How to Help Win the November Election

We at MWR hope you enjoyed the Labor Day Holiday. We did. We took a walk in the mountains and spent time with the family. We checked our voter registration on the Secretary of State’s website. We donated some money to the most important in-state races and a few out-of-state races that have captured our imagination. We called a friend from a state where we used to live and asked about the long shot chances of a candidate running against a truly terrible Senate incumbent. (In the end, we sent the dark horse a small check; it is important to compete everywhere if only to keep the message alive.) Finally, we sat down with our calendar to mark off a few hours every week between now and Election Day to work on behalf of local and state candidates who are carrying our hopes this November 6. Let’s talk about what that “work” can look like.

While this election is a referendum on Donald Trump, it will be won by local and regional candidates. The work at hand is obvious – support local voter registration initiatives, volunteer to canvass and make phone calls and, donatenow!to local Democratic candidates. Everyone can do something to help secure at least one house of Congress. Here are some of the options.

Volunteer to Register Voters

This is good work that does not involve any particular political skill. In fact, there is no political campaigning involved in voter registration. A person joins an approved voter registration drive, takes the clipboard with the official forms and signs up unregistered voters. It is generally inappropriate to mix campaign messaging with registration; every eligible person should be signed up. This is a great activity for first time volunteers or for folks who are a bit shy.

Every state has multiple ways to register to vote – whether it is automatic registration when you get your driver’s license, same day registration at the polls or the circulating petitioner at the farmer’s market – this is the first step to registering an opinion on election day. Because Americans move so frequently and because Republican efforts at purging voter rolls have removed millions of people from the official voting rolls there is a constant need for registering new voters, checking the registration for those who believe they are signed up and re-registering those who have fallen off the official rolls.

Voter registration is a simple process, but it follows strict rules set by each state. A quick check of our Secretary of State’s website indicates 120+ approved Voter Registration Drives. Be sure that the group that you are working with is registered and operating according to the rules.  Beyond that it is a relatively easy task. The registration drive organizers will point you in the right direction to encounter potential voters. Be careful to follow the instructions about the proper way that the forms must be filled out. And enjoy meeting your fellow citizens.

Canvassing for Candidates

Every candidate for office – whether it is US Congress, Governor, Secretary of State or State legislature - needs volunteers to canvass voters in the months before the election. Your local Democratic Party organization and many issue groups – Flippable, Let America Vote, NAACP, Voto Latino, along with unions - also run canvassing operations. This is a job for people who like to walk and talk to their fellow citizens. 

The sponsoring organization will provide volunteers a list of addresses and people to canvass. The volunteer goes door to door hoping to make personal contact with voters and to collect key information: does the voter support our candidate, do they need any information to help them decide, is their registration information up to date, do they have a plan for voting? The campaign will follow up on this information. The job of the volunteer is simply to collect information and pass it on. This is work that often goes well working in pairs.

Phone and Text Banking 

If walking and knocking doesn’t suit you, phone and text banking can be done from the campaign office and, in some cases, it can be done at home. The campaign organizers or your local Democratic party will provide a list of voters and phone numbers that need to be contacted along with a script that directs your conversation. Once again, you are trying to identify supporters and undecided voters. When you get a Trump true believer on the line you can hang up – politely.

Answering Phones, Making Coffee, Setting Up and Tearing Down

Many political organizations run on volunteer office help. Pick a campaign you care about or a party headquarters in your area and ask what you can do for them. Feel free to say “I’ll do X but don’t feel comfortable doing Y.” The tasks are many, the skill levels vary but anyone can find something to do around the campaign office. You will meet people who share your values and contribute by keeping the more visible activities going. It is often an added bonus that while there is no pay, a good campaign organization treats its volunteers like found gold.

One Final Call to Action

Keep calling your Senators - no matter who they are – insist that Brett Kavanaugh must never sit in judgment of Donald Trump and his illegitimate presidency. He must state unequivocally that he would recuse himself from any and all cases involving investigations of Donald Trump.