Election day 2020 is exactly two months away and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how important this coming election is. Between the pandemic, the very targeted and successful voter suppression efforts by the President and Republicans in Congress, and the general undemocratic mess called the US Electoral College, getting out the vote this year will be more important than ever. But since 2020 has proven to be a real dumpster fire so far, going out to canvass in the midst of a pandemic may not be within everyone’s ability or comfort zone. So, if you want to help with the election this year while maintaining social distancing, below are some suggestions on how you can do that from the safety of your own home (bonus – each of those feels a lot more rewarding and empowering than doomscrolling through the news):
- Resistance Labs have various get out the vote (GOTV) textbanking campaigns each week, along with several other campaigns for progressive causes across the country. The best way to find and sign up for texting campaigns is by joining their Slack channel, where there are daily campaign announcements, along with tech/logistical support for texters.
- MoveOn also has a variety of GOTV and progressive texting campaigns each week. The setup is similar to that of Resistance Labs, with the Slack channel being the best way to sign up for texts.
Some common concerns about textbanking (and why you don’t need to worry about them):
- All texting happens through a website and NOT through your personal phone number (you can still text through your phone, but only via the website). So no need to worry about recipients having access to or being able to text you back on your personal phone.
- You may get some rude responses, but in those instances, you will just need to take the number off the organization’s list with an Opt Out option and you will not need to engage with the person yourself (in fact, you are actively encouraged not to engage). More importantly, every one of those responses is actually helpful to the organization for which you are textbanking, since it is helping them clean up their contact lists for more effective/targeted GOTV efforts in the future.
- You can pick how many texts you want to send and when. Sending the texts is usually very fast (you can send ~100 texts a minute). After that, you would need to handle the responses. Usually ~5-10% of the people you’ve texted will respond, and in the vast majority of cases there will be a pre-scripted response you can use. Overall, handing about 500 texts will take up no more than 30 mins out of your day.
Postcards to Voters:
- Grassroots Democrats offers volunteering opportunities, including postcard writing for various candidates across the country.
- Some of the individual campaigns of candidates in swing states/districts (see list below) also offer opportunities to write postcards for the specific campaign. You don’t need to live in the state where the postcards will be sent and you will not be providing your personal address on the envelope (you will be given a campaign return address to add instead).
You would usually need to purchase your own postcards and postage (as a bonus, you can support USPS by purchasing both here). In some campaigns, you can come up with your own script on why voting matters to you. Other campaigns will provide the script for you.
Letters to Voters:
- Vote Forward lets you adopt addresses across swing states of Democratic leaning registered voters OR traditionally underrepresented registered voters (you can pick with one you prefer and in which state).
- If you are strapped for time but want to support both Vote Forward and the US Postal Service, you can also become a stamp sponsor for existing letter writers.
Donate to or Volunteer Directly for Campaigns in Swing States or Districts:
You can go to the campaign websites of specific candidates for Congress and volunteer or donate there. Aside from my personal desire to give all of my money to whoever is opposing Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham (links to all three opponents below), I find the 270towin site to be a helpful resource based on current polls. To figure out which campaigns are toss-ups right now:
- The House of Representative page has a map that shows toss-up districts for Congressional seats, as well as districts that lean Democratic or Republican. Underneath the map is a list of all the close contests across the country.
- There are currently 24 Congressional toss-up seats where contributing to the Democratic candidate would be crucial.
- Additionally, there are 9 seats that are Leaning Democratic and 15 seats that are Leaning Republican where supporting the Democratic candidates would also be important in the coming months.
- The Senate page has the equivalent map for the Senate race. The current Democratic candidates for the Senate toss-up seats are:
- John Hickenlooper, Colorado
- Theresa Greenfield, Iowa
- Jon Ossoff, Georgia
- Cal Cunningham, North Carolina
- Sara Gideon, Maine (running against Susan Collins, aka the Kavanaugh-is-a-great-person-and-an-amazing-pick-for-the-Supreme-Court-and-will-for-sure-never-endanger-women’s-rights Senator)
- Steve Bullock, Montana
- And just because I couldn’t help myself, Mitch McConnell’s & Lindsey Graham’s opponents are: