Sunday, October 31, 2004

IL volunteer GOTV efforts & Republican sabotage in Toledo, Ohio!

Several Chicago volunteers drove out to Toledo, Ohio this weekend to do all we could to help Kerry in this battleground state. It was very encouraging to see Kerry/Edwards signs everywhere we went =) Some of our volunteers helped post even more yard signs near the convention center to help welcome Cheney today, too. Other volunteers lent a hand with leafletting as well.

Most of our efforts were working GOTV phone banks for Kerry/Edwards. Volunteers from California, Indiana, New York, Idaho, DC and Massachusetts were there as well to boost campaign efforts in Toledo. The local volunteers were very welcoming and enthusiastically optimistic about Ohio turning blue on Tuesday. The energy was high and very positive. The Toledo Blade ran a nice story on the volunteers which you can find here:
I unfortunately was misquoted at the end and didn't like that they used the word "dispatched" since I made it clear that we were acting as independent volunteers going wherever we wanted to, but at least it sounds favorable for the Dems.

The particular phone bank that Nate, Mike from Toledo & I led all day yesterday was the largest Toledo area Kerry GOTV phone bank at Gallon and Takacs law offices. Out of the 8 phone banks that were in the Toledo area yesterday, this one produced one third of all of the contacts made. The Toledo area completed 16% of all of the calls made that day in Ohio.

Along with several of the other Chicago volunteers who showed up this morning ready to have another productive day, we were shocked to find out that the phones at this wonderful location were no longer working. Both the local phone company and the phone systems provider have confirmed to us that the fiber optic cable into the building was purposely severed (!!!) Many volunteers were rerouted to other locations and several also had to rely on cell phones when we found our lines down this morning. We thought it was an unfortunate coincidence until the phone company verified to us that the lines were intentionally cut.

These Republican dirty tactics are just one more reason that we have to give it all we've got in these last couple of days! Get to the battleground states & get everyone to the polls!!!


Saturday, October 30, 2004

Ground Zero Wisconsin

Report from Curtis Keyes:

I'm in Milwaukee with 1000s of other Chicagoans. People are flying in from California, D.C., London -- yes, London -- and other areas of the country to help Kerry win Wisconsin. Kerry must win Wisconsin. Not only will we have an Obama win, but increasing a Kerry/Edwards victory as well.

If you can come to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, please do so. Wisconsin is ground zero. Wisconsin voters can register and vote on Election Day! Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes that Kerry needs!!!!!!

Kerry will be in downtown Milwaukee on Monday at 10am. Free open public rally! Bush will be in Milwaukee Monday too! Come to Wisconsin! Come to Wisconsin! Help us knock on doors and canvass the city. The voting lines are long...up to over an hour. We are getting coffee, seats, food and more for voters while they stand in line. Help with that, help phone bank, help drive seniors/disable to the polls! We do not want any one to get tired and leave without voting due to how long the lines are. The GOP challenged 5600 votes on Saturday, but the court only threw out 39 and dismissed the GOP allegations!

Please respond to this e-mail and let others know that you can come up to Wisconsin. We have free food/coffee throughout the day-- breakfast, lunch, dinner and accomodation for those who need it!

Buses leave Chicago Monday and Tuesday mornings at 8am.

Curtis in Ground Zero Wisconsin. Vote early on Monday at City Hall in Chicago and head to Wisconsin!!!

Last Saturday in MO

Report from Sue Masten:
There was a small group of us leaving early this A.M., but nonetheless a mighty group! I was pleased to have Kay Henriksen and Tammy Mitchelle join us this day. In fact, Tammy -- and Randall Abbott -- had so much fun, they are headed back Sunday! Randall is also offering his legal expertise to MO on election day. And anyone riding with Alecia needs to "strap in" for a fast ride to St. Louis!

There was a HUGE Canvass today. When we drove up there appeared to about 75 people gathered with several smaller groups of 10-15 joining throughout the morning. Those returning proudly reported "It's still Kerry".

Phone banking was done in earnest as well as a coordinate efforts to schedule rides to the Polls. Surprisingly, both the city and county election offices were open today so there was a push to get voters to either office today or Monday beating the highly anticipated rush on Tuesday. One lady in her 80's indicated she and her friend had already made their minds up to take a cab if they could not get a ride. The cab fair would have been quite a lot for both to pay in order to vote but they thought the cost would be well worth it. So do I, but I was glad to offer both a free ride to the polls.

The efforts made on the phone to voters there today paid off as many more than just few were driven to both offices to place their votes for Kerry!! Both offices offered to have ballots brought to the cars of those who were disabled. By 10am lines were forming at sites!! It was good to see to the willingness of so many volunteers to "go the distance" to ensure that others enjoyed the right to vote. And when I say distance, St Louis County covers literally miles upon miles of Missouri soil and the volunteers never even blinked when asked to drive 30 - 40 miles one way to get a voter. Kudos to them all.

