Precinct Walking in Mountain View

November is just around the corner, and like many folks who care about the upcoming election, I spent this gorgeous day campaigning… for my friend, Stephanie Schaaf. Steph is running for city council in Mountain View. She’s very active politically, especially about environmental issues, and will make a great city council person. She’s also running a very tight ship with her campaign, and has a large, well-organized team of active volunteers.    (22Z)

This was my first experience precinct walking, and it brought back mixed memories of selling candy and gift wrap door-to-door for elementary school fundraisers. Each of us had a list of registered voters broken down by street. The goal was to visit as many of these voters as humanly possible, and to tell them about Steph and give them literature. It was hard and slow work. I’m in decent shape, and my recent travels left me conditioned to the heat (about 90 degrees today, with low humidity), but even so, I only managed to tackle 95 houses in about three hours. There are about 35,000 registered voters in Mountain View. The lesson? You can’t visit them all.    (230)

I enjoyed the experience more than I expected. It was great exploring the neighborhoods and interacting with the residents, even if most of those conversations were thirty seconds at most. The few blocks that I walked were diverse ethnically and economically, which was nice to see. My day broke down as follows:    (231)

  • Visited 95 homes.    (232)
  • 39 people were home.    (233)
  • 6 people refused to talk to me.    (234)
  • 2 people asked questions.    (235)

These numbers made me wonder how much of an impact I made. Both Steph and her boyfriend, Rafael Reyes, who’s also quite active politically, insisted that precinct walking is extremely important in local elections, and that the face-to-face interaction — brief as it is — leaves strong impressions on voters. The nice thing about elections is that the precinct breakdowns will quantitatively show the impact that we had.    (236)