*steps on soapbox*
Is this thing on?
Ok, now that I have your attention, I’ve got some thoughts to share.
It’s the end of October. The air is turning crisp. Pumpkin spice everything is everywhere. This can only mean one thing. . .
IT’S TIME TO GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV)!!!
For those of you that don’t do political stuff, this is the phase of a campaign where we move from IDing voters, and doing general name recognition things (like parades) to actually working to get voters that support your candidate or issue to check the box, or fill in the box, or punch the chad, or pick the candidates name on a screen on or before Election Day. It’s a targeted effort because while voting is awesome, you don’t want to turn out votes to hurt your candidate. That’s someone else’s job.
For some reason, people often think they have the perfect new idea that will surely make sure that all voters get to the polls. Too often these are passive, indirect ways to “talk” to voters. While people may believe it to be true, they are often not amazing, brilliant, and/or original.
But, sorry, they aren’t.
They’ve been done before. I swear. Someone, somewhere has tried it. Or a version of it.
While it may be fun for the volunteers and supporters, at the end of the day, these passive attempts at voter contact really don’t end up actually contacting many voters and definitely don’t provide measurable data or ways to follow up to make sure the voter actually gets to the polls (which is the whole point of GOTV, but I digress).
So, fast forward to Election Night. Let’s say your candidate wins? Yay! Go team!
However, it won’t be because of a flashmob or signs on an overpass or anything like that.
It will be because organizers are working behind the scenes to have conversations with voters. To ask them about their voting plan, give them information about how and where to early vote, share information about candidate positions. Hell, often they’ll keep calling or knocking until the voter said they voted or just starts to ignore the contact attempts. (and spoiler alert: you’re talking to supporters, or should be, they aren’t gonna not vote for your candidate because of the GOTV calls)
This activity cannot be done via *insert random passive idea* here. It requires direct connections.
You can’t persuade via a flashmob. You can’t give a person a vote by mail form when they are speeding by you on the freeway while you stand on an overpass. Those things really only do one thing – get people to recognize a brand, but this is not the end all, be all of campaigns. It’s just marketing 101, tbh. And it’s something that should happen *before* GOTV.
Now, some of you may be asking, “but what about the people that don’t or can’t go door to door or make phone calls” or maybe “I want to help, but I live in a deep blue area with no competitive races”. So, I’m going to hook y’all up with some information on various ways people can help during GOTV that either directly help get out the vote or support those getting out the vote.
- Volunteer your time. Go to a local campaign office and sign up for a canvassing or phonebanking shift. Some campaigns may have it so you can make calls from home so you don’t even have to put on pants.
- Donate. Those that can, do. Those that are too busy give money to campaigns to help pay for things that do.
- Bring food/water/supplies to a local campaign office. Campaign workers are working 12+ hour a day during GOTV and tend to eat like crap when they remember to eat at all. Bring a crock pot with something tasty in it or some fruit and veggies. The staff and volunteers will appreciate it.
- House a campaign staffer. This isn’t for everyone, but if you have a spare room, think about offering it up for a staffer that isn’t local to crash for a bit. You don’t see them much anyways.
- Download the Vote With Me app. Just head on over to https://votewithme.us and get the app. It allows you to reach out to your contacts from all over and make sure they have the most accurate information on where/when to vote. Plus, you’re helping remind them to vote so helping the team.
- Vote early if you can. If you vote early, the campaign then doesn’t have to spend time continuing to reach out to you and can focus on others that still need to vote.
- Help with election protection. Often times a candidate or campaign will need lawyers or law students to help make sure that people aren’t wrongly told they can’t vote. This helps keep on-going voting suppression efforts at bay.
I’m sure there are other ways that I’m forgetting right now, so add them in the comments below. But remember kids, it has to either be something that actively and directly contacts voters OR something that supports those doing such things.
Now is not the time to be passive. Our democracy depends on it.
(Psst. . .Visit https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote to get information on voting.)
Note: I apologize in advance if I misuse any terms – not my intent. If I am misusing any terminology, let me know and I will make the necessary edits.