On the other hand while making calls it was nice to hear how many seniors had already voted. It was a sheer joy to speak to a 92-year-old man who said quite proudly stated "I voted Tuesday!" Another asked what she could do to thank us for the ride... "Just tell as many as you can to vote and if any need a ride, call us." She did just that. Having voted three of her friends called today to get a ride to the elections offices and all three were taken. More Kerry voters and so many more yet to vote! Things look very positive.

Another surprising event was the number of lawyers who came into the Maywood office this day offering their legal services on Tuesday. This was refreshing to see yet on the other hand it brought to mind the reality of what happened four years ago. God Bless them for offering to protect our constitutional right to vote!

I want to take this time to thank ALL volunteers - for all your efforts whether it be in St. Louis or in and around the Springfield area. It takes time to make time to volunteer. But I have to say, the real joy for me has been meeting so many of you -- working along side of you. Thank you again and I hope to see you again. And May God Bless you and yours in all that you do now and forever. And, may this Thanksgiving find that we have something extra to be thankful for.

Friday, October 29, 2004

85K See Kerry in Madison

Kerry In Madison on Thursday Posted by Hello

Unbelievable! College kids hanging out of the windows at the rally, people as far as I can see, thousands of Kerry signs, what an experience Thursday's rally in Madison was to see.

The national Kerry advance team called us a week before the event to try to pump up turnout from the Chicago area. At the time, they had hoped a showing of 40-50k would make the national news. Instead a whopping 85k turned out...

On Thursday, Channel 5 (to air on Monday) came to interview folks as they were leaving for the rally from the Democratic Party of Evanston.

The ride up I-90 was one IL car with Kerry bumpers stickers after another. We were about forty feet from the stage and had to go through metal detectors to get there. See the pic.

Anyway, when you looked back up State Street to the Capital building, it was an amazing mass of humanity. Awe inspiring to put it mildly.

The thing that kills me about the rally was how the media reported it. Every report keep saying Bruce Springsteen turned out the crowd. What a load of crap! The applause for Kerry was thunderous especially when he served up the red meat for the crowd. People were glad to see Springsteen, but no one drove from Chicago to see the Boss from half a mile away. Why is it the media refuses to believe that swing state voters could actually like Kerry?

Enough ranting, the excitement and momentum were in the air. Kerry's best line was, "This President looked you in the eye during the debates and said how hard it was, how hard it was. (Mockingly) Well help take a burden off this President on November 2nd, send me."

Special thanks to uber volunteers Magali and Maureen for organizing the I4K effort to boost attendance at the rally. Great job!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Meetup Reports

Report from Josh Lange (Goose Island/Ann Sather):
Last night was my first time hosting at Ann Sather, but the crowd was great (just under 30 people) and I had excellent help from my co-host Joey Hampton. This was the first Meetup without Goose Island, but thankfully a few transplants showed up. Handouts were distributed, volunteers were recruited (for traveling and phonebanking). Guest speaker Joel Colon rallied the troops with his experiences in Afghanistan and personal motivation to ensure patriotism and a vote for John Kerry are one and the same. Afterwards, he took questions from the audience.

This is the first presidential campaign to incorporate the concept of a Meetup into its campaign strategy. Even in the primaries, Kerry’s supporters met and strategized with one another, and this tradition has carried on with five days to go. It has been a real pleasure coordinating Meetups with hosts leaders all across this city, and I hope we can use the KerryChicago Yahoo! group and website to keep us motivated and connected, no matter who wins.

Report from Peter Norman (Evanston):
The Evanston Meetup went well--about 25-30 people. Jan Schakowsky showed up to speak. She is always inspiring.

Report from Dan Pawlus (Hyde Park):
Although there was only a handful of us, everyone was provided flyers and information on how to get out the vote this coming weekend. Each attendee was very motivated.

Report from Barbara Coleman (Bucktown):
Maria Mariottini and I hosted the last Kerry/Bucktown Meetup. We had 17 people attend. Guest speaker Dick Simpson inspired and thanked the crowd for all the work we have done. Everyone pledged to do something over the next few days.

There was a young woman who stopped by with her baby; she pledged to do phonebanking using the setup at

One volunteer who is voting for the first time in the US, talked about how inspired he is by the democratic process where we can make a difference, as compared to elections in his native country.

Several people are going to go to Wisconsin over the weekend and on election day. It seemed like everyone was willing to do what it takes in the last days and hours before November 2nd.

I will miss all the comraderie, and I am proud to have been part of the effort to elect Kerry and Edwards.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Freshpaint – I4K Canvasser and Blogger

Over at Freshpaint, Cynical recounts a hilarious story that happened as I4K canvassers were leaving Chicago for Wisconsin on Sunday.

Perhaps the most memorable moment occurred when two buses covered in Kerry-Edwards paraphernalia and loaded with chanting volunteers drove right past a befuddled-looking Alan Keyes in downtown Chicago. (Yes, this actually happened. But he looked like he was used to hearing deafening "Obama! Obama!" cheers everywhere he went!)

