The last day of election is understandably one of the most stressful days of the campaign. When I was not involved in politics I though election the candidates would simply just sit and wait for the results to roll in but political teams are extremely busy.
Majority of the tour team were assigned into key ridings that our internal polling showed would be a tight race and we were all expected to pull vote. I was assigned to Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill.
I was send in about a week ahead of election day to prepare their local team for the election I mainly assisted preparing what we call e-day (election day) kits for volunteers to use on election day to pull vote. This collectively is known as getting out the vote or GOTV.
If anyone has had a campaign volunteer knock on their door they may remember the volunteer asking them who they might be voting for in the election. Some voters find this invasive but I will explain why we ask. We ask because we are looking for people who are willing to vote for our candidate, we ask so we can collect the houses and names of people who are willing to vote for us then on election day we go back to those houses and knock on the doors and ask them to come vote. This way we maximize the votes for our candidate.
I was in charge of printing all the lists of the people who had told us they would vote for us, break them down into manageable lists for volunteers and distribute door knocks which are cards with the voting location printed on them to remind voters where they can vote and to vote for our candidate.
On Election Day we will leave the door knockers on the door in the morning the follow up later to ask people if they have voted yet.
CBC did an piece that explains the process quiet wel l and it was actually done on one of the candidates I was responsible for during the election Salma Zahid. Below is a link to the piece.
There are a lot of interesting points in the video and I will write another blog post more specifically about the data we collect and what my thoughts on it are.
But back to Election Day, in Auroara—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill we divided the riding up into 3 sections and had satellite campaign offices there for the day. We call them home centres. We then allocate our volunteers to the home centres have them operate out of there for the election day. Volunteers would pick up a election day kit and go put up the door knocks then later knock on the doors and ask people to vote. They would also drop by the elections Canada voting station and sign in as a scrutinizers and periodically throughout the day then would get a list of people who already had voted. We would cross reference those people without liberal supporters list and cross off people who had voted already and re-knock on the doors of the people who had not voted. This would go on for whole day till around 8:30pm.
Around 8:30 we would then send all our volunteers to the polling stations so they could observe the vote count then report the results back to us so we could have an idea if we won or not.
At the polling station I was at I was only liberal there and we have 5 conservatives scrutinizers. During the count we would try to disqualify any votes that were for the opposing candidate that could be disqualified. How we do that is if we see someone made a marking for the conservative candidate and they put their initials somewhere on the ballot I could as a scrutinizers challenge that vote and disqualify it on the grounds that it is identifiable who the person making the vote was. I personally never try to disqualify a person’s vote if the intention who they are voting for is clear. I think it is just undemocratic.
My conservative colleagues where quite studious at doing so, they challenged every single one of the votes for the liberal candidate that they could. This is very common for tightly contested ridings. Throughout the count, the elections Canada staff was very polite and helpful to me they often asked me if I too wanted to challenge ballots that were questionable votes for the candidates. The polling station I was at we ended up winning in each poll which was quite nice and by the time I left the polling station we had already been declared winners.