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General News    H4'ed 10/10/18

Magnify the Blue Wave with 10 Minutes of Armchair Activism

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Activism writing (collage of public domain images)
Activism writing (collage of public domain images)
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I just wrote 10 letters to Democrats I've never met who normally don't vote, encouraging them to go to the polls on Nov. 6th. I've never done anything like that before, but then, I've never lived in times such as thesebefore.

Vote Forward is a novel, all-volunteer, effort offering a quick and easy opportunity to help flip Congress blue by sending letters. The partially handwritten letters encourage low-propensity voters in key swing districts to vote.

Vote Forward writes,

"Letters have proven effective in multiple randomized trials. In Alabama in 2017, we saw a 3.9 percentage point boost in turnout vs. a control group (3.4pp after controlling for age, gender, and other factors, [analysis by Analyst Institute]).

In a larger experiment in the OH12 special election in August, 2018, we

saw a 1.44pp effect [analysis by Annie Wang].

Letters take just 90 seconds each to produce, making letter-writing one of the most efficient uses of volunteer time....

We are carefully targeting letters to voters with the greatest influence on control of Congress. In most cases, (these) voters are less than 75% likely to cast a ballot, but if they do vote, are more than 90% likely to vote for the

Democratic candidate."

Vote Forward is targeting districts "most likely to determine control of the House," noting "We also prioritize districts in states with important senate or gubernatorial races, and districts where we (have) connections on the ground who can help kickstart volunteer efforts...(this process is) Perfect for introverts, stay-at-home parents, and folks who don't live close enough to a swing district to go there and canvas. As one letter-party organizer explained, 'it's better than yelling at the TV!'"

Recently the pool of volunteers jumped from about one thousand to over 10,000 when an article ran in the Daily Kos and 9,000 of their readers signed up. Two of the 28 target districts have been completed ahead of schedule.

Handwriting (cropped)
Handwriting (cropped)
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Vote Forward noted today, "For obvious reasons (ahem, SCOTUS), many of you have expressed an interest in writing letters to North Dakota and Nevada. Today we purchased data for voters in North Dakota, and for one of the competitive districts in Nevada (which of course helps with an important Senate race as well)...We hope to have these districts live on the site within the next couple of days. "

Cynics may say otherwise, but one vote can indeed make a huge difference. It did in Newport News, Virginia, last November,when 23,215 people cast their votes for state delegates.

At first, incumbent Republican Del. David Yancey won by 10 votes, but then they had a recount. After the recount, his opponent, Democrat Shelly Simonds, won by 1 vote. There was a big celebration -- Republicans had maintained control of the Virginia House since 2000, and the current balance was 51-49 before Simonds won. Her victory meant that Dems would have more power than they'd had in 17 years.

But the next thing you knew, something not completely clear happened with one of the votes. The judges debated behind closed doors for a couple of hours, and then made an announcement that the results were tied.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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