Campaign Volunteering

By Leila Vicinelli, Staff Writer

My feet beat heavily against the warm pavement as I, clutching my clipboard and array of fliers, walked up to and rang yet another doorbell and waited on the welcome mat. It was a hot August afternoon, and I was canvassing in Newton for Joe Kennedy’s campaign for United States Congress. I visited around thirty homes that day, meeting over thirty different people – all strangers – and at each house, I asked the same question: “Can we count on your vote for Joe Kennedy?”

        Before leaving the Newton headquarters, I took a script, informational pamphlets, an address list, and a printed Google map.  Although all volunteers are told to stick strictly to the typed conversation on the script, it soon became difficult to use only the mechanical, rigid dialogue. I found myself straying from the standard discussion of “Who will you be voting for in the Democratic primary? Are there are any issues that you are most concerned with?” and began discussing, with absolute strangers, why I was spending my final weeks of summer volunteering for a political campaign when I am not even old enough to vote. I talked about Kennedy’s plans for the economy, his hopes to create jobs and rebuild the middle class, his interest in finding renewable energy sources, and his dedication to providing a first-rate education to each child in the fourth district. To those whom I could not sway to vote even after much debate, I simply said, “Thank you very much for your time; have a nice evening” and continued on to the next house.

        As Winsor high schoolers, many of us follow the political goings on not only of the current presidential campaigns but also of the local Massachusetts government. It may appear difficult to become actively involved in supporting a candidate when under the voting age, but rest assured there are still ways to show your support even if you are not 18. Volunteering to rally supporters through making phone calls and canvassing throughout neighborhoods is a great way for any high schooler to help promote a candidate.

Volunteering for the campaign enabled me to help out in the one way I could: I will not be able to vote for the next two years, and so instead of a ballot, I gave my time and effort. I talked to and persuaded people I had never met before, and as the sun sank behind the horizon on that warm August evening, I walked home knowing that I had made a difference.