Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm back from New Hampshire...a reflection on my experience

I just returned from a week in New Hampshire (12/12 - 12/18) as a part of Operation Live Free or Die (OLFD). Here are some notes on my experience:

The OLFD folks are working hard in New Hampshire for Ron Paul, and there is a lot of energy from the volunteers. We have come from all over the country. I met people from Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, Oregon, Kentucky, California, Missouri, Washington, and more! Most everyone coming into New Hampshire end up at one of the rented homes that OLFD have arranged for us. The homes get very busy but it's good to be among like-minded people.

During the week I was there I worked on several assignments. Some activities were directed by the campaign, others we did on our own. Here's a list of the different activities that were going on during my stay:

1. Voter ID canvassing (directed by campaign): going door to door to identify voters' registration and issues that are important to them.

2. Voter Advocacy (directed by campaign): going to specific homes spread throughout an area talking to people about issues that they have said are important to them.

3. Phonebanking (directed by campaign): same thing as voter ID canvassing, but by phone.

4. Business canvassing (on our own): going into different towns and stopping by businesses to talk to the owners/workers about Ron Paul. We made sure only to talk with employees if they were not busy with customers.

5. Posting signs (on our own): we posted RP signs at major intersections of the towns we drove through.

6. Handing out fliers in public areas (on our own): we walked down busy city streets talking with shoppers about Ron Paul. I FELT THIS TO BE THE MOST POSITIVE EXPERIENCE OUT OF THEM ALL.

7. Sign waving (on our own): we waved RP in the morning before canvassing and at night during high traffic times.

8. Boston Tea Party (on our own): a nasty winter storm hit this day keeping many people indoors. The city of Boston was dead quiet but 700 of us RP supporters turned out to hear amazing speeches (Rand Paul, Jim Forsythe to name a couple) by several people.

9. Blanket canvassing (on our own): several of us decided to simply go to uncanvassed areas and go door to door telling people about Ron Paul.

Some reflections and suggestions on my experience:

There are a LOT of people arriving in New Hampshire to help out. Coordinating together is a major challenge. Do your best to be self-sufficient!

1. Rent your own car
2. Bring your own food and drink (some of the OLFD homes will pitch in and cook meals together, but on their own schedule)
3. Keep RP fliers and materials with you to pass out (OLFD has plenty of material stored up at their houses - but some with you so you don't have to go back and forth)
4. I would recommend asking OLFD and/or the campaign HQ in Concord if you can take a specific project and run with by yourself or with another volunteer instead of trying to coordinate activities every day with other volunteers.

I would also recommend helping in whatever way you feel you're best suited to help with.

Bring WINTER clothing - it gets COLD, WET, and WINDY!

Suggestions on activities:

They are all important, but for me I found my best experience came from going door to door to talk with voters in areas that had not been contacted yet. Unfortunately, it is frowned upon to canvass door to door after dark (about 4:30pm), so many people won't be home.

The other activity I found effective was walking busy streets, talking with voters, and passing out information. People seemed to be less defensive and more open to talking/taking information with this venue than any other I tried.

My personal suggestion: It may be just the same to take a week (or however much time you can) off and work on campaigning in your home state/area. Find out how and when your state votes, pass out voter registration, get voters to switch parties if they need to, and assist them in getting involved in your state as much as possible. There is a LOT of help in New Hampshire and we'll need as much help across the states for us to win.

All that said, my hats off to OLFD and the Ron Paul campaign in New Hampshire - great work everybody. It was very exciting to be among the ever-enthusiastic supporters of Ron Paul in the state that holds the first primary in the nation.

The impression I got from voters in New Hampshire is that Ron Paul has GREAT support. He does, however, have his work cut out for him. The Democrats have a lot of support among Independent voters and Mitt Romney has strong support among Repubicans. My guess is that Ron Paul will have a very strong showing in New Hampshire and could very well win the state!

Here's to freedom!

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