By Dan Syroid
Three of us including LaVonne Maloney, Doug Vilnius and myself traveled to CMU to get out the vote on Campus all day on October 24. Early voting in Colorado runs from October 22 thru Friday November 2 with a gap for three days before election day on November 6. The weather on the 24th was blustery with some high winds that blew our tent away. We started at 9 am with a table at our normal post outside the Student Union building, but by noon, due to winds and threat of rain, had to move just inside the student union where we stayed until student traffic died down around 4. The student union (official name: University Center) houses a good cafeteria and casual dining area that includes deli, pizza, mexican, sandwich and sodas and gourmet coffee. It also includes administrative offices and has high student and faculty traffic. Both locations turned out to be productive in making contact with students and encouraging early voting.
CMU has a modern campus and has an enrollment of over 8000 students. Our approach, with La Vonne taking the lead, was to ask passing students "Do you support the president?" If they said yes as many did, we would pass out a flyer indicating the nearest location to CMU for early voting which is about 2 miles away. At Alicia D's (OFA CO) suggestion, we offered rides to the poll for students, but only one accepted. It is possible that a "ride to the polls" effort with more advance notice to the students could be more effective. Here are the estimates on the nature and number of our contacts:
Total number of students and faculty contacted: 350
Number of Obama supporters we gave early vote flyers to: 130
Number that said they had already voted for Obama: 50
Number of undecideds we engaged in lengthy discussions: 20
La Vonne said that she spoke to more people in an effective way on the 24th than on all her 5 previous trips to CO combined. Based on these results it would be great if we could have one or more trips to CMU during the next few days prior to the end of early voting on Nov 2. Unfortunately, the three of us have other commitments and will not be able to repeat an early vote campaign. However, it would be great if others would like to set up a trip back to CMU. It would need to be during the week since there is little activity on campus on Sat and Sun. I will be glad to supply whatever help, materials and contacts to do a repeat trip.
Special thanks go out to Igor and Mallory for arranging for gas cards and a great place to stay in GJ, to Alicia D in OFA CO office for her help with materials and posters, to Don and Leslie Wood for contributing the $100 table fee to CMU, and to Sheryl and Jim for great conversations and putting us up for the night in GJ...and of course to my great team mates La Vonne and Doug.
Dan Syroid is a Park City resident and member of the Summit/Wasatch Counties OFA team.