Texting Florida from Alaska
に 2018, the coalition of Democratic organizations recruited more than 140,000 volunteers and contacted more than 2 million voters in the four days leading up to the midterm elections that saw Democrats make big gains in the House.
Organizers hope to be able to make even more voter contacts two years later — albeit digitally — expanding what was just a one weekend event to a series of weekends in the run up to the November election.
“We were really gearing up to knock on doors and do the kind of traditional campaign activation this fall,” said Tori Taylor, co-executive director of the progressive organization. “But beginning in March, when the global pandemic started to hit our country, we made a significant pivot to virtual organizing.”
The shift was a significant change to organizers who were used to traditional in-person organizing. But the change has also democratized organizing, making it possible for people in largely uncompetitive states in the presidential election to reach out to voters in places like North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin without having to travel to those states.
今, 主催者は言った, people aren’t asked to hop on a bus and drive to the nearest competitive area. 代わりに, they can write, text and call voters from their homes across the country.
‘This is definitely unprecedented’
The coronavirus has also directly affected the well-financed Biden campaign, which had begun laying plans for in-person organizing but were forced to scrap those ideas in March as the virus spread.
“This is definitely unprecedented
, and we will admit to that
,” said Molly Ritner
, deputy states director for ジョー・バイデン‘s campaign
. “But what we have found in running our organizing efforts in this way is we have been able to meet people where they are.
The campaign has still staffed up their organizing ranks, hiring more than 2,000 paid field organizers in 17 key states. Their work is different — they aren’t reporting to field offices or signing up volunteers for door knocking shifts — but because people aren’t out as much as past cycles, Ritner said the campaign is seeing higher contact rates over the phone and voters are more open to having lengthier conversations.
And like the groups behind the “Last Weekends,” Biden’s campaign has found geography has become less of an issue during organizing drives.
“One of the things that we figured out early is that while there are things that being virtual prevent us from doing, there are also ways it helps us expand our ability to connect people across geographies,” said Ritner. “It has given us the opportunity to be a little more creative.”
‘It is not enough to just simply vote this year’
To push Americans to vote and volunteer, the coalition of progressive organizations have enlisted a host of Democratic leaders and celebrities, including Democratic primary candidates like Massachusetts Sen. エリザベスウォーレン, former South Bend, インディアナ, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and businessman Andrew Yang, along with actors like Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Kathryn Hahn and Mandy Patinkin.
“Volunteering to help get out the vote is one of the most important things we can do in our country to effect change, especially during a pandemic that has disrupted traditional voter contact efforts,” Buttigieg said.
それ, who ran a campaign that was propelled by both his substantial internet presence and his raucous in-person events, said that if the pandemic was rampant while he was actively campaigning, thinks would have “looked very different.”
But all that you lose with the loss of in-person campaigning, 彼が追加した, you gain with the ability to organize from anywhere.
“The technology has made it much more efficient,” ヤンは言った. “Location isn’t the same barrier that it would have been even two years ago because the tools are much, much better. If I have a volunteer in Massachusetts, they can be doing as much for a candidate in Arizona as they could in New Hampshire. And that simply wasn’t t true a while ago.”
And that has made it easier for celebrities like Hahn, who lives in California but is from Ohio, to get involved in the hands-on aspects of campaigning.
Hahn first got involved with Swing Left after Trump was elected. And while she was able to help in person before the pandemic, she is now able to write letters, text and call possible voters across the country, just like any other volunteer.
“It is not enough to just simply vote this year, it is so important to cut through the chaos to make sure as many people as possible vote,” said Hahn. “I don’t want to be on the other side regretting for a minute that I didn’t do everything that I possibly could.”