Friday, June 11, 2004

Knocking up antics

Polling day brings with it its own share of frustrations. For weeks you glide effortlessly around estates, from one door to the neck, either pushing leaflets through letterboxes or knocking on doors to talk to people. There's no prior thought needed: all you know is that this is a block, house or door to get to, one after the other, street after street.

But come polling day it all changes. Now you're trying to get out the vote, to make sure those who have expressed support in the past will go out the door and make the short journey to the local primary school to put a mark next to your name on the ballot. This calls for a different kind of operation. Ideally, in the weeks before you've identified potential supporters (although this year we were using canvass data from last time). So you're given a number of 'knocking up' sheets, with names and addresses listed on them. Armed with that and a bundle of 'get out and vote' leaflets, your task is to go to those addresses and make sure the residents receive that message.

Which seems fine in theory. But in practice it's a hell of a lot more difficult. First you need to find the road. Then the building. Then the door number. And there doesn't seem to by any order to it. Despite weeks of walking around the same estates, suddenly you realise you don't know what that last building was called, or the street's name.

And there doesn't seem to be any order to the addresses on the 'knocking up' sheets: one street at one end of the ward can follow another at the other end; door numbers for a building can go from 5 to 10 and then suddenly from 1 to 4.

And if that isn't bad enough, for some reason, our declared supporters always seem to be on the top floor of a block...

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