Are you worried about voter suppression and disenfranchisement having an impact on the election coming up in November? If so, you’re not alone. Many members of East Shore are worried about the next election and want to do what they can to help encourage people to vote.
Several nonprofit organizations have set up sophisticated systems to identify citizens who may have been purged from the voter lists, who have never registered to vote, or who have not voted regularly for one reason or another. They are targeting these people, often marginalized people whom others don’t reach out to or registered voters who rarely vote, with postcards, letters, phone calls and/or texts, to make sure they have the information they need to register to vote and the encouragement to actually vote.
A team of East Shore members has been looking into some options we could participate in and we’ve chosen a few organizations that we wish to partner with to help get out the vote. Here’s a quick summary of the most popular options:
Reclaim our Vote – In 2020 this campaign focuses efforts on reaching people of color in key states – North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia – to make sure they are registered and they know how to get a ballot and vote. The campaign includes a variety of activities including writing postcards, phone banks, textbanks, geofencing, canvassing, and providing rides to the polls. We will help with postcards and phone banks.
Vote Forward – This campaign is focusing on sending personalized letters directly to 10 million under-represented registered voters in a variety of states, who have not typically voted. We can help by printing or handwriting the letters and getting them all ready to mail, then mailing them in late October.
Environmental Voters Project – This project focuses on identifying environmentalists who don’t vote as often as they should, ensuring that they register to vote and encouraging them to actually vote, using canvassers, phone banks, text banks and direct mail, with tailored messages specifically designed to get them to vote.
Common Power (formerly Common Purpose)– a research project contacting unregistered voters along the I-5 corridor in Washington. The organization focuses on those who identify as people of color under the age of 50, in conjunction with Fuse WA, with phone calls, text messages, and letters.
Learn more about the problem: Watch the movie Suppressed, about the suppression of voting in Georgia. (38 mins, free on YouTube)
Write postcards: This is an easy activity for anyone who has legible handwriting to do from the comfort of your own home. Cards and stamps will be provided.
Watch this postcarding training video (7 mins) with Reclaim our Vote to give you a better idea of what’s involved.
Lynn Roesch and Marilyn Mayers have planned 2 postcarding events in August on Zoom, where they will provide more training to write the cards and answer any questions you may have. They will arrange for distribution of the special postcards, stamps, labels and addresses, so that you can write the cards in your own home, in batches of 10.
- Wednesday August 12, 5:00 p.m. – Lynn Roesch will host
- Saturday August 29, 10:30 a.m. – Marilyn Mayers will host
Print letters: If you’d rather print letters from your computer, Vote Forward is a good option. From the Vote Forward website, you download either 5 or 20 preformatted letters with a space to add your personal reasons for voting (non-partisan). They provide a return address to use other than you own, so you remain anonymous. You supply the paper, envelope and stamp. All letters are to be mailed in late October, close to the election.
- Friday August 7, 10:30 a.m. – Geri Kennedy, with support from Kristi Weir and Laurie Wick, will host a zoom session for you to learn more about this opportunity.
Phone bank or text bank with the Environmental Voters Project – contact Kristi Weir if you’re interested in learning more about this.
- Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2:00 p.m., there’s a training webinar and texting opportunity to encourage environmentally supportive Florida voters to participate in their primary. This is also an opportunity to “stress test” their system so that it’s ready for mass texting in the fall. Please register directly to participate in this opportunity.
Other options: If the above dates are not convenient for you, or you prefer to work with a different organization, let Amanda know what you’d like to do, and when you’d be able to participate, and she’ll help you find others at East Shore with the same interests. Alternatively, all of the above organizations are happy to accept volunteers registering with them directly. They have training and support available so that you can participate in your own time.
Make donations: The above organizations also welcome financial contributions, if you don’t have the time to participate yourself. You can also contact Amanda if you’d like to help with purchasing the stamps and postcards needed for the postcard writing efforts.
All of these activities are more fun to do with a group, so call some friends and invite them to participate with you. We will be arranging more events, so watch the church eblasts for announcements. If you feel inspired, you can offer to host an event too. This is a great way to connect with other East Shore members and build community, while potentially making a big difference in the upcoming elections!
Please contact an event host (click on highlighted name), or the overall coordinator, Amanda Strombom, to let them know how you’d like to participate in helping East Shore Get out the Vote!