Poor Keyes, he just always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. LOL!

Exit the Landing Craft and Proceed to the Shore

With 7 days left till the general election, an image comes to mind. It's an image of G.I.'s from WWII sitting in their landing craft, bobbing up and down, about to hit the shore. Perhaps this image owes more to Hollywood than to real life but it illustrates the critical moment that we're at in the current campaign.

I wasn't one of the first to support John Kerry for president (for that perspective, see Asim's message) but as soon as it became apparent that he would be the Democratic candidate, I became active in his support. At first it was a marriage of convenience: I wanted to kick George Bush out of office and so did Kerry (or maybe it was the other way around). In any case, as the campaign progressed, those qualities in his character that take a while to sink in -- his doggedness, his determination, his sense of judgment and mastery of the facts -- qualities that we saw so clearly throughout the three presidential debates -- those qualities proved to me and to so many others that he wasn't simply an alternative to Bush but that he was the better man by leaps and bounds.

A lot of people now feel that way. The truth is we're winning. We're winning so well that the other side with all its media manipulation and saturation advertising can only muster a tie in the polls. That's bad news for them and good news for us.

The other good news is that as we approach the end of this campaign, what each of us has to do becomes clearer. At this point, it's either work the phones at one of the Phone Bank centers or travel to a battleground state on one of our i4k roadtrips. If that's how we spend the next seven days, we win.

All of our activities have led up to this. This is the moment we've been waiting for -- the final push. We're like the G.I.s in that landing craft with the door suddenly opening up. It's our job to rush out and take back our country.

Final Push

Message from Asim Mohammad:
Dear all:

I would like to keep it very simple. This is it. We are in the last eight days to fulfill our dreams, yours and mine.

As many of you know, from DuPage County, I along with Bob Wagner, Nancy Young, Bryan Thompson and Krystle Newquist have been with this campaign from the very beginning. Checkout the picture above from the initial days of campaign.

We went to IA for the Jackson-Jefferson dinner, campaigned in DuPage and Chicago, wrote letters around the USA, passed out literature, did phone banking, collected signatures to put Kerry on the Illinois ballot, spoke on his behalf to various gatherings, walked the parades (once there were only 3 of us), performed community services wearing Kerry shirts, hosted fund raisers and were part of fund raisers, donated to the Kerry campaign, went to different states as ground troops, attended the Democratic convention in Boston and re-did the whole cycle again.

We were there when the news was bad (and I mean REAL BAD) and we were there to celebrated our first victory in IA. We had a great journey in which we met great people young and old and made great friends. Now the journey is about to end with bright days ahead of us.

In the last 4 days the campaign needs as many people as possible to sacrifice their personal time and go to IA for the collective good. This is the last time the campaign is asking anything from us. In these days we will seal what we all, you and me, worked so hard to achieve, prosperity in all walks of life with domestic and international respect for USA. IA is where Kerry changed the statistical formula about Primaries and IA will be where he will change it one more time.

For the last 4 days of this election we are needed in IA. I am trying to arrange transport to go to IA and I am told accommodations for Illinois troops will be provided by Kerry supporters. It is exactly what happened during the Caucus. The campaign, in its last leg is requesting all of us to put aside our personal lives and help the campaign achieve the crowning victory which we all so want.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

315 Volunteers Try to Save Democracy

Saturday canvassing for Illinois for Kerry travelers continues to explode. Volunteers just keep responding with more and more heart and effort. Today while miserable and rainy over 315 volunteers excitedly boarded 6 buses headed for WI and IA. The excitement brought to Kerry staff and local volunteers from the I4K volunteers was electrifying. Thousands of doors were knocked, supporters were asked to vote early, undecideds were won over and local volunteers were recruited for Election Day.

Grassroots organized and led, Illinois for Kerry is making a difference on a national scale. No top down organization can compete with our excitement or level of commitment. In the last six weeks of bus trips, we have put over 7200 manhours on the ground in Wisconsin and Iowa.

Al Gore was down 3-7% in 2000 going into Election Day in Wisconsin and won because the Democrats had a better ground game. Well the Bushies aren’t going to know what hit them this year, because I can tell you WI Democrats have the largest number of ground troops ever. You are a giant part of the reason why Iowa and Wisconsin will stay blue!

By the way, after the Election is anyone up for a restful weekend in Lake Geneva?

Missouri Update (10/23)

Report from Sue Masten:
Well, it's been a while coming getting information about Missouri from the new staff, but I took advantage of being once again the office at Maywood today. I met with Mark Jones and Megan Hutchinson. Missouri is now back to full production, at the level when Jack Ryan and staff were transferred to IA. To quote the staff, "We were of victim of our own success." But they are back on track.

