County Democratic Parties: Don’t Let Volunteers Waste Their Time on Useless Activities

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Lots of old-school political volunteers get it in their heads that the election activities they’ve always done are the most effective things. Lit-drops, driving around putting yard signs on highway medians, standing at the polls distributing party literature on Election Day – none of these things are effective uses of anyone’s time. Obviously you’d rather have a volunteer do these things for you than not do anything. But some people are reasonable and open to persuasion that doing something different from what they’ve always done would be more helpful to their favorite candidate.

Just to amplify Gort’s point, Democratic County heads should specifically try to minimize the amount of time volunteers are wasting at the polls:

What a waste of time. For the most part people going to vote have their minds made up so somebody handing a card in front of the voting place is not going to persuade them. A better use of volunteers is to identify your voters and make sure they get to the polls. Call them , give them a ride or whatever it takes.

The only poll worker that matter’s is the candidate in a local election but that could cut both ways . A few years ago I was impressed by a School Board candidate that I met on the way in and voted for the guy. The flip side is I talked to a candidate for a local office and he was clueless so I didn’t vote for him.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

5 Responses to County Democratic Parties: Don’t Let Volunteers Waste Their Time on Useless Activities

  1. Pingback: 10/28 Morning Buzz | PoliticsPA

  2. You need volunteers to be at the Polls to serve as Poll Watchers during the election and to observe the vote count. You need people to work as Judges of the Election, Poll Mechanics, Poll Inspectors for both Parties, Constables as well as Electioneering outside the Poll passing out sample ballots. I have seen candidates and committeepeople get people to switch the vote. Some people regardless of party registration are clueless because the local MSM doesn’t cover the down ticket candidates and local, municipal and State elected office positions. They are simply not doing their job. Every bit helps before the election and at the election. More and more people are splitting their ticket and writing in the candidates of their choice. I wouldn’t discount people at the polls, phone banking or canvassing. The research has shown, phone calling, direct mail, door to door canvassing of at least three points of content with a voter, especially the “swing voter”, can make a difference in an election, any election, Presidential or “off year” election. All it takes is 50% plus 1 to win. GOTV. Democracy is not a spectator sport, its a participatory sport. Get involved, volunteer. It can make a difference. Never underestimate what the power of a small group of people can do. It is the only thing that has in the United States.

  3. I agree with Paul in having doubts about the post.

    Canvassing door-to-door where feasible is probably the most important, and volunteers can help stretch candidates’ time and coverage.

    Calling voters on election day, fine, and better if one is poll-watching to actually know who has voted. Calling SuperDems on election day is unproductive, since they always vote.

    Yard signs have an impact on public perception; an outnumbered candidate can look like a loser. Voters also react to name recognition. The Obama campaigns didn’t care about yard signs, but he already had some name recognition, as I recall.

    Think about the next election too. Greeters at the polls are fortifying relationships, fending off the other side, looking for enthusiasts and future volunteers, meeting new neighbors, talking about our issues to anyone willing.

    It’s also good for voters to know we are there at the polls, care whether they are there, and know who they are.

    Volunteers who help in any way are getting trained and enculturated in political life, and also starting to extend those vital party networks.

  4. Matt Thomas says:

    On wasting time…
    Why should anyone care about “party activities” carried on by hacks living off a county’s treasury with the guarantee of a perpetual job and served by volunteers who are either in hope in of a job themselves or haven’t yet figured out they’re being had by a duplicitous politician knowing one’s first name, while following up with a hand shake or pat on the back.
    This is one of the reasons why voters (whatever their registration) see both the Democratic and Republican parties as best serving their own inside players rather than the broader party membership, to say nothing of the general population.
    Hence, the growth of independent registrations in Pennsylvania which now exceed one million, while major party registrations continue a slow decline. Further troubling are the stats on states with open primaries, these originally fueled by independents and for the most part, benefiting the right.

  5. Ed H. says:

    As someone who gives out the sample ballot and gets asked who to support by Democratic voters, I’d say that many of the activities being disparaged can have a positive effect for candidates.