I'm wondering about other folks' experiences working with Project Orca, Romney's state-of-the-art, cellphone-based GOTV program. Mine was a failure and an embarrassment. And I sensed it the night before the election, when I called the 800 number for our final conference call and got a busy signal.
The next morning, I loaded the program on my Blackberry only to find that the names of registered voters and the "voted/not voted" tabs didn't line up. Then, after setting up at my precinct, I found out that cellphones with cameras are not allowed in Virginia precincts (So whose idea was it to base your GOTV program on a platform that is banned in at least one swing state?). Now, my precinct is one of two which votes in the same building, one upstairs and one down. When I opened up my paper copy of the voter list, not only did it include the names for both voter rolls, but they also duplicated each name. Instead of 20 pages, I had to flip through 77.
By 8:30am, I was burnt out, trying to catch names from the two election officers' computer screens. Knowing that my precinct is run by good, by-the-book folks and that no detectable fraud would occur, I chose to comfort myself with a second, hot breakfast. I left feeling deeply embarrassed in front of my neighbors, who run the precinct every year, and who(A) saw what a failure Project Orca was and (B) now have the sneaking suspicion that I don't trust them to run a fair election.
So, when I got to my breakfast spot, I tried to enter the names of those who had voted -- roughly 25% of the precinct list by 8:30am -- and the program crashed my Blackberry halfway through. Once I rebooted the program, I found that the names I had registered had been lost, and that I'd have to start anew. So I looked at the back-up options. Each one had me calling 1-800-MITT4VA. Since it was getting later now, and Blackberries don't have letters on their keypads, I just gave up. (Why did the emergency number have to spell something out? That only slows down response time, or, in my case, makes it too complex to worry about. It isn't like the campaign needed to sell Romney to their volunteers.)
A friend in North Carolina told me that Project Orca didn't contact him until the night before the election and told him to work a precinct four hours from his home. He would've had to leave at 1 am to get to the polls in time.
Now, if anyone else had a horrible experience with Project Orca, or a good one, please post your story here. If any of the campaign folks who came up with this scheme or helped organize the effort would like to defend it, please do so as well.I'd love to hear how it worked out for y'all. I already know how it worked out for Mitt Romney.
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