"Hi Amy, It's Paul from the No on One campaign. Listen, I'm calling to confirm and thank you for signing up for the phone bank tonight."
Paul Nocera is a Brooklynite who's spending most of his two-week vacation at the No on 1 campaign headquarters in Portland. The woman he's talking to needs a ride, and tells Nocera where she lives.
"I'm not from these parts - I don't know if you can tell from my accent," he says. "I'm volunteering from out of town. But if you give me the address, I've got Google maps in front of me and I'll look it up and we can potentially send someone to come and get you."
Nocera is one of a couple dozen out-of-staters who've driven or flown to Maine in the last week to volunteer for the campaign. Many are being hosted by local families in arrangements set up by No on 1.
A No on 1 coordinator Darlene Huntress says the campaign initially was asking Mainers to take time off from their jobs to volunteer.
"Then we started getting you know hundreds of calls and e-mails from folks around the country who also feel invested in this and we sort of folded our Maine volunteer vacation program and kind of extended it out to other folks in the country that wanted to come and help.">
Huntress says that out-of-staters make up just a tiny fraction of the 1,000-plus volunteers on the ground, but that the campaign can use all the help it can.
Polls show the ballot question is tightly contested. Volunteers say they don't want to see a repeat of Proposition 8 in which Californians defeated a court ruling in favor of gay marriage.
Brandon Brawner, who flew from Los Angeles to Portland on Saturday, had fought Prop 8 in California.
"It was devastating that the people of California let this happen," Brawner says. "I don't want something like that to happen again where other families are affected in the same way that families in California were. I think that they deserve the same fairness and equality as everyone else."
Brawner got his boss at an entertainment distribution company to give him a week off, and he got to work raising money among his friends and family to pay for the $900 airfare.
Pam Perkins of Hendersonville, North Carolina, came to Maine with frequent flier miles donated by a supporter of gay marriage through a program called Travel for Change. A gardener, she has the flexibility to stay for the duration of the campaign, and has been making phone calls and trying to tone down her southern accent.
"I don't want to seem like I'm from away but I am," she says, laughing.
Perkins says she's had respectful conversations with people she calls, even if they are not sold on the idea of gay marriage.
"I think when I start talking about being being gay and being married and the fear of not being able to be with somebody I love," Perkins says. "This individual I was talking to last night came around a little bit."
The campaign on the other side of the issue, Stand for Marriage Maine, says that it is not getting the same kind of out-of-state interest in volunteering.
Marc Mutty is a chairman for the group and spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, one of the campaign's lead organizers.
"In terms of out of stsate volunteers we do have several and I do mean several on the ground here," Mutty says. "We haven't been uisng that approach very aggressively and don't anticipate using it. "
Mutty says his side may be generating fewer volunteers from out of state because Stand for Marriage Maine is trying to maintain what has been the status quo -- that marriage is between a man and a woman -- and that status quo breeds complacency.
Mutty says rather than bringing volunteers into Maine, the Yes on 1 campaign will be getting out-of-staters to help without getting on a plane.
"One of the things that is commonly done is to do phone banking and that of course can be done anywhere into the country, here into Maine, and doing get out of the vote stuff, and doing tracking," Mutty says.
The other camp, however, expects more volunteers to stream into Maine in the run-up to Election Day.
Paul Nocera says there's a reason he decided to come sooner than later. He wants to help get as many Mainers engaged in the campaign as possible
"Coming early in the campaign is a smart thing to do as an out of towner, as an outsider," Nocera says. "Because ultimtatey this question has to be answered by folks from Maine and if folks from Maine don't step up, and participate in this whole campaign and the whole process then it will go the way it goes, like a ship without an anchor."
Nocera is taking a short break this weekend to attend a gay rights event in DC and then make a brief appearance at work, where he provides tech support. Then he plans to be back in Maine next week.