Phone banks reach out to other states

November 3, 2008 7:20:03 PM PST
As the candidates try to close the deal on the campaign trail in these final hours, an army of volunteers in the Bay Area are burning the phone lines. They're making last minute calls to get out the vote, but not to people in California -- most of these calls are truly long distance.

The way our election system works is one person, one vote, but there's nothing that says a person cannot try to influence many other votes, especially in this digital and wireless age.

On the last day before Tuesday's election, there is no escaping the battle for political hearts and minds. It's on street corners and overpasses. And, for that matter, local voices have extended their reach well beyond the state of California.

"I've talked to dozens of people in Pennsylvania and Indiana, so far," said Shoshana Rosenfeld, an Obama supporter.

Shoshana Rosenfeld, an Obama volunteer at a phone bank in Oakland, spent the day in much the same way as Howard Haberman, at a McCain bank in San Francisco.

"You know I have an attitude that I never want to look back and say, "Gee, I wish I had done something,'" said Howard Haberman, a McCain volunteer.

It's the reach out and touch someone version of going door-to-door. Not only have Californians donated money to this campaign, but now their time, as well.

"California is not going to be a factor. So what can we do here in California? We can make calls to a battleground state," said David Kiachko, a McCain volunteer.

"We tell them to connect with voters, to tell them their stories, and why they connect with Barak Obama," said Pam Coukos, an Obama regional field director.

Volunteers from both camps, no not stray far from carefully scripted messages. They call numbers supplied by their parties. Obama's volunteers even know the details of specific polling places.

"The polls open at 6 p.m. and close at 7 p.m.," said a volunteer on the phone.

One difference, Monday, Obama volunteers used their own phones and their own minutes. McCain's used phones provided by the party.

"We need to push hard all the way to the end and leave nothing in the tank," said Tom Del Beccaro, Vice-Chairmain of the California Republican Party.

Two sides are pushing, the phone lines are burning, because in this election, nobody is too far to call.

"I've gotten calls. And, every time someone has called me, it makes me feel like part of something bigger," said Rosenfeld.

Many of the volunteers in this report have been making calls for months and are making the final push. ABC7's Wayne Freedman asked them how long are they willing to go and they responded, "Until the end. All night if necessary."


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