Nov 2: Barack the House: Wringing Obama Votes out of Pueblo

I can't believe I was writing about being tired before I even got here. My eyelids feel like they're magnetized, they're so determined to stick together, and it's only 10:30pm. We've been working since 7:30am, but it feels like about 3 days have gone by since then. How some of these guys have been doing it for 70 days running, I don't know.
Today the entire office switched from 'persuasion' canvassing to 'get out the vote' canvassing, meaning essentially that they were knocking on doors and asking people who they were voting for, and then, if it was Obama, what time they could get to the polls on Tuesday. This morning started out well. Quite a few of the new staff members came in with friends or family members, just as they'd been asked to do, so suddenly there were twice as many workers as we'd anticipated. That was mostly a good thing, but it meant scrambling to pull together the extra walk lists and divvy up the precincts according to the groups they formed. It wasn't easy. I'm astounded at the amount of coordination and sheer work required to keep this office functioning, when it seems like all we're trying to do is get people to knock on doors. The plan is constantly changing-definitely a challenge for someone like me who likes order and clarity in all things.
We had planned to hit the streets around 10am, but we got out office in the early afternoon. Somehow, by virtue of being the canvass director's significant other I guess, I was assigned as a field manager, given the keys to a car and a city map, and tasked with dropping off my three canvassers, checking in with them every two hours to get a report on their results, picking them up when they were done with one precinct and moving on to the next. I drove everywhere with the map pasted across the steering wheel, and faked the confident authority I didn't really feel, but I guess I pulled it off.
I was so impressed with the work the canvassers put in today. Quite a few of them walked in the door simply looking for a paycheck, but most of them are already excited about the cause. A report in the New York Times today cited Pueblo as a key city in a crucial swing state where get-out-the-vote canvassing was going to make a big difference, since early voting has not been as big here as in other key areas. When the canvassers heard that, there was a collective whoop. For some of these people, this is the first time they've ever had any political involvement, and maybe the first time they've done work where there's meaning outside of earning enough for basic survival. I figure one of the most helpful things I can do while I'm here is to whip up their growing excitement and provide encouragement. So far it's working pretty well, though as sleep deprivation becomes more acute, I'm sure it will get harder.
It's hard to justify blogging when the rest of the team here is slogging through the evening tasks, which consist mostly of reporting today's numbers and preparing for another group tomorrow. Back to the grind-less than 48 hours to go!

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