6:05 p.m. I was approached to sign in immediately as I walked through the door at this Organizing for America office on Valencia Street. I told them I’m just a reporter and they welcomed me, though one worker asked if I wanted to make any calls while I check things out. I said some reporters still believe in the unbiased approach.
6:14 p.m. There have been 32 volunteers at this particular location here on Election Day. Field Organizer Wendy Aragon said people have walked precincts all day. There are 15 people making calls asking if people have voted yet. Some volunteers are on hour 13. A white board on the wall shows a countdown to polls closing at 8 p.m.
6:16 p.m. Aragon said one couple, Andrew and Harriet, knocked on a total of 189 doors in four hours. They just took another packet out for an hour. The goal for precinct walkers is to knock on 100 doors per shift, “which is me stretching it so people do their 80 knocks,” Aragon said. One individual knocked on 119 doors.
“We’re knocking on doors in the Mission, first time and sporadic voters,” Aragon added. “Telling people the President needs help to elect Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown to have progressive allies. We’re calling people on behalf of the President and that’s gone a long way.”
6:18 p.m. One volunteer is asked on a call if she knows it’s dinner time. “I’m hungry too,” she said after they hung up and went to get herself a sandwich.
6:20 p.m. “We are really nervous about losing the house,” Aragon said. “But Christine O’Donnell lost and I’m happy about that. I think we’ll keep the Senate.”
6:22 p.m. Volunteer Daniel walks in to the office. “How many packets did you take out,” Aragon asked. “Too many to even count,” Daniel responded with a cough. “I’m just shattered.” He’s been out three times today, three times yesterday and a few times on the weekend.
“I hear some good news coming in though, right?” he asked.
“Alan Grayson (of Florida) lost his seat,” Aragon said unhappily. “But Lexington, KY just elected their first LGBT official.”
6:24 p.m. I was just offered a Tecate by volunteer Ryan. He’s asking his colleagues if they feel parched.
6:27 p.m. An organizer tells volunteers if they get somebody live who hasn’t voted, “Don’t let them off the phone” until they are headed to their polling place.
6:35 p.m. Aragon sits in her office and reads MSNBC that GOP is poised to take control. Joanne, making calls from her office, says it may be too early to tell. The volunteers in the other room, seemingly oblivious to what Aragon just read, keep calling.
6:38 p.m. Another volunteer comes in and gets a “Welcome” shout and an offer of candy. “I don’t need candy. I just don’t want to see a Speaker Boehner,” he said.
6:41 p.m. Somebody needs their polling place and one volunteer is happy to look it up and tell the voter. “Go out and vote. You have an hour!” one of the volunteers says behind her.
6:45 p.m. Though a few people still ask for their polling places, most people they talk to have already voted. Volunteers ask if they’ve gone Democrat or Republican. Some respond neither, but these volunteers are hearing lots of the answer they want: Democrat.
6:52 p.m. Daniel, the door knocker extraordinaire, is ready to use the last of his energy to make more calls. Organizer repeats previous sentiment: “If you get anyone on the line, verbally drag their ass to the polls.”
6:56 p.m. Aragon updates the white board: one hour left.
7:04 p.m. Organizer Melissa instructs new phone bankers. It’s time to prioritize —she suggests as soon as you find out they’ve already voted, end the call, and move to the next to hit those voters who still need to get to the polls.
7:07 p.m. “You still working or are you ready to volunteer?” one organizer asked me.
7:10 p.m. “Let’s just hope Nate Silver’s wrong,” one volunteer said referring to the election calling pollster and guru from FiveThirtyEight, who currently says there’s a 99 percent chance of Republicans taking the House.
7:13 p.m. “People are getting annoyed,” said one volunteer after making sure somebody voted already. “Democrats can be really snobby.”
7:14 p.m. Organizer Melissa to a voter on the phone: “And are you voting Brown and Boxer?……Yaaaaay”
7:19 p.m. Internet is slow, so volunteers are struggling to pull up calling lists. Melissa hands out paper copies.
7:23 p.m. “The House is officially Republican,” Aragon said. “We were kind of expecting that to happen. It’s a little scary because of John Boehner.”
“It seems like the Senate’s coming back pretty strong. We’ll have a majority.”
“It’s looking pretty good with Barbara Boxer. She has a five point spread right now. Jerry Brown has an 8 point spread over Meg Whitman right now. If they win it makes me really happy because it goes to show no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy an election. At least we’ll turn California over to a Democratic governor.”
7:27 p.m. “We had seven Spanish speakers in the office today and we were calling, calling, calling Fresno,” Aragon said. “We’re canvassing a lot in San Francisco but there’s still some areas that need a lot of help — races where there’s a lot at stake. It’s kind of like lending a hand, because we’re not a battleground district here.”
7:31 p.m. Cracking the whip with a half hour to go: “I realize this is partially my fault, but there’s a lot of talking that’s not about voting,” Melissa said. “You guys have to remember you are changing the world.”
7:42 p.m. One volunteer stands up from his phone calling seat but just for a moment — he’s ready for another list. He said everybody he has talked to so far has already voted. “If they’re telling the truth, that’s good,” he said.
7:44 p.m. “You guys,” calls out one organizer who has flown out from D.C, “power through California. Alaska at 8:01.” The polls will still be open in the non-continental U.S. states.
7:48 p.m. A few phone bankers walk out, telling some laughing organizers that she thinks they are getting delirious.
7:57 p.m. A voter walks in and takes out her identification. “Oh my God, you want to vote.”
“Across the street,” a volunteer shouted.
Aragon runs out of her office, “Synergy School, get to Synergy School!”
Melissa takes her out and walks her across the street. The seven remaining people in the office erupt in applause.
8 p.m. Polls close. “Anybody want to call Alaska?”
8:01 p.m. A passerby walks in. “Can I take a picture for my friends in Washington?” she said. Organizers agree but ask her to make some calls to Alaska. “It’s the final push!”
8:03 p.m. Five are still calling. They’ll call Alaska to get out the vote for the next two hours. They’re calling Wasilla, Palin’s territory. “They don’t love her very much,” Aragon said. They are trying to turn Alaska blue in the governor’s race — if Joe Miller and incumbent Lisa Murkowski (who lost in the primary but has launched a write-in campaign) split votes, Democrat Scott McAdams could take it.
8:08 p.m. One volunteer walks in and calls the election a bloodbath — losing so many House and Senate seats. She’s headed to an election party of Kamala Harris’, who is running for attorney general.
8:12 p.m. In brighter news, Dewey Taylor in Alaska was really happy to hear from Aragon. He said he was happy people were calling from California because Democrats there need help.