MO is making about 12,000 contacts with voters each night. This is a state-wide figure. The good news is about 3 weeks ago the Republican National Campaign pulled its money and left only a small ground force, so it is good for the taking. Staff in MO indicate through phone calls and canvassing they have identified enough voters to win St. Louis and in doing so they predict to will MO as a state. A special thanks to all of you who have volunteered your time to help our sister state Missouri in making those phone calls and canvassing!!

Today calls and canvassing centered around seeing if voters knew their polling place and if they needed a ride. Kerry Fliers continued to be passed out. I can tell you from all the calls I made (over 40 pages worth), several people indicated that they have been called again and again, and people have stopped by their homes. Now the trick, as always with Democrats: Get the vote out!!! Get them to the polls.

Today we had a nice selection of people from IL. Kudos to Matti and Dora Shalev, from Champaign , who were actually in Chicago yesterday and drove to St Louis today to work!!! They have committed to work election day as well. Dora said if they can, they will stay from next Saturday until election day!!!

Dan Moore was great working both canvasses and phone bank. I do not know if anyone knows him, but he is a ringer for Jimmy Carter. I had to blink twice when he first walked in the office!! He and his wife, from Decatur, are week-long workers. They too will be there election day.

New comers, Stu and Virginia Jacobson had a great time working hard on the phone banks. They too are considering coming on election day.

Randall Abbott has been very diligent with consistent Saturday canvassing. He and Dan Moore report a very high rate of Kerry support when canvassing. Randall reported only ONE Bush voter in his area.

Volunteers from IL were recognized today in the Maywood for the commitment - which includes driving time from anywhere 2 - 3 hours one way. The commitment has been consistent and very much appreciated. ALL IL volunteers were asked to raise their hands reflecting 1/2 volunteers in the office!! Cheers and hoots and hollers were given to all the hard workers from IL!!

It was an honor to meet Dora, Matti, Dan, Virginia and Stu, and all the weekly IL volunteers and I look forward to seeing all of you next Saturday!! Again, I am in a cast and will only be able to work phones, but I am more than willing to drive others to St Louis.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Evanston Group Brings 100 to Buffalo Grove Phone Bank

Report from Sue Schell:
Greetings All,

I'll say it again, the volunteers that I have met
doing this work are the best I've ever had the
pleasure of working with.

So many people showed up last night after working a
long hard day at work. And, how about that nice
traffic on the Edens??? Made me feel bad for the
folks that make that commute every day. Anyway we got
there and boy, did we ever get the job done.

Byron, the manager of the Phonebank Center reported to
Avis LaVelle that our group had brought nearly an
extra 100 people in. They had the most one day callers
working at the PhoneBank with a total of over 150
people last night resulting in nearly 20,000 phone
calls being made to WI.

And, if you couldn't make it, don't worry there will
be other opportunities. I will probably be calling on
you again sometime soon, but wanted you to know how
much your work matters and how close I feel to all of
you wonderful people.
[Note, KerryNSub are preparing an Encore Performance Scheduled for Sun. 10/24 at 2pm. Email Sue Schell for more info.]

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Kerry Says Bush Had a Chance to Get Zarqawi

There is a must read over at the Liberal Oasis that we need to get into circulation.

Kerry gave a speech Wednesday that needs to be in the headlines. If it gets in the headlines, Bush's credibility on terrorism is destroyed.

Compiled from the Liberal Oasis story:

"Before the Iaq war, Zarqawi was operating out of a no-man’s land in North Eastern Iraq, next to territory controlled by America’s Kurdish allies, not by Saddam."

Our military had three separate plans to attack Zarqawi, but "the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

Monday, October 18, 2004

New Record for I4K Canvassing, plus the NYT

This weekend I4K canvassers broke two records. This was our first weekend to have over 260 volunteers on the ground, almost fifty more than our previous record. The second record to fall was that we put buses in multiple battleground states.

The thousand of contacts we are making will pay off on Election Day!

FYI, I4K’s efforts even made mention in the “newspaper of record” the New York Times in an article about Wisconsin.

In the last few weeks, two-thirds of the Kerry staff members in Virginia have been redeployed to swing states, many to Wisconsin. Last weekend, 200 Chicago-region Democrats, unneeded in their home state, where Mr. Kerry is well ahead, traveled by school bus to Janesville in south-central Wisconsin, to Milwaukee and to suburban Waukesha County.

I4K Canvassers Doing Callisthenics for Warmth Posted by Hello

I4K Travelers Open Second Bus Front to Iowa

What a fun bus trip to Iowa this weekend! We started calling volunteers Thursday already signed up to go to Wisconsin to dig deeper and give more. While Kerry is continuing to move ahead in the polling in Wisconsin, we have watched as Iowa had been moving in the opposite direction of recent. We decide to divert 50 I4K volunteers to Davenport in an attempt to help Team Kerry shore up Iowa, so we asked volunteers if they would be willing to spend two more hours on the bus and show up an hour earlier.

