2010-05-03

auntysarah: (Default)
2010-05-03 10:18

Election Campaign So Far

The last few weeks I've been kinda quiet on here. I thought I might write a quick note about what I've been up to.

I've walked the streets canvassing, which mostly involves trying to find out who people are going to vote for, handing out posters for windows, identifying who supports us so much that they want to help us by delivering leaflets (that's how most people are recruited, I was recruited on teh doorstep a few years ago - it's quite possible your next MP was someone who was once asked to deliver leaflets by a canvasser), and having the door slammed in my face (this doesn't happen often). I also get to see bits of the city I never knew existed - interesting little nooks and crannies.

When not canvassing I've been helping with the distribution of election material. This isn't just stuffing things through letterboxes (while trying to avoid losing digits to the hounds of the Baskervilles - I feel solidarity with postal workers), but as a local candidate, managing my own local delivery network and making sure the delivery routes all get covered (when people go off unexpectedly on holiday that invariably means I end up having to do extra myself), as well as helping out in other parts of Cambridge. I have also spent many hours stuffing things into envelopes at the party HQ.

We also have regular meetings where we call catch up on how the campaign is going and what's happening in the coming days, and finding out what the other parties have been up to, as best as we can observe. Then we all go to the pub. The atmosphere is positive, but as the campaign goes on some of us are starting to feel quite exhausted. If there's a hung parliament, talks at forming a government will be motivated not only by having to answer to the electorate if there's a second election, but also to party workers!

Now we move into the final week. Canvassing has stopped, and we have to concentrate on delivering the last leaflets and target letters. This will go on right up until Wednesday night, then the hard work begins:

My Day on Thursday

5am - up and out of the door ASAP - deliver leaflets to known party supporters locally before they wake up encouraging them to go and vote.

7am - polls open, vote (for myself, naturally!)

7-8am - meet other party workers for breakfast.

8am-10pm - walk the streets, knocking on doors of supporters encouraging them to get out and vote for us. During this, try and sneak away for a few hours to sleep, because I'll need it.

10pm - arrive at the Guildhall for the count.

11pm-12am(ish) - oversee the verification of ballots, during which we'll be able to see each paper briefly as it's verified. As we see each one, we tally the votes for each party. Unless the result is really close, we'll know what it is shortly after the validation step (thus the parties know what the result is before the election officers - that's why all but one party looks glum when you see them on the TV at the counts on election night)

Friday

12am-5am(ish) - oversee the tallying, making sure our votes go in our box, and that they're counted properly. Grab caffeine when able, and in quiet periods, congregate in front of the TV to see how the national campaign is going. Hope that the Tories aren't getting an overall majority, because not only will that mean the best chance of electoral reform for a generation has been wasted, it will also make their party workers insufferable.

5am(ish) - the Cambridge constituency result is declared. Celebrate or drown sorrows as appropriate.

6am - go to bed

1pm - arrive at the Guildhall for the city council election counts, including mine.

5pm(ish) - my result is declared. After this I'm either "local campaigner Sarah Brown" or "Councillor Sarah Brown"

6pm - return home, fall unconscious

Phew! Anyway, must dash - these leaflets and letters won't deliver themselves.