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    Tuesday, October 26, 2004


    Last night, a friend told me she was planning to put a sign on her front door:

    1. Yes, I plan to vote
    2. Yes, I know my polling place
    3. No, I don't need a ride

    Philadelphia is a center of GOTV -- Get Out The Vote -- efforts in this swing state and we are being overwhelmed with callers and visitors making sure that we're going to get out there. Since the city is likely to go 4 to 1 for Kerry, canvassers can spread a wide net. They don't have to worry much about accidentally getting out Bush votes.

    And Bill Clinton's first appearance since his heart bypass surgery on Monday -- drawing 100,000 people -- surely energized Democrats even more. See this for a tribute to Bubba's enduring political genius. But see also this for a report on a growing "pro-Kerry" (not just anti-Bush) sentiment.

    The activity this year is unprecedented. In the first place, election officials here say there are about 100,000 newly-registered voters in the city alone -- mirroring record breaking numbers of registrations across the nation, the majority in urban, high-Democratic areas.

    But we've seen voter registration drives before. What's so unusual this year is the number of ordinary people who personally are volunteering to get out the vote for Kerry. Several friends of mine are hosting volunteers from America Coming Together and MoveOnPAC. Lawyers are volunteering for voter protection. Others are taking election day off from their jobs in order to drive voters to the polls or work phone banks.

    When I get calls from advocacy organizations and forwarded emails from Michael Moore, I'm asked not only to vote, not only to give money, but also to WORK.

    My relatives in Ohio and my friends in New Mexico, two other swing states, report the same level of activity and excitement.

    On America Coming Together's website, people in non-swing states can sign up to volunteer in swing states. There are trips from D.C., Maryland and Virginia to Ohio, from New York to Pennsylvania, from Georgia to Florida, from Chicago to Wisconsin. MoveOnPAC has set an impressive goal -- 50,000 volunteers working in 10,000 neighborhoods to turn out 440,000 voters for John Kerry -- and I wouldn't bet against them.

    Sure, there's anxiety about dirty tricks. Even stronger, though, is a sense of anticipation for a shared community experience on Election Day, a shot at making history.

    The Bush campaign also has dedicated volunteers, of course. I just don't believe that there is a matching level of interest and commitment to keep the status quo.

    posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 10:24 PM


    On the left: Carol Towarnicky, chief editorial writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, from a liberal point of view.

    On the right: Leo Morris, editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel, from a conservative point of view.

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