Now that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, political season is in full swing. With November 2nd less than two months away campaigns are buzzing with activity and polls and predictions are dominating cable news. Here at OFA, we've been hard at work since our June 5th VOTE 2010 kickoff contacting voters and getting ourselves ready for the fall push. Just a few weeks ago, we decided that we would use August 28th to test our organizational strength by holding "Moving America Forward" canvasses across the country.
Nationally, we set an ambitious goal by pledging to hit 200,000 doors in the dog days of August. OFA staff leadership across the country talked to their volunteers and set state-specific goals: South Dakota would knock on 1,000 doors in targeted areas; Indiana would hit more than 20,000; and New York would reach another 10,000 doors in key Congressional Districts.
OFA volunteers and staff have been working closely on the ground with campaigns, state parties, and other allies since we launched our VOTE 2010 campaign--we knew the effort would be a test for OFA volunteers who had already been canvassing throughout the summer and who would continue knocking on doors until Election Day as the core forces behind our get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operations. But our volunteers and staff made clear they were ready to test their ground game 10 weeks out from a critical election.
As it turns out, OFA volunteers were more than up to the challenge.
After tallying up the reports from across the country, our volunteers made some spot on predictions--nationwide, OFA supporters knocked on the doors of 200,893 targeted voters. Volunteers made another 168,330 phone calls on top of the canvasses. In state after state, OFA supporters not only hit their goals--they blew past them. South Dakota knocked on 2,200 doors; Indiana led the nation with 23,605 doors; and New York hit its numbers while developing some serious volunteer leaders along the way.
Ultimately, the numbers tell only part of the story. What's behind the numbers is a corps of volunteers across the country who are fired up and working hard to move America forward and to keep us from going back to the policies that drove our country into a ditch. And this past weekend was only the beginning.
OFA and countless Democratic campaigns around the country have been taking the long-term approach to organizing this year. We have been working to build our organizations from the ground up. Getting organizers in place, setting up the infrastructure for GOTV operations, establishing an unprecedented voter targeting machine, getting our data systems in place, and recruiting some of the best volunteer leaders progressive politics has ever seen. As a series of special Congressional election victories have shown in the past two years, this is the type of meticulous, focused, and dogged organizing that it takes to win in close elections.
So while the DC punditry and insiders have seemingly already written the book on this fall's elections, OFA and Democratic activists are planning to write a different ending. We know that elections are not decided on cable news--but in the voting booth. And we are going to get as many people out to polls as possible, even if it means we wear out the soles of our shoes, drain the batteries in our cell phones, and, yes, bang out e-mails to recruit volunteers until the letters are rubbed off our keyboards.
To read more stories and see photos of OFA's Moving America Forward canvass, please see: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/mafhighlights