One of the volunteers in the office Aug. 6 was retired Baltimore Sun reporter Larry Carson, who covered government and politics in Howard County for 13 years.
"I think it's a very important election. ... Since I have the time, I want to help as much as I can," Carson said.
A Columbia resident, Carson said he has been volunteering a few times a week since February — which increased to four days a week when the office opened last month. Mostly, he works the phones, calling registered Democrats in hopes of increasing the campaign's volunteer base.
"I've got a lot of practice making phone calls," Carson joked.
Most of the volunteer activity in the office involves phone banking — scripted calls to registered Howard County Democrats asking them to volunteer their time or money or to Virginia voters asking them to support Obama.
"When we get closer to the election we'll be doing more get-out-the-vote efforts," phone bank coordinator Jeff Biggs, of Columbia, said.
On Saturdays and occasional Sundays, volunteers meet at the office and carpool to Virginia for voter canvassing — door knocking, literature dropping and spreading a pro-Obama message in a battleground state both parties consider key to a presidential victory.
This past Saturday, Aug. 4, the coordinated campaign in Howard County hosted a party for Obama's 51st birthday. The office was packed with volunteers who not only celebrated but worked, making nearly 1,000 calls that day, Biggs said.
One of those volunteers was Ellicott City resident Barbara Salzman Hastings, who was at the office Saturday and again Monday for her first 2012 campaign shifts. She had previously volunteered in 2008, making phone calls and canvassing in Pennsylvania and Virginia for Obama.
Now, Hastings said she wants to put her people skills to use again to help Obama get re-elected.
"I really feel strongly that I want Obama to win," she said. "I can't even conceive of him not winning."