election checklist, week eleven.

October 5, 2020

We have 29 days until the 2020 election in the US. That’s 4 weeks during which I’ll be trying my damnedest to get leaders elected who will move the dial toward equity, inclusion, and progressive policies that will do the least harm and the greatest good.

I love lists. I love checking things off of lists. I’d hazard the guess that lots of folks reading this do, too. So, every Monday until November, I’ll be listing one specific action to take in preparation of the election. Electoral politics won’t solve everything, but voting is a tool in the box and it needs to be sharpened, oiled, and ready for action.

Week Eleven: Phone a stranger.

I’ve talked about phoning your friends. Today, I’m talking about picking up the phone to talk to strangers. I’ll begin by coming clean and saying that I’ve felt plenty of uncertainty when working on GOTV efforts. Does it work? Is it worth it? Whether it’s getting hung up on while phone banking, or ignored while texting, or just wondering Who on Earth is Susan and is this postcard I’m writing actually going to convince her to vote? It’s easy to feel like the whole thing is a little futile. But I don’t participate in GOTV efforts because it *feels* like it’s making a difference but because folks with a whole lot more experience and expertise than I have have convinced me that it does make a difference.

If you haven’t signed up already, maybe make this the week that you volunteer a little time to get out the vote with a text or a phone call (or a few hundred). There are tons of organizations hosting phone and text banks and modern technology makes the process seamless even for folks who have never picked up the phone for a campaign before. If you’re feeling intimidated, many organizations host simple training sessions and virtually all of them provide volunteers with a script. If you mess up, the only thing you really need to do is say a quick “Thank you for your time,” and bow out via the click of a phone. Truly.

A few organized efforts to sign up with this week if you have the time or the energy or the mental space to do it:

+ Sister District Project: Top Priority Phone Banks

+ Supermajority: Superwomen Tuesday and Superwomen Wednesday

+ Indivisible: Phone Banking

+ Demo Crew: Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

Have you been working with any others? Feel free to drop names or links in the comments below!

PS. This morning, I’m mailing my enormous stack of postcards! If you’re mailing postcards, too, today is the day to drop them in the mailbox!

PPS. Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6, I’ll be tuning into the Rally and Rise Instagram Live at 6 pm. NY State Senator Alessandra Biaggi will be answering questions about what type of electoral activism works, what doesn’t, and how to prioritize my actions in the last weeks before the election. Join me?

And don’t forget:

Check your registration.

Make a voting plan.

Send some postcards.

Complete the Census.

Look past the presidency.

Phone a friend.

Show up.

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  • Reply Brooke October 5, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    I phone banked on behalf of the Women for Biden team last night! (My first time!) It was scary and intimidating but also super rewarding and inspiring. We cannot allow this election to be won in the margins, it must be a landslide! Every call counts! Every vote counts! Thanks, Erin, for getting out the word and giving us tangible actions to take to make a difference.

  • Reply Judith Ross October 5, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Yep, I mailed my stack of 100 Moms Rising postcards this morning, and will be writing more letters this week as part of a neighborhood Vote Forward effort.

  • Reply Erica October 5, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you for these resources! I signed up for the 2020 Victory National Text Training so I can start sending texts to voters in swing states. I’ll be honest, I felt ambivalent about my efforts reaching strangers, but the call to get out of my comfort zone feels considerably salient these days. There’s too much at stake to not attempt, in any capacity, to mobilize the vote.

  • Reply gm October 5, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Sent 100 postcards to Georgia! And my lawyer sis is helping staff a phone bank for people who have questions about their legal rights re: voting.

  • Reply Amanda October 5, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks for the nudge! I’ve been nervous about phone banking but I’m psyching myself up to do it. Just wanted to note that today may NOT be the day to mail postcards. Sounds like you were told by your campaign to mail today, but many campaigns have very specific mailing dates. For example, my Postcards to Swing States cards are slated to go out on 10/26. So folks should definitely follow whatever directions they get in order to make the most impact.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 6, 2020 at 10:34 am

      Yes; was referring to the specific campaign! Definitely follow whatever instructions you have!

  • Reply Sophia Culpepepr October 6, 2020 at 8:32 am

    I’ve signed up for phone banking, text banking, and postcards. I’m eager to begin this week. And what you say is so helpful when calming any questioning/negative voices in my head, “I don’t participate in GOTV efforts because it *feels* like it’s making a difference but because folks with a whole lot more experience and expertise than I have have convinced me that it does make a difference.” Thanks, Erin.

  • Reply Elina October 6, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I’m textbanking with 2020 Victory as well as NextGen (targeting younger voters 18-35). I know there are also opportunities with Red2Blue and Open Progress- mostly with down-ballot dems, which I felt kind of uncomfortable advocating for since I know nothing about those places or candidates. GOTV texting feels a lot more fulfilling to me, just a personal preference! I’m sure every effort is helpful in its own way. Also wrote a huge stack of postcards with MomsRising, Postcards to Swing States and Flip the West.

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