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Volunteers key to national party conventions

America Votes 2004
New York
Boston (Massachusetts)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Most big events, such as the Olympics and music festivals, depend on a corps of volunteers. The 2004 national party conventions are no different. Each is depending on thousands of volunteers for successful a meeting this summer.

In late August, the Republicans take their convention to New York City for the first time. There they are counting on volunteers to provide hospitality, transportation and other services.

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch heads a campaign to recruit volunteers for the Republican National Convention.

In a new ad, he lauds New York as the greatest city in the world. When the Republicans come to the city, he wants folks to volunteer to "show them the ropes."

"They won't know uptown from downtown. They've never ordered pizza by the slice," Koch says in the ad.

According its Web site, the NYC Host Committee hopes to recruit more than 8,000 volunteers. New Yorkers and those from surrounding states are welcome to sign up to contribute time to the convention, the Web site says.

The host committee invites people to apply online.

In July, when the Democrats head to Boston, Massachusetts, they also will count on thousands of volunteers, whose duties will include welcoming conventioneers, staffing headquarters and providing transportation.

"Beantown Buddies" will be assigned to state delegations to help them navigate the city and the convention, according to the convention's Web site.

More than 13,500 people have been recruited -- so many that the convention is no longer taking applications.

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