“If you visualize what time you’re going to vote, you’re much more likely to do it,” one attendee said as lead organizer Maren Hokanson ran down instructions.
The event then broke up as volunteers scattered through the neighborhoods. Michael Guest, a veteran of several Minneapolis campaigns, and his wife, Kim Borton, headed to Sibley Park, using address lists to target specific houses.
“She’s really a tenacious fighter,” Guest told one man down the block. “And a really strong advocate for neighborhoods.”
After everyone dispersed, Hodges was off to another house where a similar crowd awaited instructions for another get-out-the-vote event.
(Nearly) one-hour knock-fest
The Art Love Manor in north Minneapolis was a big door-knocking target for Jackie Cherryhomes: 12 stories with 66 public-housing apartments. It was five days before the election. She had one hour.
Cherryhomes — wearing a pair of comfortable flat shoes and with her longtime ally Billy Binder — started at the top, rapping firmly on each door, rapping again on those where they heard a voice or a television.
If no one answered, they left a glossy flier folded in the door jamb and moved on. But if someone opened up, even a crack, Cherryhomes would introduce herself and ask to be the resident’s first choice.
As often as not, though, Cherryhomes and the resident would start comparing notes on family and community connections, sometimes hashing it out for two or three or even 10 minutes. More doors were waiting and time was running out, but in her view, it was time well spent.
“This is much more effective than being on the phone,” she said. “You never know, when you talk to someone, what connections you’re going to make. This can make all the difference.”
Walking from the building into a gray, chilly, late-campaign afternoon, she said she was “exhilarated” — and happy she hadn’t broken a sweat while meeting voters.
Time elapsed: 50 minutes.
Voters await — first the train
Don Samuels was coming from one of the high points of his day job as a City Council member: the grand opening of the North Side’s only adult gym.
But in politics, timing is everything, and this time Samuels was on the wrong side of the tracks for his next stop while a Soo Line train lumbered across Lyndale Avenue, blocking traffic as precious minutes ticked by.
By the time he arrived at Bright Water Montessori, a charter school on the city’s far northern edge, the cacophony of elementary kids getting out of school had died considerably, leaving Samuels few parents to buttonhole on this Thursday afternoon.
“You need a dentist,” he joshed parent Ben Lindwall, who was wearing Halloween makeup. Lindwall, who has met Samuels before, told him he’s first choice on his ballot.
So did Scottie Headington, but not until after she gave Samuels an earful on her opposition to anything that would lead toward the privatization of schools. “He’s concerned about the North Side,” she explained.