The political campaigns for President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney rely heavily on the efforts of volunteers. In Oxford, Ohio, these citizen activists can get involved in the election at local field offices. These field offices are made up of community volunteers that help spread the word to their neighborhoods about their preferred candidate.
“It gives a place to gather and organize around, but it also helps with appearance, so people can actually see the campaign,” said Junior Dan Otto, a student volunteer at the Obama field office.
The offices funnel their volunteers toward either going door-to-door in neighborhoods, using phone banks to reach out and inform voters, or piecing together literature regarding their campaign.
The level of importance of these offices and volunteers does not go unnoticed by the officers assembling their duties at the State level.
“One of the most important things we can do is have local volunteers talking to their neighbors about why they support Mitt Romney and the Republican ticket,” said Scott Jennings, the senior advisor to the Romney campaign in Ohio. “It adds aw level of credibility to the campaign that you don’t necessarily get out of just paid advertising.”
The Romney office opened July 7 in Liberty Township, with Speaker John Boehner (OH-08) on hand at the grand opening. The Ohio Republican party has its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, and is in charge of 35 field offices in the state, according to Jennings.
The Obama field office opened roughly two weeks ago in Oxford on W. Walnut Street, and is mainly made up of student volunteers from Miami, according to Otto. As of August 17, there have been 57 Democratic field offices opened in Ohio, as well as their state headquarters in Columbus, Ohio as well.
Despite Oxford having a reputation of having a conservative majority, Otto said that they expect positive results coming from the Democratic office.
“We had an office here in 2008,” Otto said. “In turn we had a huge College Democrats organization that outnumbered the College Republicans that year. There are a lot of Democrats here, and having this office here brings them out of the woodwork and gets them involved.”
Not all students agree that an Obama office in such a conservative area is beneficial to his campaign.
“I understand that Obama’s campaign is focused on the middle class, so choosing a smaller town could be beneficial, but Oxford is extremely conservative,” junior Cameron Egbert said. “He should have picked another small town.”
These field offices serve as a hub of information that is available for anyone who is interested. The offices are open every day, filled with pamphlets and flyers on how to get involved with the campaign. Both Otto and Jennings said that when volunteers walk through the doors to become informed, most volunteers are working that same day.
“This neighbor-to-neighbor campaign that we’re doing really does matter, particularly to the swing voters,” Jennings said. “There’s a universe of independent swing voters out there, where it really makes a difference when someone from their community comes and knocks on their door.”
Jennings expressed his gratitude for all of the volunteers that come into the office daily to help spread the word for the Republican ticket.
“We take great pride in building our volunteers and getting them out there to talk to those voters that decide the outcome of the election nationally, and essentially decide the next president of the United States,” Jennings said.