I've got to tell you that I was worried no one would show up earlier on Saturday morning to catch the Iowa bus given the late notice. Much to my surprise, we had a full bus of battle hardened volunteers who to a person said, "I want to be where I am most needed." And yes, this dedication is why Bush is going down in defeat on November 2nd.

Besides a great day of canvassing, everyone had a great time on the ride. We really got a kick out of the irony of the I4K bus "pit stop" in Ronald Reagan's hometown of Dixon, Il for dinner.

And just in case you don't already realize what a difference you are making, here is the text of an e-mail from Eric the coordinator:

On behalf of the Kerry Campaign and the IDP, I want to thank you and all of your volunteers for spending Saturday with us. We so enjoyed having you here. As a result of all of your hard work, we here in Scott County knocked on many (numbers withheld) doors this weekend--the most of any county in the state!

We hope you will visit us again next weekend :)

Thanks again--you really helped energize our existing volunteers and helped us narrow our universe of voters significantly.

All the best--Eric

The photo gallery can be found here.

Cold, but Fired Up for Kerry in IA! Posted by Hello

Lawyers needed in Wisconsin -- tell a lawyer you know!

[If you're a lawyer in Illinois and want to help out in Wisconsin on Election Day, please read this message from Claudia. Lawyers from Illinois are welcome. LEO]
Hello, my friends:

I've just returned from Wisconsin, and local Democratic organizers told us that they need 400 lawyers in Wisconsin on Election Day to help protect the vote in this crucial battleground state. There are fears of voter disenfranchisement, whether inadvertent or deliberate, through missing names on voter rolls and worse.

If you know lawyers who support Kerry (or know someone who does), please pass this on for their consideration. They don't have to be members of the Wisconsin Bar.

Interested lawyers can send an email to, or call 414/344-1511.

Thanks, all! Keep the faith!

Friday, October 15, 2004

400 Volunteers Needed at Largest Phone Bank in the Country

Appeal from Kerry Volunteer, Jim Gagne:
If you can't find the time to go to Wisconsin, here's an opportunity to affect the race in Wisconsin and Iowa without leaving Lake County! There is a John Kerry phone bank at 1275 Barclay Blvd. (just south of Aptakisic Rd. in Buffalo Grove.)

I have been working at this call center since it opened. It is a very well run operation. It is the largest phone bank in the entire country - we have the capacity to have 400 people calling at the same time.

Everyone who shows up and makes some calls will feel like they are really making a diference. We are currently calling Wisconsin and Iowa. You get an opportunity to help win a battleground state without having to leave Lake County! You no longer have to call to sign up. Just show up! We will be there every Monday-Thursday from 6-9 pm. We also are operating every Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00pm and every Sunday from 2-6 pm.

Please come even if you can only call for an hour or two. You will be glad you did!
[Note, a list of all phone-banking centers (together with their location and hours) can be found at the i4k Phonebank Central on

For more information, please email or call 312-832-0220 x234]

I4K Travelers working hard in Iowa on Sundays

This last weekend’s canvass was a phenomenal success! We knocked on 2567 doors and spoke to hundreds of contacts. We also got 251 people to swing from an undecided or leaning status for Kerry or bush to a definitely Kerry status. We knocked on more doors in Davenport than any other office in the state besides the Des Moines office (which is three times the size). On October 17th, 24th and 31st we will be doing another volunteer canvass in which we hope to increase the number of volunteers and focus on voter outreach in selected precincts. If everybody can bring an extra friend or two, we can clean up in Scott County Iowa! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication and for traveling to Iowa week after week to move us toward a stronger and more respected America. The Iowa Democratic Party really appreciates all the Illinoisans who continue to come out to Iowa to help make a difference.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Debate Party 3 at the Firehouse

Report from Thea Turner:
The Firehouse Grill was a full house, packed with well over 100 Kerry supporters to watch the third Presidential Debate. The crowd listened intently as each candidate fielded questions on domestic issues, with occasional cheers and and applause as JK deftly handled one question after another. Once again George Bush's record as president was on the line, this time on his performance at home -- and once again he failed to give us any credible reasons to send him back to the White House. Kerry easily won the third debate, going 3 for 3 against Dubya.

The people at the Firehouse left pleased with what they had heard from Kerry, convinced that he is the man to lead America and back on the right track and that George Bush's failed record on health care, jobs, security, fiscal responsibility, etc., should result in another job loss -- his own! Plans were made to travel to battleground states, phone bank for Kerry in Evanston and Buffalo Grove, and to do whatever possible to give Kerry/Edwards a decisive victory on November 2.

From the Battleground [WI] ...

Another view of last week's trip to Wisconsin (10/9), this one from Jonas Heineman:
Over 200 volunteers piled into four busses and dozens of cars this past Saturday to lend a hand to our northern brethren in what could be the effort that makes the difference for John Kerry in Wisconsin. The second-largest trip to date had the greatest success yet, collecting more absentee ballot applications per person than any previous trip... so many that the folks in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Madison, Beloit, and Racine are still counting!

