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We are going to call.....

Or maybe we will just stop by.

Most Douglas County residents who are on the mail-in ballot list received their ballot almost two weeks ago and early voting began last Monday. So that means it is “Get Out the Vote” season!

Get Out the Vote, or GOTV, is the most important component in a political campaign. What is GOTV? GOTV is the activities a political campaign conducts (usually phone banking and door to door visits) to ensure that supporters cast their ballot in an election. It is far more cost effective to make sure a known supporter votes than to try to change the opinion of someone who is supporting your opponent. These activities are important in local races and in any races where the difference between winning and losing is two to three percent. The GOP’s much vaunted “72 Hour GOTV Machine” was credited with putting Republicans over the top in 2000 and 2004. In 2010, the voter targeting and GOTV strategy used by Organizing for America (President Obama’s campaign) is how Senator Michael Bennet won the primary over the extremely popular former state legislator, Andrew Romanoff.

Politics is a lot like football. We cheer when our candidate wins a debate and we “Monday morning quarterback" when they lose. We put signs in our yards and stickers on our cars. We identify with our favorite candidates in the same way we do our favorite team. We can visit news websites, watch TV stations and news programs that support our candidate’s point of view, just like visiting the NFL.com or watching ESPN. It is interesting to read the Facebook posting of friends during the debate and during a football game. Some of the same vernacular is used to describe both events by supporters. Whether politics or football, we want our team to win.

So why are people so rude when we stop by or call? Going door to door or calling someone takes a lot of courage. You never know if the person is going to be pleasant or scream at you. I have had so-called supporters yell at me for calling during lunch (at 2:00pm) or get mad because they were bathing their baby (how would I know that?). People have been asked to leave neighborhoods by the police, have had guns pointed at them and never ever stop by or call during a Bronco game!

Mostly, people complain about the amount of calls and visits they get. We know it seems a little stalker-like with all the calls you are getting these days. We are not trying to intrude and we certainly would rather be doing something else, but this is important.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2008 only 64% of the Colorado voting age population cast votes for the Presidential candidates. Not one state in the union had over 75% of the voting age population casting votes. In a republic, voting may be your only chance to voice your opinion on policy and the direction of the country. With up to a quarter of the population not exercising that right, every vote truly counts and we want to make sure your voice is heard. Cast that ballot as soon as possible and any campaign worth its weight will remove you from the GOTV list in order to concentrate on those who haven’t voted.

So whether you are Republican or Democrat, those canvassers and phone bankers are the ground game that vaults your team to victory. Be nice and cheer them on. Consider joining them for an hour or two. As they say in Chicago, “vote early and vote often”. Okay, skip the often part, but make sure you vote!

This article is dedicated to the many Obama supporters who have been canvassing and making calls for months, especially Debbie, Trish, and Signy. Their courage and commitment is inspiring. You can join them and the fun by visiting http://www.barackobama.com/co

Find out where to early vote at www.douglasvotes.com

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