Friday, March 31, 2017

Canvassing for a Mayoral Candidate

We have been voting in every election, local or state or general election,  since we become US citizens. I am a big advocate of participation in political process, write about it (12) and remind neighbors about upcoming elections via a crime watch email list.....

But I had never been to a political rally or canvassing for a candidate for elected office until this year.

In early February we attended a political rally for the first time for a local mayoral candidate.
It was a very small rally held at a local gymnasium, less than 100 people attended including campaign volunteers. It was not very impressive. I am a supporter of the candidate, but not  a devotee. However when the national anthem was played, I felt a real strong emotion, my eyes swelled with tears, No longer a passive participant of the political process, a sideline commentator, I actively participated in the process!

When we left the rally, we took one yard sign with us and erected it in our front yard!

When I heard that the campaign needed volunteers to canvass precincts, I signed up through its website. I did not hear from the campaign for weeks, a little disappointed. But I suspected that no one really check the website sign up database due to lack of registration. Finally I got the call about 10 days ago asking if I was still interested - I was.

Lily went  with me for my first precinct walk Sunday two weeks ago.

We had five team members on that day, all were first time precinct walker except the captain. The captain gave us a quick training at his house - how to use GeoConnect Pro  - a software for precinct walk which gives likely voter addresses, voter affiliation. He also instructed on what to say, how to say .... greet voters, smile, smile and more smile! When we got to the precinct, he demonstrated to us one more time in real action.

Then we split into two  teams, Lily and I one team, the rest the other team.

no body home, have picture taken
Looking at the likely voter's residence distribution in the block, we decided to park our car to walk block(s) in loop, and drive to next block once we finished the loop.

We started on a very positive note - first house we visited, the old gentleman opened the door timely and told us that he voted for our candidate already! Lily did not believe him when we walked away because early voting had not started yet. We later realized that some voters mail in their ballots.

The rest were not that easy!

working on GeoConnect Pro App
There were many houses nobody answered the doors.

There were a couple houses the front doors were ajar, but no one answered the doors - worked in backyard? in bathroom?

We also woke up a few people in afternoon nap - two youngsters promised to let their parents know about our visit, and  one old lady was just about to get into bed due to a tiring day but she politely declined our questions. We apologized and left with guilt.

There were a few irritated home owners as well - one yelled through the door  "not interested!", another opened the door and sternly told us "did you see the no solicitation sign?"

We did get a few more supporters to our candidate, they were really nice to us.

The more interesting interactions were with the undecided voters - some had engaged us in discussions of their concerns and our candidate's policies. Of course we, Lily in particular, tried to convince them to vote our candidate.

Demographic wise, many voters we visited were senior citizens - they are the most reliable voting demographic.

With this experience, we now understand how hard it was to get votes one wants from general public.

The whole group wrapped up the precinct walk shortly past 5pm, after 3 hour walk in the beautiful sunny Texas afternoon.

What an experience it was !.

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