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The Best News I’ve Seen All Year

Presidential Elections, Uncategorized, US Politics

This is from Weather Underground’s forecast for Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008.

Election day.

I was here in Columbus for the election in 2004. It was a miserable, cold, rainy day. Brave (and soggy) souls stood in lines anyway, but the weather depressed turnout. And Bush won Ohio.

It was typical weather for November in Columbus, which makes this all the more wonderful. Sunny, clear, and a high of 72. Seventy-two! Amazing.

This is very, very good news.

It’s not just Columbus, it’s all of Ohio. (Cincinnati’s forecast is identical, Cleveland’s high is 67 rather than 72 — still lovely!) And as Pennsylvania tightens, Ohio’s status as an uber-battleground state is reinforced.

Good weather will help the Obama campaign strategy of deploying “line managers,” too. I recently received an email from the wonderful Valli Frausto, explaining the role of line managers (and inviting me to be one):

Based on the amazing turnout already for Early Vote at Veterans Memorial, the campaign is expecting record-breaking turnout across Franklin County for Election Day! This is great news, but it also means that there will be some long waits for voters at certain polling places. Let’s make those waits feel as short as we can – and keep those voters in line and get them into the polling booth!

How? Line managers!!

On Election Day, the line manager is a critical role inside the Obama campaign.

As a line manager, you will work outside a polling location at an Obama Target precinct. It’s a really fun and totally new way to be a part of our movement for change. Handing out water and hamburgers, rocking out to a local band playing a set, and just talking with folks – it’s a great way to participate and make a tremendous difference while having a great time.

And, because of the work you do, people that would have left without voting actually stay and vote. You personally bank real votes for Barack!

I love the idea. Not sure yet if I can do it. (I’ve been sick and am not sure if I’ll be well enough in time. Hacking and coughing and looking haggard doesn’t seem like a great morale-raiser.)

Like the election prognostications, the weather forecast is subject to change of course. But I’m hopeful.

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Notes From a Battleground State: On the Ground

Presidential Elections, US Politics
Volunteers outside of the OSU Obama campaign office

Volunteers outside of the OSU Obama campaign office

I volunteer for the Obama campaign here in Columbus, Ohio. I have been for a while and have watched the ranks of volunteers swell and swell. These days the mood is probably best summarized as “nose to the grindstone” — people are optimistic and somewhat hopeful, but everyone I’ve come in contact with seems allergic to taking anything for granted. And everyone is working their butts off.

I’m deaf so I don’t do the two biggest volunteer jobs — phone banks and canvassing. That works out well because while I’m more than happy to answer questions or debate someone who’s being obnoxious, I really dislike any sort of salesmanship, getting into people’s private space (whether knocking on doors or making calls) to convince them of something. I know this is the bedrock of a successful campaign operation, though, so I thank and admire the people who do this with sensitivity and aplomb — and I’ve met a lot of those people.

Inside of OSU Obama office

Inside of OSU Obama office

What I do instead is various odds and ends. I took my (cheap, digital, low-quality) camera with me on Tuesday and snapped some photos as I made my rounds.

First, I bought a bunch of supplies that had been requested by the campus Obama office and dropped them off. These ranged from chalk and cheap hairspray (a major “chalking” operation was taking place on campus that day as various artists drew on streets and sidewalks encouraging people to vote for Obama) to handsoap and dishsoap.

The OSU office was a cheerful, chaotic place. I received much gratitude for the bags of goodies I’d brought. There were posters and stickers and fliers everywhere on the walls, and food and drink and stacks of paper everywhere on the tables, but the overall sense was of pleasant industry.

Prominently displayed were the office’s goals:

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