But we're confident that we have had many absentee ballot applications returned and many more applications handed out. That means the potential for thousands of votes in the bank for Kerry/Edwards, less waiting in poll lines on election day, better paper trails, and the ability to concentrate election-day efforts in areas that need us most.

I canvassed in the 1st ward, right on the Milwaukee/Glendale border after getting up at 4:30 to help with the Obama rally (which many Chicagoans attended before canvassing), and I was welcomed with open arms.

During the course of the day, I was invited into many homes and yards (and allowed to use a restroom), given three glasses of water, a grape soda, a chocolate bar, and 21 absentee applications, my best yet! Even the Republicans and dogs were nice... My conclusion: the weather is getting cooler, but people are warming up to us and willing to do what it takes to win the most important election of our lives.

This effort is of the kind that gave Dubya the shocking defeat in Iowa in 2000, bringing the electoral vote down to the wire. Since the Republicans usually count on absentee votes, they were wrongly confident about winning the state with the absentee ballots yet to be counted... but Gore ended up winning by a few thousand votes when they were all tallied.

We all know how Dubya has made us feel the last four years. The least we can do is pay him back with the unpleasant surprise of defeating him where he needs to win in battleground states like Wisconsin. Karl Rove may play dirty, but we play tough. And we've got the ground game to back up the convictions that bring back our veteran canvassers week after week to help in this powerful outreach effort.

So until every vote matters just as much as the next, we'll keep travelling north to swing the state for Kerry like our lives depend on it... because they do.
[Note, Jonas Heineman is one of our Trip Coordinators.]

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Thank You from the Iowa Democratic Party

via Nate Zeke:
Attn: Illinois for Kerry and Northern Illinois Kerry Travelers

This weekend’s canvass was a phenomenal success! This weekend we knocked on 2567 doors and got 834 contacts. We also got 251 people to swing from an undecided or leaning status for Kerry or bush to a definitely Kerry status. We knocked more doors than any other office in the state besides Des Moines’ office (which is three times the size of ours).

Next week we will be doing another volunteer canvass in which we hope to increase the number of volunteers and focus on voter outreach in selected precincts. If everybody can bring an extra friend or two, we can clean up in Scott County Iowa! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication and for coming out here week after week to move us toward a stronger and more respected America. We all really appreciate Chicagoans that come all the way out here to Iowa to help make a difference.

Nick Antonopoulos
Iowa Democratic Party
Davenport, IA
[Note, Nate Zeke is Coordinator for i4k Travel to IA. Roadtrips to Iowa take place every Sunday. To sign up for one of these trips, go to our Events Page.]

Chicagoland Bakesale Nets Over $1,000 for Kerry-Edwards

Kerry Volunteer Nancy Katz shows how a Bakesale can make a big difference. She reports:
On Sunday, September 26, 2004, I hosted a Fund Raiser for the Kerry / Edwards campaign. It was primarily a bake-sale, with a number of individuals donating baked goods for sale. Our youngest baker was 10 years old. A number of ‘potters’ from the Lill Street Studio donated items for the event, as well as others donated books to sell as well as political buttons. We targeted three States to raise money for ( WI, MI and OH). About 50 people attended the event over a 2.5 hour time frame, including a few that were just driving by. We raised over a $1,000!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Missouri is kicking BUTT!

Report from Sue Masten
Missouri tops the nation-wide contact list on several individual nights last week!! To quote Jack, "It was a stellar week!!"

Missouri contacts made last week hit an all time high of 117,000!!! The week before Jack Ryan was ecstatic when Missouri had 72,000 contacts. Last week alone 47,000 MORE were made. Again thanks to all the efforts of Illinoisans who have graciously given up weekend(s) to help our neighboring state Missouri.

A large group of determined working people joined our efforts last week. A call of thanks has been placed to my good friend Tom McLaughlin for his involvement in this. 68 of his co-workers worked hard this past Saturday supporting the Kerry-Edwards team by knocking on the doors of our Missouri neighbors homes. With continued efforts such as this, Kerry will win Missouri and the Election!

In addition there were also a number of other Illinoisans there to help. My son and I worked a very large precinct -- taking 8 hours to cover -- and in doing so, we spoke to some truly wonderful people who feel it is time for change. Don't we all?

To quote a republican (which I almost NEVER do) "Are we better off now than we were four years ago?" I think not. With just 3.5 weeks to go, lets keep up the pace!

Thanks again to Jack and his staff in MO for being such gracious host!

Monday, October 11, 2004

I4K Travelers Storm WI and IA

What can I say, but you really delivered another fantastic weekend with over 205 volunteers participating in Saturday's canvassing. Rose, the Waukesha Field Coordinator, sent me an e-mail just to let us know how much they appreciated our work. Just in the Milwaukee (including New Berlin) area, we set a “NEW MILWAUKEE REGION RECORD” for number of contacts and absentee requests!

