Volunteer for Kerry
Details: Short-term volunteers “explain the benefits of voting for Kerry.” Phone-bank workers call swing voters across the country; chartered buses make trips to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. (MoveOn and America Coming Together have similar programs.) Specialized campaign branches also need help: African-American “Sisters for Kerry,” for example, go door-to-door in Philadelphia.
Advantages: If the vote is as ludicrously close as expected, swaying three undecideds in Iowa could actually decide the outcome of the election.
Disadvantages: So could offending and alienating three undecideds in Iowa.
Contact Info: Kerry campaign: 212-764-7104 or johnkerry.com. MoveOnPAC.org. America Coming Together: actforvictory.org.
Volunteer for Bush
Details: Despite its reputation for organizational discipline, the Bush campaign lacks a formal program for sending help to swing states— at least in New York. But volunteers can canvass for local candidates and get out the GOP vote within the state. (A campaign spokesperson vows Bush’s New York showing will be better than expected.)
Advantages: Larger-than-expected Bush turnout in New York could boost his popular-vote share.
Disadvantages: As if the popular vote determines the presidency . . .
Contact Info: Bush-Cheney New York State office: 518-462-2601.
Go After Younger Kerry Voters
Details: The hip Downtown for Democracy PAC is sponsoring get-out-the-vote van trips, departing October 28, through Ohio. Focusing on college towns and other youth enclaves, trips involve door-to-door legwork and the dissemination of “free designer T-shirts, free drinks, political art and music.”
Advantages: Free designer T-shirts, free drinks.
Disadvantages: Political art and music.
Contact Info: Call 718-290-9153 or go to downtownfordemocracy.com.
Host a Left-Wing Party
Details: Concerts for Change offers practical and legal advice on how to throw your own fund-raising concert or party. (Keg purchases, for example, are considered in-kind individual donations subject to Federal Election Commission regulations.) Since Kerry accepted federal matching funds, he can’t receive donations; money goes to the Democratic National Committee.
Advantages: DNC vows to put funds toward winning key congressional races like Tom Daschle’s and Erskine Bowles’s Senate campaigns.
Disadvantages: DNC is not a traditionally reliable authority on winning key congressional races.
Contact Info: Call 202-347-3343 or download “party kit” at concertsforchange.org.