Today i did one hour of phonebanking for Esiquio Uballe, the Democratic nominee for State Assembly in the 72nd District in California. Right of the bat i must tell you all that i'm not old enough to vote (not for another two years), but after reading Seneca Doane's wonderful must-read diary, i became motivated to do this. So this afternoon, the wonderful Seneca Doane himself picked me up to Fullerton to do an hour shift of phonebanking (I wish i had done more, but the high school work is daunting), and automatically it felt weird, but in a good way kind of weird.
I was given an extremely helpful introduction and demonstration on how to phonebank by the awesome, Seneca Doane himself. We were reviewing our scripts, making sure to include as much detail as possible but without boring or hang-ups from callers. I met Susan Uballe, who was extremely polite, cordial and helped me with setting up our phones. We were acting out our scripts with other volunteers to get an idea of how the process goes, and after a bit of practicing did my nerves finally settle down. It was time to head out.
We got our phone listings and started calling each voter, my first one was one i'd expect to see alot, says Seneca. I was a bit nervous still, but the man who answered was polite and said he had not decided on who to vote for, so i thanked him for his time and hung up. The next couple calls went to voice mail, which i loved (because i didn't feel comfortable talking to a live person, a answering machine felt more ok.). The next call was for a male, but a woman answered. I said "Hi! Is [name] here?", then she said with a sharp retort "Yes, who is this and what business do you have?". Immediately i wanted to shout, but Seneca's words kept me from doing just that so i said "I'm with the Democratic Party asking you to vote this November." The woman replies, "Sorry, not interested." So i thanked her for her time and hung up. The next on the list, and older man from Yorba Linda of all places. I asked him "Are you planning on voting for the Democratic candidates this november?" and he replied, "Well of course! I know about each of them, and i'm quite happy with what i've seen from them." so i thanked him for his support and his was the best call of the 45 minute long phonebanking.
Overall, i have to say that phonebanking at first glance seems daunting, but once you got your script and have done a few practice calls, your ready to go. I really enjoyed doing this and even surprised my parents who are now boasting (as i write) to the whole neighborhood about this. As a high school student who can't vote yet, many people question why i do this, even i had questioned myself. But after doing this, meeting the wonderful people in charge and grasping how phonebanking works, i'll definitely come back for more, even canvassing. I got a Barbara Boxer and a Jerry Brown bumper sticker before i left. I'll be back on Thursday to hand out campaign literature at the Fullerton Farmer Market, see you there!
Any tips on canvassing or phonebanking? Let me know in the comments.