And New Berlin and Milwaukee were just two of the cities where we put buses. I4K Traveler buses were also sent to Racine and Beloit with overflow cars going to Madison. Five cities in one weekend!!!

This Saturday the 16th will be the LAST bus trip where we focus on collecting Absentee ballot requests. We have been asked to really turn UP our numbers out for this last absentee push. Please, please, please consider coming this Saturday to help! We have four buses and need to fill them completely!

And don’t forget the thirty I4K Travelers who kicked some Bushie tail last Sunday in Iowa. They did a persuasion canvassing, put up yard signs, and collected absentee ballots. In all, I4K volunteers in Davenport knocked on a 1000 doors and persuaded over 300 voters. Nathan will again be leading a group to go this Sunday.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Illinoisans in St Louis for Kerry Post-Debate Rally

Hot ticket of the night following Debate No. 2 in St. Louis was the Rally at the America's Center. A number of Illinoisans attended. Here's the Report from Sue Masten (Springfield):
Well, It's 10 pm Saturday night and I just got home! Does that tell you anything?

What does 10,000 people sound like screaming "Kerry! Kerry! Kerry!"? Well now I know. It is amazing! And what a sight to see. Combine the blend of voices in rhythmic chants with signs of Kerry Edwards, Women for Kerry, Nurses for Kerry, Veterans for Kerry and a gazillion waving American Flags, not to mention red, white and blue confetti -- it's a scene I am not soon to forget.

There were two large screens in which to watch the debate a large stage backed by a bleachers soon to be filled with yet more Kerry supporters. Staff workers passed out signs, flag, and shirts. And the people everywhere were polite and kind, gracious and friendly, and full of hope and the spirit which hope brings. Smiles were abundant. And children attending were all amazed, eyes wide in wonder and awe. This was like a scene from the Democrat Convention. I stood like all the others waving my flag, and chanting "Kerry, Kerry, Kerry!!"

10,000 pairs of eyes and ears were glued to the two large screens. The debate took on a life of its own -- its heart beat: the crowd. Everyone listened intently to everything which was said. Kerry was HOT, sizzling hot. He was direct, firm and presidential and the crowd, the heart of it all, seemed to blend and become as one -- all supporters, all believers in the future, in the possibility that life can become better and leaving no room for doubt that it will be better.

With signs waving, John Kerry, his daughter, his sister and Teresa entered the room and soon people were chanting "Hello John, Good-bye George!" And there in front of us, only steps away, was the person who all came to see. And he spoke to us, thanked us, and encouraged us.

Three and a half weeks left to go, lets not get weary, lets pick up the pace, walk another block, knock on another door, call another person!!

Sorry that not everyone could be there - it certainly was worth it all. And thanks to Jack Ryan for offering the VIP tickets to us all. We sure enjoyed the night!!

Sue Masten
[photo courtesy Beth Sands (Edwardsville)]

Thursday, October 07, 2004

October Surprise : Bush Adminstration Self-Destructs?

I don't know. Kevin Drum records a 7-Day litany of bad news for the Bush Administration. I thought, gee, what an opportune moment for all of this to happen. It's hard to deal with BC04 rhetoric -- nonsense mostly -- but it's equally hard to explain why all the bills are coming due just now.

Do we have a friend up there?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cheese Parties for Wisconsin

Report from Sharon Sikes:
The fundraising house parties for Wisconsin Outreach were quickly termed "Cheese Parties." Almost 20 volunteers, from Riverside to Vernon Hills, have stepped forward to host a party to raise money for buses to get our volunteers to Wisconsin!

In September, we raised more than $10,000 and October has a very good chance to surpass that! Many of the parties are also actively recuiting volunteers with letter writing stations, phone lists for people to pull out their cel phones right then and there, and we can't forget such memorable games as "Bushinocchio" (pin the very long nose on the Bush!).

Each bus costs a minimum of $500 and we also send $300 worth of bumper stickers and buttons with EACH bus - we're going to use every cent and more. In the week prior to the election, we'd like to see several buses running every single day, sending our ground troops out, knocking on doors, collecting absentee ballots and getting out the vote!

We will continue to host parties up the the last minutes of the campaign. They're fun, people are thrilled to donate money to something specific - they can see where their money is going and that it is absolutely bringing us more votes for John Kerry!

Email me for more information!

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Monday, October 04, 2004

Gandi Statue Dedication (10/2)

A Kerry Campaign Volunteer’s Account of Weekend Events

by Susan Schell, 9th CD
Volunteer Director of the Kerry Media Corps.

The beautiful Gandhi Dedication Ceremony on Saturday was a very moving experience for all 41 Kerry-Edwards Volunteers, who participated with me this weekend, on October 2 and 3. We were also touched by the wonderful Sunday afternoon we spent on Devon Street, meeting and greeting storeowners and shoppers.

As expected, the Indo-Asian people we met, could not have been any more inviting and welcoming. Were their already many Kerry supporters among those we met? You Bet! Yet, the Kerry Campaign wanted to acknowledge their support and schedule something on this very important weekend, in which the Statue of Gandhi was unveiled and dedicated.

