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al bupp

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Vermont
Home country: USA
Member since: Fri Mar 26, 2004, 12:37 AM
Number of posts: 2,079

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Another night phone-banking for Dems in PA

Hi All,

Tonight was my 3rd time doing this, and it went great! I want say at the start that I'm hoping the following partial re-counting (bad pun? intended) of the evening's calls will motivate people here to give it a try themselves. It really is rewarding for its on sake! All you have to do to join in the fun is swing on over to swingleft.org, and choice the state where, when and how you'd like to plug-in. There are both calling and texting options (though the latter tend to fill-up).

OK, do I didn't keep an exact count, but out ~22 calls I had just 4 GOP (only 1 hung-up, the others politely letting me know). Had a few others that hung-up immediately.

However, the thing I'm really chuffed about were the ones who were great.

There was super nice Taylor, who was wary at first, but once she realized I was a human and not a scam was happy to talk and easily had 3 friends she could name get to go w/ her to the polls. Then came Jen who was at least as nice as Taylor, maybe more, who rattled off the names 3 friends she'd be going to the polls with. There was Melissa w/ her baby, Warren (just I asked off-script) that I could hear babbling (on her lap, I supposed), who said she'd been called 3 times this week, and yes had a plan to vote w/ her family, but said that was the first to ask her about volunteering herself! At which time, to my disappointment, I realized I didn't have an PA specific volunteering details to give, so I sent her over to swingleft.org, as well when said she might even like to try making calls herself.

There was Rodney, a middle-aged man as he told me (like me) and of color, I thought (not like me), who was super chatty. Told he his whole house was voting and that was he was talking to his whole neighborhood about voting, even the youth, and that his polling place was around the corner. He told he was passionate about voting after years of thinking it didn't make any difference, even the local, down-ballot stuff and years when there's no presidential candidate at the top of the ticket. To which I said right-on! When I asked (since he was so chatty) about volunteering, he said he'd been a poll worker w/ his wife for years. He and a couple others sincerely thanked me for calling them, which was both unexpected and really made my day.

Then at the end, on my last call of the night there David, also wary at first, but by then I had mastered the script well enough to stress the word "volunteer" in the "Hi I'm Al, a volunteer from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party" sentence that comes right after they acknowledge they're who the script says is being called, and to ask follow-up "How are you today" sincerely, like I would when asking someone I knew & cared about. He response was about the lateness of call (before 9 pm, here on the east coast. I immediately apologized, but surprisingly we still was wanted to talk. When asked about his support for Joe & Kamala, he told that he was an independent, but was definitely voting for Biden. "I'm going do the right thing" as he put it. Then, unbidden, he launched into a speech about how despite being conservative socially, fiscally and otherwise, that he just couldn't understand how intelligent, educated people could support Trump, when he's clearly so incompetent. Oh, and sure he was telling all friends the same thing, and was thinking of volunteering. Phew! For my part, as a reward, I suppose for listening patiently, I got to inform him of something he didn't know, namely that this year in PA one can vote early.

That's my story of tonight's adventure in phone-banking.


My SwingLeft VotePA Phone Banking Experience Tonight

Let me begin w/ a confession that this was just my second night of phone banking in this cycle. I'm not really much for this sort of thing. As a yankee, it strikes me a somewhat pushy, and I've always hated being on the receiving end of cold-calls. Previous experience had also not proven to be much fun. But times being what they are, and after reading an account someone posted of their experience doing it, I figured I had to get off my ass and help out w/ the all important task GOTV. Better late than never, right?

So, I swung over to Swingleft and chose PA, cuz being from Vermont it seemed like the most important state for Joe that was relatively close to home. Besides, I was born there, and later lived there for year or so after college, so I have some connections.

The evening started w/ a kick-off Zoom meeting that included the Northeast volunteer coordinator for Joe, accompanied by Crooked Media co-founded and former Barack & Hillary staffer & speech writer, Jon Lovett. They were both actually pretty inspiring and funny. So, off I went to Truetalk-land and the call queue...

An hour or so later, needed a break. What an intense and draining, but ultimately rewarding experience it was. More answering machines and hang-ups than people who wanted to talk, and those who did were not always happy to do so. One man was pretty hostile. He didn't cuss me out, but he was pissed. How dare I call on a night like this when our President was in the hospital? He was quite clear he would never vote for a Democrat. I managed to remain curt but calm and polite. Another when given the scripted prompt that "I understand you support Joe & Kamala" replied "how do you know that!?" To which I could only think to reply, "well, it's what my screen is telling me".

As I kept going, I learned the hard way by trial and error to internalize the script, work hard to get the person's first name right on the first try, and stay calm while navigating the script buttons, prompts & response codes. This effort was made worthwhile by even a few touching calls.

There was the old man who answered, and when I asked if -insert woman's name- was available, he asked who I was. When I identified myself and my purpose, he quickly said, oh my wife I already voted. I then asked him, as instructed, to give me 3 names of others he could get vote, too. To which he explained that they live on a farm on top of hill, in a remote place and are eighty, so I'd just have to be content w/ their 2 votes, adding, "don't worry, it's already 2 to nothing for our side". To which the was nothing to do but chuckle, thank and wish him well.

Another woman was very patient w/ me as I fumbled w/ the iwillvote.com website trying to get her the location of her local polling station, after explaining that these places have a tendency to change these days. (Note to self, practice these thing a little ahead of time, next time.) In the end, sure enough, it turned out that her polling place had indeed been moved from where she was used to it being so lo these many years. So, it seems I may have actually help one person to get to the polls. Well, maybe 2 because she did say her daughter would join her.

I realized, in way that for some reason I hadn't before, that calling people is very personal thing to do. It's intimate, immediate and in the moment, exhilarating and exhausting all at once. I think I'm hooked! Tomorrow I'll copy down the Truecall login creds so that when I get logged out by the system after a short break I can get back (oops). Thanks for listening, I guess I really had to vent.

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