working for obama in michigan

We all know that Michigan is going to be important in this election. We’re one of a half dozen swing states that could decide this thing, and time is running out. With the election less than two months away, and the deadline for voter registration in Michigan being October 6, we’ve really got to step up our activities starting now. We can’t afford to be lulled into a false sense of security by the new Time/CNN poll that shows Obama up by 4 points in the state. The right is too good at organizing, and too good at dirty tricks. For those reasons, it’s absolutely critical that we deliver an overwhelming number of votes for Obama here in our progressive county. It’s not enough for Obama just to win here in Ypsi/Arbor – we need to put enough votes in the bank to erase the inevitable McCain leads we’ll see to our west.

And, as for the dirty tricks – they’re already starting. Not only are the push polls starting, but, according to the “Wall Street Journal,” there’s a movement afoot here in the mitten state to suppress the votes of those who have had their homes foreclosed on. Republicans, if the report is true, would be at polling places with lists of foreclosures, challenging voters who show up with the address of a foreclosed home on their voter registration card. As one would expect that people who lost their homes would be less inclined to vote for McCain/Bush, it makes perfect sense… So, that’s why we really have to turn out the vote here in Ypsi.

Here, in case you have any question as to how important Michigan is, is a message from Barack Obama and our state leaders:

So, with just 23 days left until the end of Michigan voter registration, what should we be doing? Let’s hear your ideas. How do you and your family plan to help?

Word on the street is that Obama’s Ypsilanti office opened today at 115 Michigan Avenue (next to Puffer Reds)… I plan to drop in at some point tomorrow to see how I can help. From what I’m told, the fellow running the office is a young attorney from Baltimore who’s starting from scratch in an empty office. So, if you have desks, phones, office equipment or chairs to donate, I’m sure they’d be appreciated.

And, if you’re in Ann Arbor, you might want to drop by the campaign office there to see what needs doing. The office is at 300 West Liberty Street. I’m sure you can drop in any time, but I happen to know that some MoveOn type folks will be assembling there at 10:00 tomorrow morning, so that might be a good time.

If you’re a Michigander who doesn’t live in either Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti, or can’t get out to one of the local offices tomorrow, you can sign-up to help online.

Good luck everyone. Whether you’re registering college students to vote, working a phone bank, or going door to door this weekend, I hope you have a great experience that leaves you feeling better about the prospects for our country. As much as I hate knocking on doors and talking politics with strangers, I did a hell of a lot of it on behalf of John Kerry four years ago, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life… If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that there’s nothing like walking through your neighborhood on a brisk fall day, talking with people, and feeling as though, maybe for the first time in your life, you’re taking an active roll in the American political system. If you’ve never done it before, you’re really going to like it.

[Thanks to Monica and Dave for the links.]

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20 Comments

  1. EL
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/fundraising/gpgsx8

    Although it looks like it’s going to be raining most of the day, there is Obamafest on Washington St. in Ann Arbor today (in front of Arbor Brewing Co.). It starts at noon and goes for about four hours.

    Beer, brats, and fellow Obama supporters (and it’s coordinated by Washtenaw Dems, so opportunities to see what else can be done to get out of the vote here in Washtenaw will be available).

    They’ve put up tents, so don’t let showers discourage you.

  2. mark
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Word is, due to the rain, ObamaFest is moving inside Arbor Brewing.

    116 E Washington St.

  3. Posted September 13, 2008 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I stopped by the Michigan Ave Obama office today to snag a yard sign. Plans are apparently to have the office open 9am-9pm, 7 days a week, but I’m guessing the current Army of One-style staff isn’t going to be enough for that. If anyone’s inclined to volunteer, I’m sure you’d be welcome.

  4. Posted September 14, 2008 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Ditto everything Mark said. This is a REAL chance to make a REAL difference.

    I saw the signs as I was driving by last week on the very day it opened, and I stopped and signed up.

    This is one election we cannot afford to let slip through our fingers, and no voter can be allowed to slip through the cracks.

  5. amanda
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    so i’ve been raising my own campaign contribution from making and selling obama buttons– and i’m wondering how/where best to contribute it. i’m open to suggestions– but would love to contribute fairly directly to our local efforts. think i should use the few hundred dollars to buy yard signs to give to people all over ypsi? help fund something for our downtown ypsi obama office? other thoughts? i could just send in to the main campaign/donate online, etc, but i’d really like to keep things closer to home… thoughts?

  6. Posted September 14, 2008 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    You should send it to me. I could use the money.

  7. Mr. Money
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    …send it to Victory Center, 2245 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48108….

    …oh, all right, my conscience in getting to me…don’t do it (unless you mean to contribute to the *McCain* Victory Center…….)

  8. mark
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Amanda, I was just at the Ypsi Obama office and I’m sure they could use the donation. They’ve got computers and phone lines coming in tomorrow, but there are still quite a few things they need. I’ll post the contact information for Robert Johnson, the fellow in charge, later today…. And that’s awesome that you’re donating your button money!

  9. not one of the cool kids
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I think donating signs is the best idea. Obama raised $66 million last month, but the Ann Arbor office had few signs and no stickers or buttons, so I think grassroots signs etc are the way to go right now.

  10. Posted September 14, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    You should get the person who made the Mavrick sign to do some designs.

  11. Robert
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The only things that need to happen at this point are voter registration, supporter identification, and getting the vote out.

