By Jan Warrington and Frank Starr
Happy Saturday, and happy first day of August. The summer is beginning to wind down, and each day brings us closer to November 3, 2020, the day we have been yearning for since November 8, 2016.
Frank and I have one urgent message for you today: Please, please get involved — now. Please do something to help make sure that so many of us don’t feel as despondent as we did on that night four years ago, and all the days since.
You’ve heard this before but here it is again: We cannot become complacent.
We’re writing this to remind you of ways in which you can help, and many of you may already know what we’re about to say. Then consider this a checklist. Please feel free to respond with any ideas and suggestions (or warnings) that we might not have included, and we will help spread the word. And please share these ideas with family and friends who might be interested.
First, let’s never forget that one-word tweet a few weeks ago from Barack Obama: VOTE. We’ll leave it to you to determine the best way for you to exercise your right. We must be prepared for obstacles along the way, including long lines at crowded polling places. Please make sure that your voter registration is in order, especially if you’ve moved recently or if there have been changes in state voting laws that might affect your registration. Make sure that you can get an absentee ballot if you’re concerned about exposing yourself to Covid-19 infection at a crowded polling place.
And a key word here is EARLY. We encourage you to look into early voting in your state, and take that opportunity if possible, especially considering the GOP attempts to suppress the vote. In some swing states, Republicans are making an effort to see that mail-in ballots are not counted if they arrive after Election Day.
Second, please consider making a donation to Joe Biden as well as Democratic Senate and House candidates. Any amount helps — seriously! — whether it’s $5, $50, or $500. If you’re not aware of Act Blue (actblue.com), it’s a fund aggregator for Democratic candidates. It’s easy to use and we’ve never had any security related issues. Your credit card can be kept on file, and you also can designate a recurring monthly contribution to a candidate, if you’d like, so that you don’t have to go back each month to make another contribution. (Remember: November is only three months away!) You also can donate directly to candidates through their website; just click on the word DONATE.
And here’s a fun and educational way to get involved: If you sign up with the Biden Victory Fund (secure.joebiden.com), you’ll get access to his calendar of virtual conversations and events with policy makers, and occasionally musicians (we’ve seen Willie perform for Joe but — darn — missed James T.!) Most of the events require a donation, but not all do.
And, third, here’s the part that involves giving of our time. There are many organizations out there seeking volunteers. You might want to check out the candidate’s website, and work directly with his or her team. You also could work with your state Democratic Party. (The Wisconsin Democratic Party was successful in helping increase voter interest and turnout for a special Supreme Court election a few months back — and the Democrat won.) And you may want to take a look at the website for the Democratic National Committee (democrats.org).
If you’re especially interested in senatorial candidates, check out the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (dscc.org) website. For the House, it’s the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (dccc.org). You can donate to the committee, and their websites will offer ways for you to get involved. The six Senate races and the Democratic candidates we’re focused on this year are (and here’s our mnemonic — M-MANIC): Maine (Sara Gideon), Montana (Steve Bullock), Arizona (Mark Kelly), North Carolina (Cal Cunningham), Iowa (Theresa Greenfield), and Colorado (John Hickenlooper). Those seem to be the six states right now where Democrats have the best chance of flipping the seat from Red to Blue.
Other organizations that are seeking volunteers include Indivisible (indivisible.org), Progressive Turnout Project (turnoutpac.org), Vote Save America (votesaveamerica.com), and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (democraticredistricting.com). Many of these will guide you through a simple online training on how to do texting or phone banking to help register new voters. Vote Save America, which is affiliated with former Obama officials, has a swing-state-focused, adopt-a-state program. Jan adopted Pennsylvania and will do training this week and make calls soon after. Please join her; you’re welcome to choose another state (Florida, Florida, Florida?)
Closer to the election, many of these groups will be focused on get-out-the-vote efforts (GOTV). They will offer you a script to follow so that you’re not simply winging it as you contact voters to urge them to vote. They need YOU! And as November 3 nears, you might want to start thinking about how you can help in your own community — volunteer to work the polls, drive others to the polls, make calls or text. We’ll write more about that later.
For now, thanks for taking the time to consider these ideas. Stay informed, talk to others, and remember that even a few hours of your time a week can help, along with a few dollars. And please don’t forget our mantra: We can’t become complacent. Our democracy is at stake. Let’s get to work!