Required To Volunteer? Obama Ticket Giveaway Causes Confusion

Some Being Told They Must Volunteer To Get In

The Obama campaign has begun notifying people who got tickets for the big acceptance speech at Invesco Field the final night of the convention.

Many of those who received tickets told 7NEWS they have come with a caveat.

Those viewers said the campaign told them they must volunteer six hours for the campaign by Friday in order to get a ticket.

"I got a call that if I want the tickets I have to volunteer two shifts of three hours apiece -- for one ticket. If I want two tickets, then it's four shifts of two hours apiece," said Berenice Christensen.

Another 7NEWS viewer sent an e-mail that said, "I received a call Monday saying I could 'qualify' for the tickets if I do 12 hours of volunteer work for the Obama campaign between now and Friday the 15th."

The viewer e-mail goes on, "To work 40 hours at my job, get to and from work, get to and from the campaign office and complete the 12 hours in three days would be next to impossible."

Dozens of Obama supporters are already volunteering. They are volunteers who believe working for tickets to the biggest night of the convention is a small price to pay.

"They're trying desperately. I mean, they're almost panic-stricken, they want tickets to hear his acceptance speech," said volunteer Terry Andrews.

"I put my name in. I'm keeping my fingers crossed," said Sue Palmer.

Christensen said she too is excited, but a part of her believes the process for signing up was disingenuous. "I mean they made it seem like any Coloradan could go, and now you have to work for your ticket."

A Breckenridge resident e-mailed 7NEWS with a similar experience:

"My experience matches what you are hearing from other sources. Because of my work schedule and other activities going on, I did not sign up for the All Star tickets. But I was called by the campaign and told that I had to volunteer this week in order to get tickets at all. I finally agreed to one three-hour shift, but it left a bad impression for this lifelong Democrat. I hope someone in the campaign understands that they are turning off volunteers with their aggressive and disorganized approach," the Breckenridge resident wrote.

Susan M. Martinez, from Boulder, Colo., wrote us to say, "There is no way I can volunteer between now and Friday (if that is the timeframe). I think I entered my name for consideration early. I entered my name within 5 minutes of the 'Breaking News' message appearing in my e-mail from TheDenverChannel. I just might wait to see if "community creditionals" really exist."

Loring Abeyta, from Denver, wrote, "I just read your article... about the confusion regarding tickets to Obama's speech, and the situation is worse than you reported. I went to the Campaign for Change office last Friday evening to earn three hours of credit toward my "All Star Credentials," and it was nothing but confusion. I went to one meeting where I thought I would earn my volunteer credit, and learned that I had gone to the wrong meeting and had not earned credit. When I told the volunteer coordinator how unhappy I was about spending my evening at the campaign office for nothing, she had nothing to say -- not even an apology for the confusion. It is utter disarray in that office and they have alienated me as a volunteer."

Abeyta's letter goes on to say, "The problem got worse today when I got three phone calls from three different people at the Obama campaign office asking me to bring food for the staff. I had signed up to donate snacks, but I didn't realize I was supposed to feed the whole staff. Just thought you'd want to know that the problem goes way beyond just the confusion about the tickets. I have no idea how Obama can win Colorado when the campaign office is such a disaster."

The Obama campaign insists that volunteering is not a requirement to get a ticket.

They said those who were told they must volunteer must have clicked on the opt-in button for "all-star seating" when they signed up for the tickets. If you click that button, then you are required to volunteer, but you get a better seat.

If you choose not to volunteer, you retain your place in line for what is called a "community credential," according to the campaign.

People who received tickets for Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium will be notified by text or e-mail between now and Friday.

What has been your experience? Have you received a call or e-mail from the Obama office? Have you been notified that you got tickets to the Obama speech? Please e-mail 7NEWS and let us know.

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