11 Oct


I was nervous as I set out to canvass on behalf of a ballot measure. Talking to strangers is not something this introvert enjoys. And yet, there I was, on a beautiful Fall afternoon, walking around a suburban neighborhood, pamphlets in hand.

Things have gone hi-tech since I’d last done anything like this. There is a smart phone app. I don’t actually have a smart phone, but hey had extras for the luddites who come to help. The machinery they have in place is amazing. I was given a paper map, but all the addresses were up loaded into the app, as were the names and ages of the people whose privacy I was about to invade.

Because I went right after school, no one was home at many of the houses I approached. I was extremely nervous when the first door opened, but the nice older gentleman there told me he and his wife were voting in favor of the measure. Whew!I told him he was my first contact and thanked him for making it easy.

Some people were noncommittal.  An elderly woman spoke to me from behind a closed door. One man said he worked for a university, knew a lot about the measure, but was torn because he could see both sides. We didn’t get a chance to talk long because a visitor he’d been expecting arrived. I think he opened the door expecting me to be her.

The toughest, and longest, conversation was with an older gentleman who wanted me to explain how this wasn’t a sales tax. I had the talking points I’d been given and did the best I could. I think, at best, I moved him from a NO to a MAYBE.

The most disappointing moment was when I arrived at the home of Oregon’s Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, who also happens to be running for Secretary of State. I really wanted him to be home, but no one was there. As I did with all the other homes I visited where no one answered the door, I left the literature I was distributing. I was tempted to write  “I’m voting for you!” on the pamphlet, but didn’t.

As with many things, I grumbled and worried before beginning. As I wrapped things up and headed back to my car, I felt proud that I’d overcome my anxieties about talking to stingers, and I hope, done my bit. I still have a little bit to do.

As much as I hate political calls this season, I will be manning phones on Monday, November 7th. Oregon is a vote by mail state. You can mail in your ballot as soon as you have filled it out or drop it off at a number of locations. I usually drop mine at my local library. The good thing about this event is that my job won’t be to advocate for anything, I simply have to call people and remind them to turn in their ballots. I think that should be easy enough to do.


9 Responses to “Canvassing”

  1. elsie October 11, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    I commend you for getting out there to educate people on an issue! It must be really important if it sent you out canvassing. I hope it will go well for you.

  2. lindabaie October 11, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    I think it’s great that you did this canvassing for a special ballot measure. I would be anxious too, but it sounds as if it goes okay. I think we’ll get our ballots next week, & I’ve received lots of election materials. What an election time this has been!

  3. Tara Smith October 11, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    How fabulous that you are out there in this election season, being a responsible and engaged citizen.

  4. marc-aureled October 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    I admire your commitment to the political process! While I am happy to talk to people I know about the issues, I haven’t had the courage to canvass on an issue.

  5. Amy Warntz October 11, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

    What a great to demonstrate how wonderful our democracy is. You should feel very proud of yourself and the professional manner in which you have supported our right to vote and the political campaign.

  6. Jennifer Laffin October 11, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    Good for you for being so brave to go door to door in this crazy election season! I admire your civic determination!

  7. franmcveigh October 11, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    I’ve done two nights of phone calling and have more scheduled. I can’t do the “door to door” part as it creates too much stress. There are MANY tasks and something can be “customized” to fit a volunteer.

  8. carwilc October 11, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    Hurray for you! I think I would have a hard time going door to door. I could do the call people and remind them to vote though. Reading your piece makes me think I should volunteer for something!

  9. Brian Rozinsky October 11, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

    Thanks for stretching outside your comfort zone to be part of this process — and then writing about it!

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