While Edwards supporters court voters with smiles, Dean’s volunteers strive to bring to the polls all those who have already pledged their support.
Armed with a list of 161 Dean households in his assigned section of Nashua, Schmidt’s first job is to stand near the booths and listen as voters give their names to the attendants. After checking the names against the list, Schmidt and the other volunteers plan to go directly to the homes of any who haven’t voted yet, helping to arrange for rides if needed.
Around 8 a.m., Schmidt trades the comfort of the warm gym for the cold of the parking lot, pulling aside voters as they leave the polls to identify who supports Dean.
He jokes that he doesn’t mind bothering the voters once they’ve cast their ballots.
“If we piss them off when they’re leaving the voting booths, we’re not going to need their vote for another nine months,” he says.
Volunteers aren’t allowed to talk to voters inside the polling place, and they must leave their Dean paraphenalia outside, since no campaigning is allowed within 100 feet of the entrance.
But outside, Schmidt and Chung are free to make up chants as they wave signs for Dean.
Schmidt is working on just three hours of sleep in two days, after pulling an all-nighter to study for an exam the night before heading to New Hampshire.
“I may just collapse at some point,” he says. “Hopefully tonight after the raucous victory celebration, there will be time for some sleep.”
One Big Party
As the student volunteers spend the day campaigning, they vie for valuable sidewalk real estate and struggle to shout over other campaigns’ supporters.
But Rosenfeld says New Hampshire’s college-age workers have formed a tight-knit community in the last few months.
“It’s like spring break in the cold,” she says.
Despite the occasional sniping remark, the warring Democratic factions seem to feel some camaraderie—and for the students in Derry, there’s even some Harvard pride.
Over the course of the day, Jeff D. Wilf ’07 and Peter C. Mulcahy ’07, who is also a Crimson editor, show up to hold Kerry signs, and Todd T. Rogers, a graduate student at Harvard, arrives to support Clark.