I received an email today from the Minnesota Republican Party encouraging me to contact my legislator to encourage them to support the Student Safety and Physical Privacy Act (HF 1546). Now, I’m used to being on the opposite side of the Minnesota Republican Party (MnGOP) on most things. However, I am not used to their logic being so just. . .nonsensical that it makes me head hurt and inspires me to write a blog post. Well, congrats MnGOP, today you did just that.
In the email, their reasons why this bill should pass are as follows:
“- Ensure that schools continue to provide bathrooms and locker rooms separated by biological sex.
– Ensure schools can meet individual student needs who are uncomfortable using the facility that corresponds with their biological sex by providing access to a private, faculty, or other facility.
– Protect all students’ basic physical safety and privacy rights when in personal intimate settings.
– Protect the current status of girls’ athletics.
– Maintain local control by school boards, and policy oversight by the legislature, with regard to transgender accommodations.”
Now, to be fair, I’m not on the opposite side on all of these points.
Should we “Protect all students’ basic physical safety and privacy rights when in personal intimate settings.”
Absolutely, without a doubt.
And I’m totally in support of local schools districts taking a stand in this policy area, just like the St. Paul Public Schools did earlier this week. Good on you, St. Paul School Board, for being a leader on this issue.
However, let’s look at the points where I think MnGOP logic fails.
Here are some cameraphone #protips to kick off 2015. You can thank me later.
1. If you don’t look your best in a selfie (remember to hold the phone with your arm extended above your head for the most flattering angle), or it is not in focus, or your finger is in front of the camera – just take another! No shame in aiming for your best look in each and every selfie!
2. Clean off your cameras on the regular. There are likely fingerprints on it, which leads to smudgy photos. This includes the forward facing one.
3. FOCUS. Before you click, select your focus point. Please.
4. If it is super blurry – consider not posting. While your moment across the room from the President may have been amazing, the crappy blurry photo that makes him look like a blob doesn’t really help us be in the moment with you.
5. Background awareness. Make sure you aren’t capturing anything uber-awkward in the background of your photo. You don’t want to end up on a Buzzfeed list of the most inappropriate photo backgrounds of all time, do you?
6. Just say no to the selfie stick.
7. Choose your filters wisely.
8. Don’t auto cross-post – except at times from Instagram to Facebook. Since Twitter no longer shows Instagram photos in Twitter streams, people may not click to look at your masterpiece.
9. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t overshare.
10. Have fun. Explore. Share you world with others!
The tightrope that I’m walking just sways and ties.
The devil, as he’s talking, with those angel’s eyes.
And I just wanna be there when the lightning strikes.
And the saints go marching in
And sing slow it down,
Through chaos as it swirls,
It’s us against the world.
Right now I am, for lack of a better world, struggling. I feel as if everything is moving quickly and I just can’t keep up.
Now, this is not to say things are bad for me right now – in fact things are pretty decent. However, I keep running into large and dominant road blocks when I try to do things; if it isn’t writers block, then it’s no motivation, lack of creativity, exhaustion, too many ideas, lack of tools needed, the list goes on and on.
Now I read a question posed once about creativity and whether everyone is given a certain amount and once you use it up, it’s gone.
I surely hope this isn’t the case.
Without creativity, a lot of what makes me me would be lost. The thought of this makes me worry since I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to discover who I am and what makes me happy. Now is not the time to have all of that crumble.
And if we could float away,
Fly up to the surface and just start again.
And lift off before trouble just erodes us in the rain
Just erodes us in the rain
Just erodes us and see roses in the rain
Sing slow it down
Slow it down
Through chaos as it swirls,
It’s us against the world.
Through chaos as it swirls,
It’s us against the world
I can’t force it. That will only make things worse. I need to just be in the moment and seize opportunities. Forcing it or dwelling on my lack of creativity and motivation will only make me angry and frustrated – causing the whole cycle to repeat and get worse.
I need to process my thoughts and emotions. I need to get outside and get fresh air. I need to just stop living inside my head. I can’t force this either. It really seems like a lose/lose.
But if it is one thing I know, is that I’ve been here before and I’ve made it through. I can do it again, I just need to have a little patience and faith.
Quotes are from Coldplay’s “Us Against the World”