Knocking Doors for Beto in Dallas
We attended the Friday morning briefing at the campaign office with a dozen people. This finely tuned campaign machine has been building momentum for THIS weekend: the first and only full weekend of the Texas early voting period. More volunteers were expected throughout the weekend and excitement was high. Campaign staff shared a great surprise: Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke and civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis would be visiting our community outside Dallas for a rally on Saturday morning!
Our first order of business was to get trained on the canvassing operation. The goal was simple: the campaign had identified about 5M infrequent voters in the state that would lean toward Beto, and they need 1M of them to win. We were to talk people through making a plan to vote during early voting. Our training took about 75-90 minutes, led by a volunteer from LA who shared a personal story about health care access, which inspired her to fly all this way to volunteer on the campaign. We grabbed swag for the team – buttons, t-shirts, stickers – and headed out to canvass our turf.
After a day of energetic door knocking, we were thrilled to attend the rally on Saturday morning. Our goal: turn excitement into action by recruiting volunteers from the adoring masses. We made signs to attract new volunteers. We were lucky to witness the rally and to have our very own photographer with us to capture it, Troy Bonnes. I would describe the rally, but Troy's photos do a much better job of that. I encourage you to flip through them, below.
Going to a polling location is somewhat foreign to us vote-by-mailers. There were campaign tents set up in the parking lot for competing campaigns – beyond the legally-required 100 foot line, of course. Candidates for county commissioner and justice of the peace were pulling up to campaign. The mood seemed combative until we started talking to people and learned that they like Tex-Mex and BBQ just as much as we do – and they don't like divisiveness any more than the next person.
We made our way over to another turf and hit the doors one more time before lunch. We had a great conversation with a 3rd or 4th generation Mexican-American man who wanted to know if Beto was the real deal or just a fake. We assured him the best we could and I think we won.
All in all, we walked away feeling like we did some good. Not only for Beto's chances, but for our own mental health and well-being. We want election night to go in our favor, but however it turns out, we can look back and say we didn't sit idly by. And that's “BETO” than nothing. Hehe…
Written by Sylvester Cann, Photographs by Troy Bonnes