This update is a little less euphoric. Of the five Block Captains I was unable to contact on my initial attempt, two have dropped out, though I have recruited a replacement for one of them. This yields a net success rate of 95%, which isn’t too shabby.
I also talked the Party into offering each Block Captain and guest free tickets to the Fall Democratic Dinner. It isn’t a great deal but at least it is a recognition of their willingness to do some work to turn out the vote. The real question is how well we succeed in turning out the vote. In the area now covered by my Block Captains back in the 2008 election 58% of the registered voters who were either independent or Democrats voted. In the 2010 election only 36% of them voted, which is how Ohio got into the mess that is Kasich. I am aiming to surpass that 58% mark and more important to maintain it in off-year elections. My hope is that if this succeeds as well as I hope, others will be willing to do the same thing in their precincts.
If that happens perhaps we can turn Ohio into a non-swing state and we can get some peace in presidential election years. Those of you who complain of not getting the attention of the swing states should be careful of what you wish for. I have this year participated in twelve telephone polls and counting and have had well more than thirty calls asking me to participate in GOTV efforts.
As a side note two of those polls were clearly from Josh Mandel's campaign. After asking me who I would vote for if the Senate race were today--Sherrod Brown; how certain was that vote--definite; I was then asked "Would you definitely vote for Josh Mandel, probably vote for Josh Mandel, ..." Apparently the Mandel campaign hired another of his incompetent college buddies to do his polling for him.
So being in a battleground state has disadvantages as well as advantages. Yes it is wonderful to be able to see the President once or twice in person and I’m glad that people are calling voters. However the calls come often enough to be annoying. Indeed that is the main reason I came up with the Neighbor calling Neighbor concept. The question is, will it be successful?
At the end of each week of early voting, I will be getting the names of those who voted that week, matching them with the voters on my Block Captain’s lists, and then calling my Captains and telling them to take those voters off their list. In that way voters won’t get any more calls from us once they’ve voted. Those who haven't voted will get a call each weekend giving them the hours for voting for the following week and, once again,urging them to vote early.
On the weekend before Election Day my Captains will call those on their block who haven't yet voted and remind them that Election Day will be their last chance to vote. On Election Day I will be striking the polls at 11:00 and 4:00 and letting my Captains know who has voted at that point. They will then call those who haven’t yet voted. The plan sounds good but the results are what is important. More on that when I know more.