NEW YORK --
Ten thousand people have signed up to volunteer at this summer's Republican convention, but the city is prepared for the possibility that some won't show up as a form of protest.
The New York City host committee said thousands have applied online since the April launch of the recruitment project, which included a multimedia ad blitz starring former Mayor Ed Koch.
Groups planning protests during the convention, from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, have been encouraging activists to sign up as volunteers and then either not report for their assignment or show up and cause trouble.
"Fill out the volunteer forms. Be polite, dress appropriately, and smile a lot" during the application process, says a Web site dedicated to the sign-up-and-abandon strategy, run by David Lynn of Philadelphia.
Then, he says, "don't show up for your volunteer assignment. Don't call in sick, don't give any warning - just don't show up."
The convention volunteer operation envisions that some people who register as volunteers will not report for work, for various reasons, host committee spokesman Paul Elliott said.
"It's not a concern - on the opening day of the convention, we will be completely prepared in terms of staffing and deployment of resources," he said.
Volunteer applicants are screened at several points in the process. The initial online application asks for social security and drivers license numbers, and is equipped to recognize false ones, Elliott said.
If the online application is approved, the applicant is then contacted and interviewed. Before the convention begins, all volunteers will have spoken or met with a volunteer recruiter several times. Nearly half of the 10,000 registered volunteers have already undergone the review.
The host committee, which plans to enlist 16,000 volunteers, acknowledges it is possible for a determined protester to make it through all the steps. While some protest volunteers might simply abandon their assignments, others are said to be planning actions that would disrupt convention events.
Elliott said those protesters are misguided because the result would be a protest against the Big Apple as much as the GOP convention because "a good convention means success for New York," he said.
Convention volunteer duties include welcoming delegates and journalists, assisting with transportation and working in the media center.
Of the registered 10,000 workers, 43 percent are from New York City, more than 20 percent are from out of state and nearly half are 30 years old or younger.
On the Net:
Host committee: www.nyc2004.org
Shadow protest: www.shadowprotest.org
© Copyright 2004 The Associated Press