11/03/2008 01:09 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Campaign Journal: Phone Banking Becomes Second Nature

Rachel Port is a Grassroots Correspondent for OffTheBus.

Phone banking has become a habit. I just do it.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I made a total of 280 calls. Of the people I spoke to, 80 had already voted. This is amazing. I checked the Pima County Recorder's office, and as of Saturday, 182,898 ballots had already been cast, some 9000 in person, and 173,000 (est.) by mail. Mail-in ballots can no longer be sent in, but can be dropped off at any polling place on Tuesday. Satellite early voting is over, but the Recorder's office is open Sunday and Monday for people who cannot vote on Tuesday.

Sunday was my first GOTV day. I will also be working Monday and Tuesday mornings.
The small storefront field office I have been working in is so busy, we are being sent all around the district. One reason for this is a large number of Mountain View HS students from Government classes who will be volunteering. On Thudsday, two young women were calling other students to see where they could work. They are not old enough to vote this year, but are taking part in history by volunteering. Workers out of the office have been asked to bring cell phones - they are running out of phones and chairs.

Sunday I was one of a few people using a local law office that had been offered. I sat alone in a conference room with a marble table eating pizza and using a fancy phone, which turned out to be slower because I had to get access to a line for each call. Quite a difference from the busy, noisy storefront with formica tables and princess phones. Some of the people I spoke to had already voted. I had three calls today to people who say they will not vote this year. "I don't vote; goodbye" said one woman, and hung up. One man said there was no one to vote for this year. He was willing to talk to me, but said Obama is not qualified to be president. He had an argument for everything including each of the candidates for other offices, and essentially was not going to let me convince him otherwise.

I have been so caught up in this election, I was not prepared for indifference. Hostility would have been easier, I think. I am ready for it all to be over. I can't even read the news these days. I'm in a kind of inertia, either phone banking or at home doing other things. I've decided I don't want to be alone watching the returns. Luckily there is a party at a local hotel on election night for staff and volunteers, which is exactly what I want. I'm still hoping for an Arizona win, but I think at least it will be close. We'll see.