Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lessons on Roping in Votes Circle Convention Delegates

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lessons on Roping in Votes Circle Convention Delegates

Article excerpt

Byline: BRIAN BASINGER, The Times-Union

BOSTON -- Vowing to match and hopefully surpass the grass-roots savvy of their Republican competitors, Democratic leaders Monday launched a massive campaign-training program for delegates at their national convention.

More than 100 sessions on how to motivate and turn out voters are being offered throughout the week for the 4,964 delegates and alternates in attendance.

The workshops even included a Harvard University-sponsored program titled "Students Mobilizing Students" for the College Democrats of America, which is holding its own national convention this week in Boston.

"When you go home, you need to stop people every day and ask, 'Are you registered to vote?' " Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe urged in a morning speech to several delegations. "If they don't stop, you tackle them."

All joking aside, Democrats say they are serious about making sure their rank-and-file members can compete with the GOP in face-to-face voter outreach, as well as technology-based contact.

The 2004 presidential election will be won by neighbors talking to neighbors and through online list servers, argued Democrats such as former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

"Even when you are in the line at the grocery store, make sure you don't miss a person," said the three-term governor in a speech to several dozen delegates from the battleground state of Missouri.

Republicans in recent years have proved the effectiveness of using e-mail, phone banks and neighborhood canvassing to draw voters to the polls on Election Day.

"It's a technologically driven approach, and it changes the whole way you approach the vote," said Augusta resident and delegate Lowell Greenbaum, chairman of Richmond County Democratic Party.

Greenbaum said his party dropped the ball in 2002, when Democratic Gov. …

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