Saturday, November 3, 2018

BTRTN: Last Minute Election Resources

This is an excellent piece by Sarah Carvill, an activist from California.  It's an email she sent to friends and family this morning on how to get involved in election campaigns, even at this late date, and it's chock full of excellent tips.  We reprint it with her permission.

I meant to send this a while ago, and know many of you don't need  reminders/encouragement/guidance to get involved with the upcoming midterms, BUT... there are some really great resources out there— so great that I want to make absolutely super-duper sure you all know about them. My top three below make easy to (1) help turn out your friends and family members who might very much need reminders/encouragement/guidance to VOTE (first two) and (2) to help you squeeze in a little last-minute volunteering, wherever you are (last one):
  • Talk to your friends. Download VoteWithMe ( and use the app to text your friends in swing districts to make sure they are planning to vote. Preliminary testing suggests that this is as much as twenty times more effective than canvassing, and super easy.
  • Talk to strangers. Go to Swing Left's Take Action page, enter your zip code, and find out where you can canvass or virtual phonebank this weekend. After texting your actual friends, door-to-door canvassing is the most important thing you can do to get out the vote this weekend and early next week. Can't find an event? You can search in-person and remote volunteering opportunities at Vote Save America, too (
Additional notes for those who are interested:

The VoteWithMe app. Please don't panic about privacy. Whether or not you voted is actually public information; it's how you voted that's private, and the app doesn't know that. It just knows your party registration history, whether you've shown up to vote in the past, and whether you are registered in a place where there are tight races. Because all of that is out there already. Using the app or not doesn't change that. Also, FYI, the voter records aren't 100% accurate, so probably don't berate your bestie if the app says she didn't vote in 2016. Just remind her to vote in 2018. (Case in point: It says I didn't vote in 2012 or 2014. I did. I'm sure.) Also, I think it's totally valid to be concerned about the privacy implications of having a small hand-held computer that knows everything about you and all your friends, goes with you everywhere, and does everything you could ever want it to do. I would just humbly suggest that you suspend those concerns with respect to this app until Wednesday.

Canvassing: JUST DO IT. Canvassing may not be as effective as texts from friends in turning out voters, but it is more effective than phonebanking, texts, emails, and those handwritten postcards that are all the rage now. It's also pretty fun. You can do it with a friend or your partner or your dog. Most people are nice, and the jerks all pretty much have those fancy doorbells that allow them to see you and ignore you from their smart phones. More on how to do that below. Also, importantly, this weekend is GOTV, which means that you are probably going to be sent to the homes of committed supporters rather than surly undecideds. This is not a guarantee, and every campaign has it's own strategy, but generally speaking the closer you get to election day, the more the game shifts from persuading people to pick your side to persuading the people who have already picked your side to actually go to the polls, turn in that absentee ballot, etc. Given the choice between GOTV canvassing and virtually any other type of canvassing, I will always pick GOTV. THIS IS THE FUN PART. DO IT.

Phonebanking/texting: They won't see your phone number. If you are legitimately too far away to knock on some doors, texting and phonebanking are things you can do, also— in many cases from the comfort of your own couch! If you're thinking that you don't want strangers to know your cell phone number, don't worry, it's done from a web-based app. Actually pretty cool. 

Money. I know you've probably gotten a thousand emails asking you for funds since SHTF two years ago, but my current favorites are the Swing Left Immediate Impact Fund and Crooked Media's "Donate Save America". Why? Donate to either of these funds and your contribution will be evenly split among multiple campaigns. Both entities (Swing Left and Crooked Media) have identified a subset of critical races where they think donations are most needed or will do the most good. Their formulas are slightly different: If memory serves, SL is focused on how close the races are, and CM is factoring the cost of media in each market to identify the races where your dollar will do the most work (though they also threw Steve King's district into the mix just because he's so clearly the worst human in Congress— which, you know, is saying something).

One last cool thing. ( is another great resource, and if you want to feel better about how the left is handling being in the political wilderness, scroll down and take a look at the coalition of climate-focused, youth-focused, immigrant-focused, women-focused, anti-gun-focused, and Democrat-focused groups who are behind this site. (Who says there isn't room for all of us to dance in this big tent?) 

I promise I'm doing this, too. Jae and I have made a couple of trips to CA-10 (Tracy/Manteca) to register voters and canvass. He is going back there this weekend, but I'm in Boulder for my cousin's wedding at the moment, so my dad and I are going to be knocking doors in the CO-6 on the way to the airport on Sunday. See, I'm serious! It's fun! Let's all do it!

Thanks for doing your part to save [this] democracy! 

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