Friday, July 14, 2006

¿Me puede oír usted ahora? ¡Bueno!

The Fort Bend Democratic headquarters is getting a bit crowded. It the base of operations for five county campaigns: Neeta Sane for County Treasurer, Albert Hollan for District Judge, Rudy Velasquez for County Court at Law, Veronica Torres for District Clerk, and Farhan Shamsi for JP.

In addition, we share the office with Lampson's Fort Bend staff, plus their amazing army of interns made up of CD-22 area college kids on summer vacation. About a month and a half ago, we set up a multi-line Vonage phone bank system and found an awesome closeout deal on headset phones for $9.99. Now we have interns on headsets tucked into every quiet area we can find, forming a soft multi-tonal chorus of young chipper voices talking about the federal budget. And on the computers, you hear the persistent beeps of the laser bar code readers, the printing of more call and walk lists...Every now and then, I have to step outside to avoid being lulled into a hypnotic trance. It's like some weird Nick Lampson siren song: Suddenly I am uncontrollably hungry for sound fiscal policy.

If we added Spanish to the air, the noise would be dizzying. That's one of the reasons I have launched a phone-at-home program with Spanish speakers aimed into Richmond / Rosenberg. This will be the first time local Democrats have ever made targeted bilingual calls to Hispanic voters. Using the VAN database, I first generate a list of Democratic primary voters in a certain precinct. These folks are contacted, and we solicit them to make a few calls for us, usually between 20-50.

I can then generate a list of registered Hispanic voters in that precinct. I then subtract any voters who voted in the '06 primary or '04 general election. I am left with a list of approximately 100-300 Hispanic voters per precinct who are not going to the polls. In most election cycles, this list would be unimportant. The CW is that if they didn't vote in the previous election, it will be difficult to get them to vote in this election. However, the GOP has launched a more-than-rhetorical attack on the Hispanic community this year, making these voters unusually ripe for "activation."

The bar codes keep all our efforts coordinated, and each series of voter contacts in a precinct becomes a smaller net with each cast. We will be ending July with more data than we've been used to having in October.

If you are or you know a Spanish speaker willing to make a few calls, please get in touch with me. Our office number is 281-238-9006. I can email as big or small a list as you can handle, as well as the script and candidate info.


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