ACORN  stands for
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.   This group is a nonpartisan organization operating in more than 60 cities across the country.  It consists of over 150,000 low and moderate income families that are part of 750 neighborhood chapters.  We got involved with them just before the November elections in 2004.  We saw what they were doing to register voters and get them to the polls and decided to help if we could.  We sent e-mail to their Cincinnati branch and offered to haul voters who couldn't otherwise get to the polls.  We got a call back and were asked if it would be possible for us to come up a few days earlier.  They needed help canvassing neighborhoods to be sure that all the folks that were registered knew where to vote and how important it was.  We said sure, but asked if there was someone who could put us up while we were there.  That was soon arranged (Margo was a super hostess).  A little paperwork we were on our way. 

Nancy and I arrived Saturday afternoon.  Our first assignment was to make walk lists.  To do that  we were given lists of registered voters in a precinct, we grouped them by households and then used a map to divide them up and sort them by street so that a team could walk them without backtracking (much).  I got tapped as a computer troubleshooter for problems ranging from a keyboard that wasn't working to a database that wasn't producing consistent results and a couple of network problems.  I discovered that a drink had been spilled into the keyboard so I took it apart and dried it since there wasn't a spare around.  The database problem was even easier. I asked the woman who was running it demonstrate the problem.  While she was explaining each of the steps she was doing she realized what was wrong and the problem was solved.   Sunday and Monday we did more of the same, made up "Vote Today" door hangers for each precinct that listed the voting location that would be delivered Tuesday, and also drove teams out to their areas.  We also made runs for pop and ponchos for the teams.  Late on Sunday the decision was made to cover even more of the city so we had to generate walk lists for the new areas.

Election day we each took a van and distributed teams over the city, delivered lunches, took them to new areas and brought them in at the end of the day.  The teams went to the home of each registered voter left a door hanger and if someone was home asked if they had voted yet, whether they were going to vote and if they needed a ride.   Later in the day we checked at the polls to find out who hadn't voted yet and they went back to people who hadn't to remind them again how important it was that they vote.   We also made sure that everyone on the teams got to their own precinct to vote. 

I didn't hear an exact count but there were more than 130 people on the teams plus people working in the office managing the operation and manning the phones. 

Here are some pictures from the operation.

Office work.


A training session and team briefing.


Teams getting ready to go out.


I set up our computer to show the pictures I had taken.  This young lady, daughter of one of the workers at the center, was intrested in the whole process.

We saw some kids out for Halloween who were happy to pose for pictures.


ACORN is nonpartisan but right next door was the Kerry/Edwards headquarters so when a motorcade pulled up I ran outside and got a couple of pictures. 


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