Among the several hundred canvassers who have been traveling to Eastern Pennsylvania to canvass for the Obama-Biden ticket are many family members and friends of 1199ers.
“I want to set a good example for my son,” said Ruben Lopez, a housekeeper at Yeshiva University in Northern Manhattan. Lopez made the trip on Oct. 20 from the 1199SEIU headquarters to Philadelphia with his 12-year-old son, Ruben Jr. “I came today because I want to help Pres. Obama have four more years and it would be good for Ruben to know that he helped to.”
“Some of the canvassers are friends who are looking for a way to help,” said Joyce Bryant, an 1199SEIU long-time delegate and home health aide at Alliance for Health. She was a captain for one of the Oct. 20 buses that left from the Manhattan headquarters.
“The feel like I do,” Bryant said. “They want a better life for their kids and grandkids and are afraid that people like Romney and Ryan would take that away.”
Before canvassers were dispatched to the Philadelphia neighborhoods, they took part in an informal orientation-rally at one of the SEIU Philadelphia headquarters. “The election is still really close,” warned 1199SEIU Political Action Director Kevin Finnegan. The task now, Finnegan and other speakers stressed, is to get out the vote.
Several of the speakers mentioned Mike Turzai, the Pennsylvania GOP House majority leader, who said during the spring that a Republican-sponsored voter ID law would help Republicans win the state for the first time since 1988.
In an important victory, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ordered that the law could not fully take effect until after the November elections. Simpson had originally ruled in favor of the law but acknowledged in his October ruling that he had underestimated the difficulties many eligible voters had in attempting to get the new state-issued photo ID cards. That meant that many voters would effectively be disenfranchised.
Speakers said that a solid Democratic victory also would send a message to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who signed the voter ID bill into law and who in 2010 called on Republicans to “keep down the vote in Philly.”
Speakers said that the best way to defeat the extremists’ dirty tricks is to have hundreds of the purple shirts on the ground on Nov. 6 working to get out the vote to send Pres. Obama back to the White House.