How to help get out the vote without stepping outside my front door?
October 13, 2018 12:36 AM   Subscribe

I want to volunteer to help elect Democrats this month. Due to both some social anxiety and a knee issue, I don't want to do the door to door thing. I've read there's ways to volunteer for campaigns that basically involve just texting people--that sounds ideal to me. How do I plug in like that?

A couple more details--I live in Portland, OR, so it probably makes the most sense to volunteer for campaigns in OR or WA. I want my efforts to matter though, so I'd like to be part of working for a competitive but winnable race for Team Blue. I also grew up in Michigan (and still have a Michigan phone number) so could imagine volunteering for a campaign there as well. Hell, maybe doing both.

So what are some potential campaigns to volunteer for in this way and how do I connect with them and sign up?
posted by overglow to Law & Government (14 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you don’t mind spending a little on postcards and stamps, you can sign up for postcards to voters: here.
posted by tinymegalo at 12:40 AM on October 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

A friend was just talking about signing up to text for the ACLU, which might fit your requirements.

Also, I'm on the Get Her Elected list, which tries to connect progressive female candidates with volunteers in needed areas. There's a biweekly email letter that goes out with information: "[Candidate] from [district] is looking for volunteers to help [write letters to the editor/do data entry/advise about facebook advertising]," as well as how much time they're asking for, and you volunteer for specific candidates to fill specific needs, which I like.
posted by mishafletch at 1:22 AM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Are you open to making calls? I live in Michigan and have done some canvassing for Elissa Slotkin in the MI 8th - it has a Republican incumbent and 538 currently has it as a 50/50 toss up. You can sign up to make calls from home here - I'm planning to do some too.

I've actually signed up to volunteer with three local-ish House candidates and the Slotkin campaign has been by far the most organized, which makes me feel especially good about supporting it.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:39 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check out Vote With Me, which will help ID folks you know in swing districts, giving you a chance to reach out to friends and remind them to vote.
posted by rdn at 5:58 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Postcards to Voters!
posted by amro at 6:00 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Vote Forward is sending letters to voters, they claim it’s more effective than postcards.
posted by triscuit at 7:02 AM on October 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

MoveOn is textbanking for progressive candidates. Sign up here.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:12 AM on October 13, 2018

Best answer: I'm just getting started with this myself, so I defer to any experts, but here's what I've found. (I'm mostly a Postcards to Voters gal myself, but we need something to do that last weekend when it'll be too late to send postcards!)

Here's a list of organizations doing text banking for progressive candidates and issues.

I signed up with Red2Blue, and I know they're texting for some Michigan races (including Elissa Slotkin) this weekend.

As far as I can tell, most of the texting organizations work by having a Slack workspace where you get trained and get assignments and ask questions, and then the texting all happens via a Relay account for the specific candidate (YouTube demo of Relay). You don't use your own phone/number. It's usually during specific timeslots.

Some campaigns/groups are organizing their own texting; here's a signup for NV Dems doing get out the vote (including for Jacky Rosen!).
posted by teditrix at 7:35 AM on October 13, 2018

Indivisible also has a text-banking program that works like teditrix says. It seems like their website requires you to sign up before it will let you in, so it wouldn't be a useful link here, but they have chapters all over the country. I recommend that you find a meeting in your area and go once, to get trained on the software (it's a little more complicated than you'd expect) but once you get the hang of it, it works pretty well. It's mostly automated but you still have to read a bunch of shitty responses and decide how to deal with them, mostly based on a bunch of canned texts that you can modify. Also, my trainer had some good advice: pick a gender-neutral or masculine screen name, unless you want to get a bunch of dick pics. I find it quite stressful, actually, dealing with a bunch of assholes who have nothing better to do than troll volunteers. They don't know who or where I am, so I'm not worried about real-life harm, but just knowing I share a country with these shitheads is extremely disheartening.
posted by Quietgal at 8:36 AM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

The below are all things I've personally done and had good experiences with:

You may be aware that there is a super important voting rights measure on the ballot in MI this year. You can sign up with ACLU People Power to make calls and texts for that issue.

Working Family Party has texting for progressive candidates in key races in many states. You can pick which one(s) you want to help with. Sign up.

Beto O'Rourke has a huge texting campaign going on. Sign up here.
posted by juliapangolin at 8:58 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Crush the Midterms helps you find ways to volunteer, including texting.
posted by mogget at 12:20 PM on October 13, 2018

Best answer: Excellent, Overglow! Did you know there are competitive (like, first-time competitive) House races in both Washington and Oregon right now?

Washington: Carolyn Long is making a surprisingly strong showing against GOP incumbent Jaime Herrera Butler. Oregon: Jamie McLeod-Skinner has Republican Greg Walden uncomfortable and having to run an actual race in what he took for granted would be a tenth re-election slam-dunk.

If you Google them up, their campaigns will tell you how best to help get out the vote between now and November. The various other avenues of volunteering can be helpful, no doubt, but the campaigns have specific needs and plans for their districts. Email or call them -- and thanks for joining in!
posted by slab_lizard at 9:00 PM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been texting with Open Progress Text Troop this week -- very doable-from-couch and they have a variety of close races to text for (including important but often overlooked stuff like Attorney General)
posted by anotherthink at 9:06 AM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's already happened this year, but xoxo conference is fascinating!
posted by fragmede at 1:38 PM on October 21, 2018

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