Hitting the streets for democracy | NevadaAppeal.com

Hitting the streets for democracy

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Barbara Park, 17, says she's learned a lot about people while being a precinct captain for Barack Obama. Park, who will turn 18 in time to vote, volunteers long hours to educate voters about Obama.

She slipped on ice and cut her head on a mailbox once, but the only other bad thing that happened to Barbara Park while she’s campaigned around the city for Barack Obama came last week.

“It was just kind of this guy,” said Park, 17, a Carson City precinct captain, “and I think he was grumpy because it was coming down horribly and there were inches of snow.”

He got upset and spit at her.

“Luckily there was an inch and a half of snow on my purse, so it didn’t really mess it up,” she said.

But besides those incidents, things have gone well over the past three months, she said. She’s learned a lot from everyone, some who say they’ll come to the Democratic caucus Saturday, and some who say they won’t.

Most people tell her they don’t know and take a flier.

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“A lot of days you feel like you aren’t making any headway,” she said. “But you are. You just can’t see it.”

Obama is the only Democratic candidate with an office in the city, but others are also getting out their precinct captains. These are positions filled by volunteers who try to get voters, especially people who are undecided, to the state’s caucus and vote for their candidate. They stake signs, hand out fliers and canvass the city’s 26 precincts.

For Donnell Dike-Anukam, a precinct captain for Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain, the majority of his time is spent telling people about the caucus.

“My job is to make sure our supporters get out and vote. To make sure I have enough votes for John McCain to win at our caucus,” Dike-Anukam said.

Recently that has meant answering one question – a lot.

“First question I always get is where do I go? We know that the caucus might be confusing, but it allows us to have a bigger hand in shaping our country,” Dike-Anukam said.

Pam Graber, who liked Obama at first but later became a precinct captain for Hillary Clinton, has made calls, talked to people at parties and hosted students who came to campaign for Clinton over their winter breaks.

The worst part is when people just hang up, she said, but there are also the good calls when supporters “gush and just go on and on and on” about how much they like Clinton.

Days can get long for precinct captains but are exciting, Park said. She comes to the campaign office in the morning and stays until 9 p.m.

Her friends have asked her what she’s doing, she said.

“They have a pretty normal reaction,” she said. “They don’t know what I’m doing here if I’m not getting paid … it’s fine, I’ll see them on (Jan.) 20.”

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.


Caucus information for Washoe Valley voters


Caucus signups begin 11 a.m. Saturday at all locations.

The Democratic caucus is open to all registered Democrats. If someone wants to participate they can register the day of the caucus at their caucus location and take part. Those 17 years of age may take part in the caucus if they are going to turn 18 on or by Election Day, Nov. 4, and register as a Democrat. Registration forms will be available at each location.

Democrats living in Washoe Valley are asked to look up their location online at nvdemscaucus.com.

Those without access to the Internet are asked to call the Washoe County Democratic Party office at 829-1699 or 323-8683 and they will look up your caucus location for you.


The caucus or Straw Poll will begin 9 a.m. Saturday at all locations.

The Republican caucuses are open to all registered Republicans. To participate, you must have registered as a Republican 30 days prior to the caucus. Those 17 years of age may take part in the caucus if they are going to turn 18 on or by Election Day, Nov. 4 and if they have registered as a Republican.

The caucus site for Republicans living in Washoe Valley is at Galena High School, 3600 Butch Cassidy Drive, off of Wedge Parkway and Mount Rose Highway.

Republicans can also visit the county’s Republican Party Web site at http://www.washoecounty gop.org to look up their caucus location.

Anyone can look up their caucus location through the Nevada Secretary of State’s Web site at: sos.state.nv.us/elections/.