5 Rights of Campaign Volunteers
|1. You have the right to meet the candidate, and you should make sure you meet him if possible. Your volunteer work is an endorsement of the candidate, and a face-to-face will (hopefully) help you feel good about that person. A personal meeting always adds to your credibility in the campaign, because it gives you a personal experience to draw from when discussing the candidate. Furthermore, you should always think of your time and energy as an investment in a future representative. Politicians remember their volunteers. Building a relationship now will improve your access to him in the future.|
2. You have the right to proper training for the tasks expected of you. Not only should you be trained to discuss the issues and the candidate (see #3), but you should also be taught how to use any necessary equipment. Creating a mailing list in MS Word? Copying & Collating? Phone banking? If you are expected to do something that youâ€™ve never done, donâ€™t be afraid to ask questions. Even in a hectic situation, the person in charge will want you to do the job properly and efficiently. If the person will not help you, do not guess at the job. You could waste resources or embarrass the candidate. If you cannot get adequate instruction, step aside and let someone else do the job.
|3. You have the right to an in-depth knowledge of the issues and message of the campaign. Political debate is extremely frustrating if all you have are talking points. If your job is to discuss issues with voters, you need to be prepared for the person who will ask for more information. Review the talking points (all campaigns have them), role play with another volunteer/staffer/voter, and identify any weaknesses you find in your conversation. Make yourself familiar with any slogan or message that the campaign wants you to use. Ask questions, practice some more, until youâ€™re confident enough to talk to the public. This will make your contact efforts more comfortable for you, and more effective for your campaign.|
4. You have the right to decent working conditions. You deserve to work in a comfortable environment that is properly heated, cooled, ventilated, etc. You have the right to have refreshments, although the campaign might not be able to provide them for you. You have the right to reasonable restroom or refreshment breaks, keeping in mind that you are there to work for the campaign. You do not have to work in an environment in which you are berated, abused, or intimidated, or in any conditions that are detrimental to your health. If you are mistreated in any way, you have the right the leave immediately. You do not have to work in an area in which you fear for your safety; if you are canvassing such an area, do so in groups.
|5. You have the right to refuse to do anything illegal. Itâ€™s an unfortunate reality that campaigns get dirty; people lie, cheat, and sometimes steal. We donâ€™t like being the victims of these dirty games, but we also cannot afford to be the criminals. You cannot let yourself get caught up in the kind of frustration that leads to trouble. Slashing tires, fighting, trespassing, vandalism, etc. are inappropriate and unnecessary. Yes, on some levels we are fighting a war and this conduct might seem necessary (and feel good). You might even convince yourself that itâ€™s ok to destroy property or harm someone, if itâ€™s done in pursuit of â€œthe greater good.â€ But … you would be wrong about that. This kind of conduct embarrasses the campaign and gives your opposition some points against you. Furthermore, it devalues you as a person. Do not engage in this behavior, and do not let anyone intimidate you into doing something that you know is wrong. Democrats win elections by preventing election related crimes, not by committing them.|
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