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You’ll have to work for ticket to Barack Obama election night bash

13. Barack ObamElectiNight speech: President-elect Barack Obamfirst family waves supporters during electinight rally Nov. 4 2008 Grant Park. | John

13. Barack Obama Election Night speech: President-elect Barack Obama and the first family waves to supporters during the election night rally on Nov. 4, 2008 in Grant Park. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 30, 2012 6:27AM



WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s campaign is using his Chicago election night party at McCormick Place as an organizing tool: To be eligible for a ticket, Illinois residents will have to complete two get-out-the vote volunteer shifts in battleground Wisconsin.

The scope of the 2012 Obama event is vastly scaled down from 2008, when some 240,000 flocked to Grant Park to be part of history on a beautiful November night.

The Nov. 6 election night party — which could be a nail-biter since the contest is so close — will be at the Lakeside Center of the McCormick Place complex, and I am told there is room for about 10,000.

The “Illinois Victory Volunteers” GOTV canvass in Wisconsin will take place Nov. 3, 4 and 5. Once completed, tickets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served system. Each shift will last between two and three hours.

The Obama team selected McCormick Place in part because they were worried about bad weather and wanted an indoor venue.

Obama’s field operation has used events as organizing tools since the first days of the 2008 campaign. More recently, the Obama campaign pegged a massive volunteer effort in North Carolina to tickets for what was to have been the Democratic National Convention finale at the Bank of America stadium in Charlotte. The outdoor stadium event was canceled because of bad weather and Obama and Vice President Joe Biden delivered their acceptance speeches inside at the Time Warner Cable arena.

Major donors are expected to get VIP treatment on election night, as they did in 2008. And for those who don’t want to canvass, a donation ($150 or even less to the Obama campaign) will get you entered in a lottery to get “right up front” with Obama in Chicago on election night. The campaign ran a similar program in 2008, promising a backstage pass and front row seats for Grant Park.

The Obama drive to send Illinois troops to Wisconsin to help the president may have an unintended consequence before election day: It could drain a pool of motivated volunteers from the big Chicago area House races in the closing days of the campaign — when Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster and Brad Schneider will also need GOTV help.



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