Get-Out-The-Vote Campaigners Offer Their Insight

Across the country, there are small armies of volunteers whose sole purpose has been to get out the vote. Dusty Kline of Lancaster, Ohio, who's canvassing for John McCain, Donna Grantinetti who's hitting the Pittsburgh suburbs for Barack Obama, Michele Boyer and her daughter, Nicole, who are working the phone banks for the GOP in Indianapolis, and and John Tull, who's been canvassing in Reno, Nev., for Barack Obama, offer their insight.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From voters to volunteers now, campaign workers trying to get every last voter to the polls. We called a few volunteers in some of the most competitive states today to find out how things are going. And we started in Lancaster, Ohio. It's about 30 miles southeast of Columbus. That's where Dusty Kline was canvassing neighborhoods for the Republican ticket.

Mr. DUSTY KLINE (Republican Volunteer): We get a lot of people that don't answer the door, a lot of people that say they're voting for John McCain-Sarah Palin, and occasionally, we get some supporters for the other side.

BLOCK: What do you do if somebody says, you know, I just don't really feel like voting today, or I'm really busy. What's your sell to them?

Mr. KLINE: Well, my sell is, it is the important, most important election than any of us are going to vote in in our lifetime. I really believe that.

BLOCK: How long are you going to be out there today, Mr. Kline?

Mr. KLINE: As long as it takes. I've got 120 homes to hit here this morning, and then I'm going to go back to Republican headquarters, and I'm going to get on the phone bank, and we're going to be talking to people on the west coast until eight, nine o'clock tonight.

BLOCK: Are you running into an Obama counterpart as you're making your way around the neighborhood today?

Mr. KLINE: You know, it's funny you ask that. I saw one on my way here. There are some of those folks out this morning, just like us.

BLOCK: Well, Mr. Kline, thanks a lot.

Mr. KLINE: OK, thank you.

Ms. DONNA GRANTINETTI (Republican Volunteer): Hi. My name is Donna Grantinetti. I'm from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a suburb called Mount Lebanon. Right now, I'm out canvassing.

BLOCK: Well, why was this important for you to spend time today knocking on doors there in Mount Lebanon?

Ms. GRANTINETTI: I just think this is such an important election, and I really do believe in Senator Obama.

BLOCK: Well, apart from, you know, knocking on doors and urging people to vote, what else can you do if they are having some trouble making it to the polls? Is there anything else you can offer them, a ride, child care, an umbrella or anything like that?

Ms. GRANTINETTI: Well, everything like that. We have an 800 number to call, and we've gotten questions about, you know, am I registered, or I haven't voted in so many years, and we were able to call that 800 number and get the answers. You know, I think it really does - the knocking on doors does help, you get those ones that you get the door slammed in your face, but then the next door you go to somebody is really nice, and they're a supporter and so that gets you motivated to keep going.

BLOCK: Well, Ms. Grantinetti, thanks very much. Good to talk to you.

Ms. GRANTINETTI: Oh, thank you so much.

Ms. MICHELE BOYER (Republican Volunteer): My name is Michele Boyer and I'm from Indianapolis, and we are down here doing phone banks for Get Out To Vote for Governor Mitch Daniels and John McCain for president.

BLOCK: And how many numbers do you figure you've dialed so far?

Ms. BOYER: Between me and my four daughters, we've probably done about 600.

BLOCK: Ms. Boyer, would you mind passing the phone to one of your daughters?

Ms. BOYER: Oh, sure, just a moment.

Ms. NICOLE BOYER (Republican Volunteer): Hello?

BLOCK: Hi. Which Boyer is this?

Ms. NICOLE BOYER: This is Nicole.

BLOCK: And Nicole, how old are you?

Ms. NICOLE BOYER: I'm 18 - or 19, I'm sorry.

BLOCK: Nineteen, you forgot.

Ms. NICOLE BOYER: (unintelligible) since my birthday so.

BLOCK: So, this is your first election?

Ms. NICOLE BOYER: Yeah.

BLOCK: And it's kind of a family affair, I guess.

Ms. NICOLE BOYER: Yeah, we've been - my mom used to go around and canvas neighborhoods with me in a baby stroller and stuff. So, when we have candidates that stand out for what we believe in, then we've always been told that it's good to work for them, to help them get elected.

BLOCK: Well, good luck with the rest of your calling and all of your efforts today.

Ms. NICOLE BOYER: All right. Great!

BLOCK: That was 19-year-old Nicole Boyer and her mother Michelle campaigning at Republican headquarters in Indianapolis today. And now we go west to Reno, Nevada and to Obama campaign volunteer John Tull. And John, tell me about your day so far.

Mr. JOHN TULL (Democratic Volunteer): Today I got up, didn't join the early crowd at six AM who were putting information on doors. Instead, I did the nine o'clock canvassing.

BLOCK: Well, what's the - what's been the high point for you today, or maybe there's been a low point?

Mr. TULL: High point was just being able to get out in my own neighborhood and bump into some of the people that I see and a few that I know, and to find out that they've just gone and voted for Barack Obama and being able to check them off the list. The low point is when you knock on the door, and you realize you've just woke up the husband who's in a robe, and he slams the door on you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: I see.

Mr. TULL: That sometimes happens.

BLOCK: And that's happened to you?

Mr. TULL: Yes, it actually did happen today, and I felt pretty bad about it. But you know, you move on.

BLOCK: Well, John, at the end of the day, when you've knocked on your very last door, what are you going to do?

Mr. TULL: I am going to go home and celebrate with my two young daughters, and my wife as we watch the election returns. And I'm feeling quite confident that this one will be a celebration of happiness not of sorrow. We've been trained a bit over the last several election cycles to expect the worst. But I'm feeling really good.

BLOCK: Well, John Tull, good to talk to you. Thanks so much.

Mr. TULL: Thank you, Melissa.

BLOCK: Campaign volunteers working to get out the vote in Nevada, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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