Canvasser sees job as community commitment

He’s done it municipally. Now Sam Dyson is doing it federally.

“Face-to-face interaction with people is by far the most effective way to convey our message,” he said. “Most importantly (we) hear what people are concerned about.”

Sam Dyson, 23, is a campaign aide to Liberal candidate Julie Dabrusin (in the Toronto-Danforth riding) in the campaign leading up to the Oct. 19 vote. Having lived in the area all his life, Dyson also volunteered for John Tory during his mayoral campaign in 2014. Dubrusin realizes the value of her team of canvassers.

“It’s important for them (the community) to see that I’m out there and I’m committed to working for them,” Dabrusin said.

A 2012 study from George Mason University showed that potential voters who were visited by the candidate were 20 per cent more likely to vote for that candidate. Dabrusin has been a resident of Toronto-Danforth since 1998, and she believes canvassing is the most effective way to learn what’s going on with her neighbours.

Although Dyson thinks of canvassing as simply having conversations with voters, he admits that it’s not always easy.

“Knocking on strangers’ doors can definitely be an uncomfortable feeling,” he said.

A 2001 Stanford University study showed that having door-to-door canvassing teams increased voter turnout by 7.1 percentage points compared to mail or telephone calls. However, some people don’t like to be visited by canvassers because they have already decided how they are going to vote or conversely because they have no interest in voting.

“Some people are genuinely not interested and do not want to be disturbed” Dyson said.