Friday, October 31, 2008

How to help in Virginia

From my friend Dianne Piche about how to help in Virginia:
    I could forward you about a dozen emails I have received today alone pleading for volunteers in VA, along w/ dozens of polls and newspaper articles.  But trust me:  Obama needs YOUR help in Virginia between now and Election Day.  No campaign experience is needed, just a willingness to travel to Winchester, or another hot spot and help make phone calls, knock on doors, and drive folks to the polls.  Winchester is only about 90 minutes from DC, a lovely historic town in the heart of Shenandoah Valley's apple and wine country.  The weather this weekend is looking to be perfect, and the campaign office is in the heart of the lovely historically-preserved downtown. We promise a rewarding experience, AND we will put you up in our nearby vacation house in WVa and treat you to good food, wine and hospitality! 
    Please RSVP by emailing or calling us ASAP or contacting the Winchester office directly:
   Winchester (& Frederick county) is in a Republican-held congressional district (Frank Wolf), but many more voters turned out for the Democratic over the Republican primary in February.  This part of VA could swing either way this year.  Word is that Winchester itself switched sides between north and south over a dozen times in one day during the Civil War!!
    Here's the quick and dirty on why you are needed at this time:
    *  The polls are split.  Some show Obama with a comfortable lead, but others show a very close race.
    *  Whether Obama can pull it off will depend on turning out every single voter possible on election day including:
        - first-time voters, including many students and young people
        - Black voters, who will vote overwhelmingly Democratic this year
        - Latino voters who will also vote Democratic
        - elderly and disabled voters, who will need help getting to/from the polls
        - undecided and Independent voters who are leaning toward Obama-Biden
    * Our opposition has begun their desperate, ugly last-ditch campaign to suppress the student and minority vote, to spread false rumors, and to stir up people's fears and prejudices.  As individuals, we can help counter this by talking to and meeting voters, offering positive witness to Obama's goodness, and helping people exercise their right to vote on election day.
    *  Big disparities in voting "resources" (e.g., numbers of working machines, capacity to deal w/ overflow crowds, highly-trained poll workers, etc.) between poor/minority and well-off/white precincts persist across the country.  This week, my colleague Chris Edley, Dean of UC Berkeley Law School and an Obama advisor, warned about a potential "voting rights disaster.":
    * The NAACP has filed a lawsuit in Virginia, but there is no guarantee it will be resolved favorably before Election Day.  As reported in today's WaPost,
    "The lawsuit... claims that the state is violating the U.S. and Virginia constitutions by not allocating enough voting machines, poll workers and polling places, particularly in precincts with high minority populations, and therefore is increasing the chances of long lines and lost votes.  The Advancement Project and the NAACP are asking the state to move voting machines to precincts most likely to have long waiting lines, keep polls open for an extra two hours and use paper ballots in some cases. "
    Can you join us?  Can you take off Monday and Tuesday?  The campaign has work for you to do whenever you can show up -- whether it's for all or part of the weekend and/or through Election Day, depending on how much time you can give.   Rick and I are leaving Silver Spring Saturday morning (taking separate cars).  We will work for the campaign Saturday afternoon until closing, then again on Sunday beginning around noon until closing.  I will be there on Monday, too.  Rick will head back home to take care of Chris Sunday afternoon/evening but return again Monday evening.  We are both getting up before dawn on Tuesday  to be at our assigned precincts to do "Voter Protection" (the legal effort) from 5 am through closing of polls at 7 pm (or later) on Tuesday evening.   
    We have exactly 5 days to turn our country around.  As my new friend, Dan Tomkins (who is working WVa for Barack) noted, "you can sleep when you are dead." 
    Thanks for all you can do!
Your friends,
Dianne & Rick
Dianne Piche and Rick Roe
301-802-0861- DP-cell
301-802-0518-RR cell


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