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Campaign Journal: The GOTV Blues

By Jerry Waxman

*Note: This was submitted to The Huffington Post and not published.

Mon. Oct 20  It’s 4:30 PM and we’re finally ready to leave. We drive to the Citrus Bowl to catch the shuttle bus to the Amway Arena. The event starts at 6:00 P.M. I’m thinking that we have plenty of time as we have the blue reserved tickets. On the bus ride I started to wonder why the Obama people chose Amway for the event. Why are the DeVos family and Erik Prince getting any of my hard earned donation money? That’s wrong. The Obama people should know better. We arrive at Amway at 5:45 and are informed that the campaign people opened up the reserved section at 5:00 and we are SOL. Susan is furious at me for putting her through this.  My last experience with Bill Clinton taught me to bring either a milk crate or step stool to these events if you want to see anything, especially since our reserved tickets were denied. We finally got to a place where we could see the giant screen if someone’s head didn’t get in the way. I estimate that we were about 100 yards away from the podium.

It was impossible to focus a camera on the screen unless you raised your hand as high up as you could and aimed in the general direction of the screen, so we never got to see either Hillary or Barack Obama live. Many of the pictures we took turned out OK. Just being at this event was satisfying and hearing them speak live calmed Susan down and she began enjoying herself. We left a little early to avoid the rush. Good thing too.

Tue. Oct 21  The rest of this week is spent identifying volunteers and getting the new staging areas established and staffed. I was supposed to head the Union Park location, however, because of my two real (and paying) jobs my schedule didn’t allow for that, so, I’ve been reassigned to supervise the volunteers, whatever that means. The big thing on GOTV is to be ready on Nov. 1 for a final 72 hour push. We’ve continued to refine our voter identities and volunteer recruitment is up.

Sat. Oct 25 Illness strikes. For the next several days I’m sidelined with a strange stomach virus that doesn’t want to go away. I’ll forego the details.

Tue. Oct 28  Erin intimates that Barack Obama and Bill Clinton will be here on Wednesday and asks if I want to attend. I asked where and there was no stated venue yet-they were looking for a place. I immediately stated my objection to Amway which she passed on to the campaign.  The rally took place in Kissimmee so maybe they got other complaints as well. The rest of the week I was tied up with business and could not put any time in the campaign. 

Sat. Nov 1   We spent a lot of time at the early voting stations. The Alafaya branch of the Public Library had a line that stretched a quarter mile by 9:30 AM. I had an interesting conversation with a Florida voting rights attorney named Donna who would not allow me to photograph her. She was trying to be impartial and she was doing a good job of it. The office is now totally concentrating on making sure voters get to the polls.

Sun. Nov 2   Early voting is now over. People can still vote by absentee ballot, and in the worst case scenario, we will collect the ballots and get them to the Supervisor of elections, or they can fill out an absentee ballot and drop them at the voting locations on Tuesday. One of our volunteers, Lorna, has been on the phones for over 8 hours straight.

Mon. Nov 3  Today is wall to wall GOTV canvassing. This is strictly to make sure that people who haven’t yet voted that they must vote tomorrow. I probably have over 300 addresses to canvass, but I have all day. Tomorrow is the killer. We must be in the office at 5:30 AM. We’ve arranged to pick up absentee ballots and we’ve also made arrangements to drive people to the polls.


           Barck Obama in Orlando with Hillary Clinton



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