I joined his efforts on December 30th.
I’m not prescient, and after 2016, I don’t put much trust in political polls. However, the results of the calls I made with hundreds of volunteers on December 30 supported the polls in Georgia showing Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff with strong leads ahead of the run-off election on January 5, 2021.
I spent three hours calling registered Georgia voters, through Powered by People, an organization started by Beto O’Rourke, to increase voter registration and turn-out in Texas. After the presidential election, they turned to helping food banks, and now to getting out the vote in Georgia for the Senate run-off. The phone bank for Georgia was in conjunction with the New Georgia Project Aciton Fund.
Beto kicked us off with a virtual pep talk and training on Zoom. He then spent the next three hours with the rest of us volunteers, making his own calls. We took turns being visible on the Zoom screen, but he was visible and calling the entire time. It was his leadership and example that kept us motivated while calling people who were being inundated with calls from other organizations as well.
My favorite call was to an enthusiastic, older lady, who said she absolutely wanted to vote for Warnock and Ossoff, but wasn’t sure how she could. “My son is in the hospital with M.S., and I’ve been wondering how I was going to get to the polls,” she told me. She was really worried she couldn't get to the polls.
Turns out her son drives her everywhere when he is capable. Since he was in the hospital, she didn't have a ride. I was able to give her the phone number to call to get a ride to the polls, either the next day, which was the last day to vote early, or on election day. She was so grateful, and vowed to vote the next day. I was also able to give her a toll-free number to call if she had any difficulties.
Two days later, on New Year’s Eve, JMC Analytics and Polling put Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock ahead by 7 points and 9 points respectively, as reported in Business Insider. I’d like to think Beto and I, and several hundreds of our closest friends, had something to do with it. The group we called with, Powered by the People, in conjunction with New Georgia Project Action Fund, reported that we called over a million registered Georgia voters on December 28 and December 30 alone.
Using my experience, and that of others who reported at the end of the evenings, I can say I fully expected the Democrats to win. I was only yelled at once, hung up on a few times, and reached a very few wrong numbers. Of the wrong numbers, we asked if they were registered Georgia voters. If they were we gave them our spiel. We sent them a link to find their polling locations. All but one of mine said they would vote for the Democratic Senate Candidates. That person was still undecided, and we still had a polite conversation. Some were sick of phone calls, but still answered to say they had already voted, or would vote for Ossoff and Warnock.
Some had moved to other states, but said they would make sure their friends and families voted for Warnock and Ossoff. Most of them were sad they couldn’t vote in Georgia. And, no, absolutely none of those currently living in other states indicated they would commit fraud and vote in Georgia. It’s not a thing, not among those we talked to during the phone bank. There was no fraud in the January 5th election as reported by Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling, a Republican. He, in fact, believes Republicans were hurt by Trump attacking the Republicans in the state, rather than supporting them.
We also helped all those who hadn’t voted yet to find their polling locations. I texted the linkto the polling locations to a couple of the people I called after the phone bank. We gave everone we spoke with the phone number to call to get a ride to the last day of early voting, and the day of the election. We did the same for the undecided voters, and had I spoken to a Republica voter, would have done the same for them. Beto and the rest of the volunteers, while hoping for the turn-out we got from Democrats, are also committed to increasing voter registration and participation across the board. We want everyone's voice to be heard.
I took some people off the call list, who had already voted, and asked not to be called again. We weren’t supposed to encourage this, but to do it when they asked. However, I offered it to a couple of them who had received calls all day, even though they had already voted. Other organizations besides ours were obviously also hard at work to gain a Democratic Senate. I'm sure the registered Repubicans were also receiving a record number of calls.
Beto was an inspiration for us volunteers that night, as he has been for the last four years. I hope he runs again. Right now, though, I join him in being grateful that Georgia Democrats turned out in droves to vote for positive change. And that voter registration and participation in Georgia increased overall.