  12. nammeroo
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Mark – “…there‚Äôs a movement afoot here in the mitten state to suppress the votes of those who have had their homes foreclosed on. Republicans, if the report is true, would be at polling places with lists of foreclosures, challenging voters who show up with the address of a foreclosed home on their voter registration card.”

    Mark, there is no way you spent any time vetting this crap – the “report” was total garbage, and a quick phone call to the county clerk’s office or even the county *Democrat* party offices would’ve verified it’s total crap status. Poll challengers can only use one “list” to verify whether someone is legally able to vote at a particular precinct – the official voter list provided by the clerk’s office! No other information may be used by a poll challenger, and the poll challenger can (and will quickly) be removed by the precinct supervisor if he or she steps beyond these narrow rules.

    If you’re going to rant, at least rank accurately……

  13. Man Behind Desk
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    You’d better contact CBS News and let them know.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/06/politics/main4235328.shtml

    Voter caging is real, and it will impact people who have had their homes foreclosed on.

    If you’re going to comment, at least comment accurately, Nammeroo.

  14. nammeroo
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Just because it is on CBS does not mean it’s accurate. It was so when Edward R. Murrow ran the CBS news desk, and perhaps still when Walter Cronkite was the CBS Evening News anchor. It ain’t necessarily so anymore.

    This crap about foreclosure lists being used to disenfranchise voters got started as a blog-rumor, and was picked up by a number of cable news outlets and newspaper columnists. The competent journalists were the ones who didn’t run it, because they actually fact-checked the rumor before posting it.

    Besides, the foreclosure mess has not discriminated based on political affiliation. There are likely as many Democrats as Republicans (and Green Party/Naderites for that matter) that have lost homes to foreclosure. Get a grip!

  15. Oliva
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Here, more about the voter disenfranchisement strategies straight from the horses’ mouths (attributed quotes).

    “Republicans recant plans to foreclose voters but admit other strategies”

    at http://www.michiganmessenger.com/4231/republicans-recant-plans-to-foreclose-voters-but-admit-other-strategies

    This one, among others, talks about how the practice favors Republicans (by a former Republican operative):

    “Former GOP operative explains why Republicans will use foreclosure lists to block voters”

    at http://www.michiganmessenger.com/4414/former-gop-operative-explains-why-republicans-will-use-foreclosure-lists-to-block-voters

    Thank goodness for the vocal outcry by the blogs and media and some public leaders, which put a dent in the Macomb GOP’s plans to squash/steal votes.

  16. mark
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Oliva and Man Behind Desk, for responding. Like you, I absolutely believe that such things were, and perhaps still are, being discussed.

    And I disagree with you, Nammeroo, about foreclosures being evenly spread throughout the political spectrum. I haven’t seen any statistical evidence to support it yet, but I suspect that someone who has lost a home due to the lax oversight of the mortgage industry by the Bush administration, regardless of how they voted last time, would be much more inclined to vote for a Democrat now.

    Plus, it didn’t say that they were planning to challenge residency across the board for everyone who had been foreclosed on. It’s easy to imagine that they would selectively cage voters based on the profile of their neighborhood. In other words, people seeking to vote from predominantly Republican wards, wouldn’t necessarily be challenged, whereas others might.

  17. nammeroo
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    This foreclosure-suppress the vote garbage comes up at the same time every Presidential election season, and then fades away again. Why? …because there is nothing to it. It’s almost as if the rumormongers that started this each time are working from the same playbook. Ask the county clerk, he will tell you that Michigan election law effectively deals with issues like this. Neither party’s poll challengers can legally mount this kind of challenge (and folks who may unlawfully attempt this (or even simply behaving disrespectfully) are booted out of the voting hall quickly by election workers.

    It also fails when subjected to logic. Voters who move permanently to a new community are expected to register to vote in that community as soon as practicable, but there is no legal deadline by which the must make the switch. Just because someone has moved into a temporary address doesn’t mean that they have automatically lost their right to vote in their “home” precinct where they’re currently registered. Think about college students who choose to keep their registration at their “home” precinct, despite spending much of the year living elsewhere. Also, members of Congress and the President himself all vote in their hometowns despite living virtually for years in Washington DC!

    Don’t worry. This will all be over soon.

  18. West Cross is the Best Cross
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    This stuff doesn’t have to be true for it to work. Just start the rumor that you can’t vote if you had a foreclosure and that may be enough to get some people to stay home on election day, that how it works.
    When we lived in Cleveland around the time of the last election Bush supporters made calls in a lot of the poor areas saying that the polling location had changed, or that the election had been moved to Thursday. Of course this wasn’t true, and it could be easily verified to be false, but it still confused and disheartened people, and I am sure it kept more than a few people at home.

  19. Meta:
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Nammeroo, you dismiss CBS covering it. How about Time magazine?

    http://thepage.time.com/2008/09/16/obama-team-blasts-alleged-gop-disenfranchisement-plan/

  20. Robert
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Nammeroo, you’re a bright person, but you choose to live in your own little idiological lala land. I have extensive first-hand knowledge and experience with the tactics used to suppress votes in heavily democratic precincts. I’ve even attended many Republican training sessions for their poll challengers, and I can tell you all about the methods they use to suppress voting. You should get out of the fucking house and check into it yourself sometime. It’s sickening. I’d be interested in seeing how that extensive rationalization system of yours would work that one out. Maybe you could blame it on Clinton somehow.

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