The words and life of Gandhi were widely praised by all in attendance on Saturday, Oct. 2, including Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and many other Democratic State Leaders. For me personally, this day served as a precious reminder of how a man of peace subsequently can influence the world. It also encouraged me to forget "campaign fatigue" and continue to work hard for change when I believe change is necessary.

Continue to Full Story.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Recent trip to MO

Report from Sue Masten (Springfield IL):
I had the pleasure to meet Jack Ryan who had wonderful news to share:

Apparently there is a friendly challenge going on with "Travelers" between states. Missouri won this past week with 54,000 contacts, ousting Ohio. These two states have been playing the ol' tug of war game as to who could make the most contacts - till now Ohio has edged out Missouri, but not so this past week. Way to go Missouri!!

Dick Durbin was in the Maywood office this past Friday afternoon and indicated that Missouri was a "winnable" state. Jack reiterated that 2 new offices sites were opened in the St Louis area and 20 paid staffers were added as well.

IL travelers news. Today, October 2 there were 6 of us who braved the early hours and met in Maywood by 9:30 am. They were Alecia, husband and daughter Sherry, Randall Abbott, John Doellman and Sue Masten. There are 2/3 slated to go tomorrow.

The IL group was asked to canvass some outlining areas (about 10 - 15 miles from the office) since these areas were hard to reach. My son and I canvassed 2 complete subdivision! Needless to say -- there was lots of walking, but we had the extreme pleasure of meeting some very supportive Kerry voters. Of those we spoke to -- again there was easily a 2/1 ratio for Kerry. One young family saw us coming up their walk and asked "Hey! Are you Kerry workers - cause if you're not, you have to leave - right now?" Although said in jest, they were nonetheless very strong Kerry supporters.

News of upcoming events:

St Louis is the hub of activity given the upcoming debate. Jack Ryan reported that Japanese news reporters were already at the office in Maywood this past Thursday and that the office itself is preparing for national news coverage.

There is planned a HUGE rally on Friday to be at Forest Park. Confirmation will be forthcoming -- so stayed turned. Jack states that Kerry's sister will be in the Maywood office on Saturday to thank everyone for their hard work and of course to ask for their continued efforts.

This Saturday, the day following the debate there is planned a HUGE canvasses event. Anyone and everyone is asked to help.

As far as IL volunteers there are so many activities which have been planned in and around IL - that it speaks to the heart of the volunteers!!!

Sue - see you this coming Saturday!!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Over 200 i4k Travelers Head Out to Wisconsin (Sat. 10/2)

Over 200 eagar and determined Illinois for Kerry Volunteers set out for the Badger State from both Chicago and Evanston. At the assembly point in Chicago (Kerry Campaign HQ--57 W. Grand) both a photographer and a reporter from the Suntimes were there to document the trip.

The reporter basically wanted to know how we felt about going to Wisconin and what the Wisconites felt about us. "Do they mind that you're from Illinois," the reporter asked me.

"If the tables were turned," I replied, "and we were in their place, I'd hope they'd do the same thing for us."

The Suntimes reporter seemed to get the point. [LEO 10/3: See Suntimes article].

Volunteers fanned out in Waukesha and Milwaukee. By now, it's a happy and necessary weekly ritual for many of us. In both towns we were doing "voter ID" or in other words finding out who was likely to vote for John Kerry. This vital information will go into lists that the local Dems will then use come election day to "knock and drag" people to the polls.

As far as reaction from the locals was concerned, it's obvious that we are in a post-debate period. One woman in Milwaukee who said she had been leaning toward Bush was now thinking about voting for Kerry. Why? Because of the debate and how well Kerry did in it.

The woman, a mother of two boys, joked about her kids who went to private school. They had warned her not to come out and talk with us Kerry Volunteers. Kerry was bad, the two young boys had told her because he was "going to do away with their recess!"

Doing away with recess! That's a big issue when you're eight or nine years old. I told the mother that one of the reasons to vote for Kerry was that we didn't want a country where elections were being fought out by scaring little boys about their recess. I added that she could reassure the boys that Kerry was a far better sportsman than Dubya ever was and that recess would be a whole lot funner in the coming Kerry Administration. As we walked away, I gave her a couple of Kerry-Edward badges and urged her to vote for our candidate -- we just can't go through another four years, I told her, like the last four years.

These are the kind of encounters we're having throughout the State of Wisconsin -- as well as in Iowa, Missouri and soon, Michigan and Ohio. Coming back again and again on the weekend is how we're going to win all these states for the Big Blue!

There are a number of ways to participate. First, is to come along with us. Visit the Events Page for times, places and contact information for our trips. Second, come to the Campaign Office in Chicago and now in Evanston for phonebanking (evenings, Mon-Thu, Sat-Sun) and call the Battleground States from here. And third make a contribution using the contribution form available online.

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