While interning at the Fredericksburg field office for Congress member Abigail Spanberger, I have learned that there is never a dull moment! Most days when I head into the office, I leave my home around 11:30am to arrive at noon. Once I get there, we have our daily meeting to discuss our goals for the day, what everyone’s tasks are, any upcoming events that we can attend or help run, and conversations that we are having with voters. As I write this post, we are in the persuasion stage of the campaign where we are talking with voters that are either independents, undecided, or have voted for both parties throughout their years of voting. These voters are extremely important to reach because they can lean either way and can determine whether or not Abigail keeps her seat in Congress.
After our daily meeting, I am usually paired up with another canvasser, and we head out to a neighborhood or two. Once we arrive, we park and then use an app called “Minivan” that allows us to see what houses we need to go to. This app also allows us to see the name of the voter in the house and a script that we try to follow when going to their doors. We mainly explain that they are now in the 7th district (this is because of the Census redistricting), and that Abigail Spanberger will be on their ballot this November. We also ask if they know about Abigail and if not, we are more than delighted to discuss all of her positions. One big question that we always ask is “what issue is most important to you?” Regardless of what they may vote for in future, we want to bring their most important issues to Abigail because not only does she care but she still is their Congresswoman until November.
Sometimes, a resident will open the door and want to engage in conversation with us and some days no one answers the door and the people that do, would rather not engage in any type of discussion. Either way, we always leave literature that states what Abigail stands for and includes websites with additional information where they can research more about her.
Usually, we are finished canvassing around 3pm and we head back to the office for our “check out” meeting. In these meetings, we discuss conversations that we had with voters, what most important issues we were seeing, and we are also able to ask any questions about things that maybe we could say differently to voters in order to have longer and more engaging conversations with them. Finally, I head home, and that office day is complete.
Another type of office day that I have is a virtual office day. These days are similar to in person office days but instead of going to voters’ doors, we get to stay in the air conditioning at home and make phone calls to them. It works the same as going to voters’ doors, I have the same script that I read, and interact with them via telephone instead of being one on one. Sometimes I will have callers that are ready to talk to me about issues happening around the world and other times I have people hang up on me after I tell them who I am calling for. This type of internship, is not for the faint of heart, you will definitely hear some “not so nice things” said to you. On virtual days, we still have the daily meetings and the “check out” meetings via Google meet.
Any day whether in person, in the office or virtual is exciting because I know that I am helping a politician, whom I believe in, keep her seat in Congress. I am also learning skills that I will utilize for the rest of my life, and I am having conversations with voters that I will never forget.