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Young supporters ‘get out the vote’

POSTED AT 12:04 AM ON Aug. 20, 2012  (UPDATED AT 12:26 AM ON Aug. 20, 2012)

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Six hours in, IU senior Tanner Bouchie had made about 400 calls.

Each one began simply. Bouchie read from a script. He’d ask for a specific person and inquire if they wanted to take a five-question survey.

He’d ask how they usually vote. Do they approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president? If the election were today, would they vote for the Democrat or Republican candidate in statewide senate, congressional and gubernatorial races?

As a poll worker for Rep. Todd Young, R-9th District, Bouchie’s mission Saturday was to help the campaign better identify voters. It’s part of Young for Congress’ Get Out The Vote program, an effort to identify supporters and encourage them to vote early.

On Saturday, the Young campaign participated in a nationwide “Super Saturday” competition to contact as many voters as possible. Down in the trenches, the competition took the form of local volunteers spending hours with their ears  to the phones.

“You can vote, and that’s certainly helpful, but you can also volunteer and really make a difference,” Bouchie said.

Bouchie was one of more than 50 volunteers in Young’s offices in Bloomington and Jeffersonville, Ind. Combined, the offices reached more than 6,500 voters, Young’s campaign spokesman Trevor Foughty said.

“We’ll compare our list to official voter rolls to find which of our supporters aren’t regular voters,” Foughty said.

Foughty said the phone banks are run most weeknights and have reached an estimated 50,000 voters since workers began making calls early this summer.

A leader board in the back of campaign headquarters on East Third Street showed “Todd Squad” rankings. There are squads in each county in the district to promote competition among volunteers.

They get one point for 10 phone banking calls, one point for knocking on five doors and 10 points for an hour of volunteering in the office.

Points help volunteers move up through the squad rankings. At 50 points, a volunteer becomes a “Todd Squad Private,” awarding volunteers a T-shirt. Jacob Walsh has made the rank.

In 45 minutes, Walsh made about 100 calls.

He has been working in Bloomington and at other Republican campaign spots for a few months.

“On a good day, in 10 hours, you’ll do like six or seven hundred,” Walsh said.

Sandy Hall was new to polling in the center. She spent four hours there Saturday.

“Normally, I don’t get particularly involved with politics, but this year there’s no way I could sit home and say ‘not much I can do,” Hall said. “So this is something I can do.”

 

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