The Canvassers Get Ready
By Jose Antonio Vargas
LONDONDERRY, N.H. -- "Are you volunteering?"
"How many doors have you knocked on?"
"For anyone who just came in, can you sign in, please?"
Those are the first questions that greet Tobin Van Ostern, a young volunteer for Sen. Barack Obama, as he walks back into the volunteer headquarters here in Londonderry, a quaint New England town of about 26,000 residents.
Headquarters is located inside a barn, in front of an apple orchard that dates back 200 years. "Farming In Londonderry Since 1732," a sign outside reads. Inside, nearly two dozen supporters -- young and old -- are organizing packets that canvassers carry as they hit the ground. Obama sticker? Check. A walk list and a map? Check. A canvas script? Check.
It's a tense, yet friendly, environment. Lots of buzz in the air. "I think he'll take her by 10 points," says one," referring to Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. "I bet 15, maybe two," says another, "but I don't want to jinx it." Many took the day off work (and school) to help out. Some brought in food: a pot of cream broccoli soup, ham and cheese sandwiches in ziploc bags, newly baked cupcakes.
Three blocks away is Londonderry High, the polling place. It's 2:35 p.m., less than six hours before the poll closes.
"I've knocked on about 60 doors so far," says Van Ostern. "We've got about 60 more to go, probably."
It's time for lunch.
Read Vargas's earlier dispatch on Tobin here.
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