Sunday, November 2, 2008

Turning Dixie Blue

North Carolina hasn't turned blue for a presidential election since 1976. We hope to change that this year. If it happens, and I think it will, most of the credit will go to the absolutely brilliant ground game being waged by the Obama campaign. This is one place where experience as a community organizer shines!

My DH and I are doing everything we possibly can to get Barack Obama elected. We walked a precinct for hours Saturday, knocking on doors, talking to voters at home and on the street. We approached a huge church gathering in the park. When the minister saw our Obama literature, he handed the microphone to my DH and invited him to speak. His first words? "How many of you have already voted?" The show of hands was overwhelming.

When I last walked a precinct, in the battle between Harvey Gantt and the late Jesse Helms, I came home frustrated. Apathy was everywhere, with many citizens not even registering to vote. Not this year! Of voters who were home, 100% supported Barack Obama and more than half had already voted.

We were impressed by the precinct packet we were given early Saturday. This is a campaign versed in and taking advantage of IT. Our lists included voters' names, sex and ages. Computer-generated voter lists were bar-coded to allow for rapid tallies. Headquarters was overrun by up-beat volunteers - each anxious to do his/her part in making history.

North Carolina just finished two weeks of heavy early voting. Election officials extended voting by four hours Saturday, cutting off lines at 5 p.m. Those who were in line at that time were allowed to vote, with the last doing so at about 10 p.m. This morning's Charlotte Observer reports 2.5 million - 41% of the state's registered voters - have already voted.

The following percentage of each party's electorate has voted early:

Unaffiliated 31.31%
Republican 33.18%
Libertarian 43.65%
Democratic 44.34%

This overwhelming turnout is unprecedented. I have to believe it favors Barack Obama.

The Daily Kos reported Sunday:

Blacks made up 29.94% of the Saturday final day total of 202,854 voters at 337 sites, up from the 25.20% who early voted Friday. Both numbers exceed the 21.6% of registered voters who are Black. Two heavily Democratic counties in the Research Triangle area outperformed even that. Durham County (2004 Kerry 68%, Bush 31%) saw 97,697 early voters, 87.5% of the 2004 turnout, while Chapel Hill's Orange County (2004 Kerry 67%, Bush 32%) had 51,964 early votes, 78.6% of the total 2004 vote. Wake County (Raleigh) had 251,034 vote early, 70% of 2004 total.

I'm scheduled to canvas again tomorrow, and will probably put in a few more hours today. Can we turn Dixie BLUE? YES WE CAN!!!


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