Teaching Assistants Phone Canvass

We had another very successful phone canvass last night. This time the phone canvass was sponsored by the Teaching Assistants' Association (TAA) of UW-Madison. After some pizza and training we hopped on the phones and started calling. We were gladdened to see that over 70% of the voters we spoke with were opposed to the amendment.

The TAA, like many other groups, has a vested interest in fighting the constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage in Wisconsin. For over a decade, the TAA has been pushing for domestic partner benefits. The University of Wisconsin is the only Big 10 school that does not offer these benefits, and the TAA worries that if the amendment passes, Wisconsin will never be able to offer DP benefits to university employees.

Some of the volunteers I worked with last night were a little hesitant about calling voters on the phone. A few of them had never done any phone banking before and they worried how they would deal with people who hung up on them. I can remember my own similar fears the first time that I phone banked. I took it so personally whenever somebody would hang up or didn't want to hear what I had to say. How could they not care about an issue that was so personal to me? Over time I learned not to dwell on the people who didn't want to be reached, and instead focused on finding like-minded voters who had yet to hear about the amendment and were just waiting for someone to call.

Last night's volunteers came in with similar fears. In the end, however, they were resolved to face down their fears of rejection on the phone because their passion for defeating this amendment was that much stronger. I think of their passion and how they overcame their fears to reach out to voters last night and I feel inspired.


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