I woke up at 5:30 a.m., walked the dogs and arrived at the GOTV phone bank at 8:00. Most of the organizers and coordinators were already there. We got our marching orders and by 8:30 the volunteers starting arriving.
We had 100 phones going for 14.5 solid hours. We even had a system for floaters to sub in when callers took breaks, so we didn't lose any phone time. The tech staff said we were calling at a rate of 15,000 calls per hour. By the end of the night we had logged 275,000 calls.
We called registered Democrats in New Hampshire, Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon, mostly making sure people had voted, but also trouble-shooting and giving out phone numbers for voting problems. I arranged rides to the polls for three people, including an elderly woman in Ohio who desperately wanted to vote and feared she wouldn't be able to.
Mostly I did training - lots and lots of training. I trained groups of 5, or 10, or 20. I think I did 8 or maybe 10 sessions over the course of the day. In between training sessions, I'd help supervise the floor, walking around answering questions, helping volunteers, offering water, running around doing whatever needed to be done.
Allan arrived around 5:00 p.m. (wearing his B cap) and helped out with supervising and some phoning. I'm glad he got to see where I've been living for the past few months and meet the amazing people I've been working with.
The energy in the room was astounding. There were TVs on all over, and as the night went on, tension mounted, but there was so much hope.
When we finally cleared out the room and left at 11 p.m., people were gathering at various bars, but I was utterly exhausted and needed to be home. Lying on the couch, I felt nearly sick with exhaustion, my joints throbbing. Watching the returns was agonizing. At 2:30 a.m., nearing the 24-hour mark, I took a sleeping pill and went to bed.
This morning I saw the "breaking news" crawl on CNN and turned on the sound just in time to learn that Kerry was conceding. I ran into the bedroom. "Allan, wake up, wake up, Kerry is conceding. He's conceding!" and then I burst into tears. Watching the concession speech later in the day, I start to sob.
Today I am thinking of my comrades from the call center - June, Betsy and Kate, Ramon and Ann, and all the volunteers I've come to know over these months, people like Alex and Bob and Bruce and Bill and Rita and . . . Smart, committed, informed people of all ages and backgrounds, all giving their time and energy, all working for change, and for justice. Many of them left for Ohio and Pennsylvania last Thursday and Friday, carrying our hopes and prayers with them.
We all worked so hard, and we all wanted this so badly. The only bright spot is that the organization and activism and energy will continue. There will be no stopping us. As we often chant: A people united will never be defeated.