This past weekend found me driving over state lines to Reno, Nevada. While Nevada is more commonly known for the bright lights, shows, and casino games of Las Vegas, it has adopted another name this election season: a swing state.
What's a swing state? Generally, it is a state that does not identify with a particular candidate, or the state-wide opinion is so close, a feather could tip the scale in either direction.
How Canvassing Works:
We were up bright and early on Saturday morning, knocking on people's doors and asking them if they intended to vote this election. Did they know about early voting? Had they made a plan? Did they need a ride?
Most folks were pretty friendly. Some didn't open their doors. It isn't our job to physically find everyone on our list and make them tell us their plan. We just want to know they have one. That they know their vote will mean something.
There is no such thing as a protest vote.
Pro tip for anyone planning on canvassing: never put anything on a mailbox. According to USPS, “No part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle.”
This would be in violation of Postal Regulation 3.1.3, Use for Mail. You could even be charged up to $300 per item!
Thankfully, every canvassing and training facility gives you a full rundown of what to expect. Not every resident will be happy to see you on their doorstep on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Don't take it personally.
Sunday morning started a little bit later, bringing with it the scent of coffee beans, barking dogs, and blue pens. If you canvas two or more days in a row, you'll be handed someone else's list from the previous day along with a different colored pen. (The colors are regulated by the center.)
You are, then, responsible for revisiting all of the residences you can and mark the boxes accordingly.
This weekend was a lot of fun! I got to meet new people, learn some of the background processes for a campaign, and even saw some snow on the mountains! Consider finding a local canvassing group in your area and help support your candidate this weekend.
Early voting is now OPEN until November 4, 2016! Check where you can cast your early ballot!