(Final Update: Oct 7th, 2020)
Act now: this election will be scarily close.
Another four years of Donald Trump is unthinkable; but don’t assume it can’t happen – the swing state polls were totally wrong in 2016. Trump became president by just 11,837 votes in Michigan.
Where to give money right now:
It’s probably too late in the game at this point to put money to work effectively, other than to bolster the budgets of down-ballot candidates who’ve been underfunded all the way along. Give to whoever you’re most passionate about, but consider prioritizing down ballot (House and state house) candidates in key districts and presidential swing states (e.g. those targeted by Sister District or Walk the Walk). Some people are also focusing on a small handful of House races that would tip the balance of the House in case of an electoral college tie.
Where to volunteer:
General: Check out Mobilize.us or The Last Weekends for a ton of volunteer opportunities by geography, interest and campaign.
Poll workers (crucial, huge need): If you know people who could be poll workers, send them to Power to the Polls or Poll Hero.
Lawyers: Sign up with the Biden campaign and Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights (non-partisan).
Finally, I’m attaching an excerpt of a recent email from a friend with even more volunteering suggestions:
Make not-uncomfortable calls.
I hate making calls. The only way I can bring myself to do it is by (a) sitting down with a big fat iced coffee, and (b) calling folks who are, for the most part, friendly and occasionally even grateful for the call.
* Ballot “curing” calls to NC Democrats who’ve already voted by mail and are at risk of having their ballots rejected. They’re often unaware and highly motivated to fix their ballots.
* Poll worker recruitment calls to younger folks who’ve served in the past. The shortage of poll workers is at crisis levels and, if unresolved, will result in poll closings, misinformation, and long lines–to the detriment of voters of color. Pick your state: WI, MI, or NC
Send texts to engage voters in swing states.
I love doing GOTV texts. You can do this from your phone but it’s easier from a laptop. The training takes < 20 minutes, the technology is turnkey, hostile voters can be dispensed with in a couple clicks, and it feels great to provide critical guidance like “don’t forget you’ll need a witness when completing your absentee ballot” and “please identify 3 friends you’ll remind to get registered this weekend”. In one hour you can reach thousands of voters.
- I’m currently texting for Sen. Doug Jones‘ re-election. Doug faces long odds in deep red Alabama, but he’s stuck his neck out time and time again, and we need to be there for him.
- Texters are also needed to help flip senate seats in SC (Jaime Harrison), ME (Sara Gideon), IA (Theresa Greenfield) and AZ (Mark Kelly).
Staff voter assistance hotlines.
So much voter confusion in this crazy election year (see: pandemic, suppression, misinformation). I staff a hotline run by the non-partisan Election Protection coalition and one run by the Wisconsin Democratic Party. You can do the same by contacting Biden’s campaign (which will plug you into the swing state of your choice) (no legal background required) or by contacting Election Protection (lawyers only, although you need not be actively practicing). The shifts are 3-4 hours long but you get significant downtime in between calls. (That will not be the case on November 3!) Training and a cheat sheet are provided and a captain will back you up if you’re stumped.
Write to voters.
While raging at the news, I’m writing letters as part of The Big Send‘s efforts to prod 15 million infrequent, Democratic-leaning voters in swing states. Very easy, very cathartic. These will be mailed en masse on October 17–early enough to surmount USPS delays, late enough to maximize their effectiveness in prompting turnout.
Be a poll observer.
I’m tentatively signed up to be a Democratic poll observer for a few days in Maricopa County (in/around Phoenix) later this month. Poll observers monitor outside of polling locations for 6-8 hour shifts each day, and serve as the eyes & ears of the Democratic Party to report on anything from long lines to late openings to voter misinformation to suppressive or intimidating behavior. You do not need to be a lawyer. Arizona observers will be in action starting on October 19 and continuing through November 3, and are especially needed on weekdays.
- If you’re interested in learning more, sign up with Mission for Arizona here.
- If you’d like to join a SF Bay Area group for purposes of coordinating shifts, lodging and other logistics, fill out this form.
- If you’d prefer to serve as a poll observer in Las Vegas or Reno, sign up with Nevada Democrats here. Arizona is a bigger battleground, but Nevada is a swing state where Trump is investing heavily and of course is closer for us Californians.
- If you’re interested in poll observing in other states–with needs being especially dire in IA, FL, OH and NH–contact Alexis Pelosi, super-organizer with Lawyers for Biden.
Thanks for everything you can do and everything you’ve done.
Don’t let this unthinkable nightmare happen again.