I signed up to work as an Obama precinct captain on a Saturday. After 10 days and many emails I was sent a username and password to get access to my assigned precinct.
The online system lets me log in, but won’t let me look at any voters. I call the volunteer office and make a round of phone calls from a PDF list. Days pass, and my online account gets reset. I can log in and see voters. I record the results of the calls I made previously.
Two days later I try to log into the system again to make new calls. I cannot. I fill out an online request for my password to be sent to me. The system says it found my account and the email address I entered. It was sending me instructions. Nothing is delivered. I try again. Still nothing.
Over the next few days, I get three phone calls asking if I am coming to Saturday’s rally and precinct walk. I tell each caller that, yes, I plan to attend. I go to the Saturday rally and walk up to the registration desk. I am told that there are no materials for me because I hadn’t RSPV’ed.
I go home to try the online voter list again. I still cannot log in. I still get no emailed password instructions sent to me when I ask for them.
It’s clear that the Obama campaign is overwhelmed by the number of people volunteering. At Saturday’s rally we overheard lead volunteers say that the national campaign had written off California until just two weeks ago, so the limited organization and support had gone elsewhere. The lack of systems is evident!
Welcome to the downside of the accelerated primary schedule. The establishment candidate(s) — in this case Senator Clinton — has the advantage of organization and infrastructure. Candidates who are less entrenched — those who “catch on” with the voters and grow support as they gain exposure — have to scramble.
I don’t fault Clinton for having the organization in place. If anything, I’m jealous.
I just hope that the calls I don’t make because I’m fighting the tools are not ones which would affect the outcome.
Now time for me to stop whining and to pick up my paper phone list again.