Campaigns make final push for voter turnout

Both parties cite ground game as crucial

TAMPA - To spend an entire day as a campaign canvasser takes more than just devotion to a political candidate.  It takes patience, diligence, and an ability to smile even when frustration reaches its worst.  

After all, at this point in the presidential campaign, people are already annoyed with endless television commercials in their living room.  Getting a knock on the door with a live person isn't exactly what a registered voter wants, either.  

"I think people are just tired," said Yeni Russell, an Obama volunteer who spent the entire Monday before the election walking up and down neighborhood streets to get out the vote.  "They're tired of seeing commercials about politics," Russell said.

But that hasn't dampened her enthusiasm.  Despite getting angry looks, slammed doors, or just no answer at all, Russell maintained a good attitude.  She said it's because she knows how important it is to exercise your right to vote.

"I don't get paid for this.  I do this because I come from a country, Cuba, where your voice is silenced," Russell said.  She cited the story of an 84-year woman who just became a citizen and was told she couldn't vote.  Russell said the woman may have been wrongly informed, and she helped her find her voting precinct.

"Voter intimidation is something we're trying to overcome," Russell said.  

At the Romney campaign headquarters in Tampa, phone volunteers were lighting up the lines with the same goal: getting out the vote.  Street canvassers were also out in force.

"I did over a hundred doors, going door to door, and the response for the Romney campaign was phenomenal," said Kristin Bradstreet, a Romney volunteer.  "Almost every street had five Romney signs," she said.

Christa Roe, a USF student, said she's been motivated to convince younger voters about the republican candidates.  

"Bridging that gap between that generation and ours, it's awesome," Roe said.

In a Florida race that polls suggest will be very close, both campaigns exude confidence.  Each office has lists of voters that are registered, but haven't yet gone to the polls in early voting or haven't submitted an absentee ballot.  Those people are the ones the candidates need to show up on Tuesday.

Monica Caldart is a traditional voter who chose to avoid early voting lines and absentee forms.

"I always do it at the last minute," Caldart said.

"I wake up early so I'll be there first thing."

Caldart said she plans to take her two children to the polling place at seven AM, so they can learn from the process.

"That way they get to participate in the whole thing and see how the election goes and what can make a benefit to the country," she said.

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