Senior canvasses for Obama

Olivia Kestin ’09 rang the doorbell of a suburban-style house in Aurora, Colo. A middle-aged woman answered the door. Kestin took a deep breath and smiled.

“Hi, I’m Olivia from Barack Obama’s campaign for change,” she said. “Can I ask you how you are voting in the upcoming election?”

Kestin, along with her mother and family friend Ellen Hoberman (Sarah ’07), spent three days working for the Obama campaign in Colorado this September.

They wanted to help out with the campaign but knew that it wouldn’t make nearly as much of an impact in California because the majority was so decisively for Obama, Kestin said.

Kestin felt that their efforts would be more worthwhile in Colorado, a state that could have swung either way in the Nov. 4 election.

“Obviously I knew a lot about Obama before I went to Colorado,” Kestin said.

“But by being in the office and talking to people about the issues and policies I learned so much more.”

Kestin spent her mornings at the campaign headquarters in downtown Aurora making calls to potential Obama voters.

After overcoming her initial fear of being hung up on or not taken seriously, she realized that she ended up wanting to stay on the phone with people and talk to them about what issues were important to them, she said.

“Being around people who worked for Obama and who cared so much about the outcome of this election made me feel a lot more comfortable with the campaign,” she said.

In the afternoons, Kestin, her mom and Hoberman would go door-to-door in the suburban neighborhoods surrounding Aurora.

According to Kestin, the goal was to educate and mobilize the voting community in the area.

“Having face to face contact with the voters was my favorite part,” Kestin said.

Kestin said that she was surprised by the reactions of some of the people she met.

“The first guy that we talked to told us that it wasn’t Obama’s policies or demeanor that was the reason he wasn’t voting for him,” Kestin said.

“He told us that there was just something else that kept bothering him and shut the door in our face.”

“I turned around and realized that it was because he was racist,” she said.

She also said that one man called her and her mom “baby-killers” when they tried to talk to him about Obama’s policies on abortion.

“I probably didn’t make a difference on the larger scale, but when you talk to a certain person for long enough you can hear that what you have said to them may be really making a difference,” she said.