I received a call from a college student today who attends a Catholic school in New Hampshire. He lives in Belchertown, MA and he was calling me because I had called his mother last election day on behalf of Martha Coakley who was running for US Senate. (She lost to Scott Brown.)
I recalled that election day. I was in an insurance firm in a neighboring town and was using some strange list that meant I was calling people all over the state and I never knew where I was calling. But I do remember this woman and recall having a somewhat lengthily conversation with her. (More than: “Have you voted?”)
It struck me that she was active politically but no one had every asked her to do anything more than vote. And she wanted to do more.
Evidently, I had given her my cell phone number, and now her son was now calling to ask me to come to his college (St. Anselm’s, a Catholic college in Manchester, NH). I said I would be happy to do so and he said he would call me back for a date in October.
What struck me was that on Election Day hundreds if not thousands of people call people to ask them to vote, but when we find someone who sounds like they might be a leader in their neighborhood or town, we don’t follow up with them. The Democratic Party in Massachusetts does not even keep their names and phone numbers. The data base is so centralized that people who live near each other don’t even get to know each other – or other voters.
We are missing a big opportunity when we don’t stay in touch with people who want to do more than vote.