Texting to GOTV - how does it work? How best to do it?
October 10, 2020 5:29 PM   Subscribe

How does texting to get out the vote work? Is it possible to use a computer rather than a phone?

Can you text using a computer rather than a phone, and the organizer's phone number instead of your own?

What are your personal experiences texting to GOTV?

What are the best text-to-GOTV organizations?

(I don't have enough envelopes on hand to do Vote Forward, although I can do postcards; I've done a lot of phone banking before and everyone HATED being called so much that I really don't want to do it this year.)

Thank you!
posted by kristi to Law & Government (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry - I should add that in general I NEVER text.
posted by kristi at 5:29 PM on October 10

Most organizations use a web-based program that allows you to do it from an ipad or computer, and doesn't require you to use your own phone or phone number. There are also scripts included that make it really easy to respond and engage with texters.

I have been doing a ton of GOTV work via texting this election cycle and really enjoy it. I can get send a pretty solid number in a given week, and while you of course get some nasty responses, I have had a few really good text conversations with people and have helped them figure out how to request their absentee ballot or find their polling place.

Feel free to DM me if you want more info about some organizations to volunteer with!
posted by something_witty at 5:36 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]

I've been texting with the Biden campaign. They're reasonably well organized and there's opportunities every day if you jump on them. It's all done over the computer, and after the initial texts are sent out, it's the kind of thing I can have open in the background while I work on other stuff -- I just check in every few minutes to see if there are new responses.

Most of my conversations range from neutral to pleasant; I haven't had anyone act aggressively awful, though it definitely happens. Some people need help figuring out where to vote or how to get yard signs. Lots more just want to chat about how outrageous this election is. It's pretty satisfying.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 5:57 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]

By the way, you can buy envelopes at the grocery store or Target is you would rather write letters. The Vote Forward letter writing campaign has a mail date of next Saturday so not much time left.
posted by metahawk at 7:30 PM on October 10

Hi! I texted for Biden/Harris for the first time today! I used my desktop computer for all of it and none of the texts were linked to my phone. I was TERRIFIED to jump in and closed the tab three times before just doing it. People who wanted to be removed from the list were mad. But they weren’t mad at ME so I wasn’t bothered. Everyone else was very nice, even if they supported Trump. One guy offered to invite me to a Kanye 2020 FB group, which made me laugh all afternoon. I’ll pull some more names tomorrow.
posted by kimberussell at 7:33 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]

I've been doing Postcards To Voters. It's for Democratic candidates in targeted races. Not sure if that's what you're looking for but mine have included information on voting (specific to that state) as well as the candidates.
posted by 6thsense at 4:59 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

I have been texting with Resistance Labs for the past week and it is super easy and very satisfying! It's done through your computer, not your personal phone, and there are multiple "Get Out The Vote" type organizations that use the service. I volunteer for an hour every day which gives me more than enough time to send 2000 texts and replies as needed. The replies are mostly - "Please take me off your list", "wrong number", some Trump responses, but also lots of "Thank You"s and "I already voted!" I have done texting for BLM in Ohio and Georgia, Get Out the Vote in SC, NC, OH, TX, FL. I like it because it gives people specific info for how to vote by mail, in person early and/or on Election Day and it is specific to where they live. You are supplied with Canned Responses to every possible reply you might get. (Also, it is not overtly Vote Biden, it's focus is getting people to vote, but the texts are to registered Democrats).

You can easily get started at Resistance Labs, again - the training is super simple and quick. Then you will have to create a SPOKE account, that is the program used to actually do the texting. Give it a try, it really is easy! And, thanks wanting to help rid the world of the Orange Turd on Nov 3rd.
posted by pjsky at 8:36 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]

You can text voters through the Open Progress Text Troop. It's all on your computer (in a web browser), and you go through a training and get feedback on your texts. You can choose which programs you'd like to do. Some are persuasion (providing information on candidates), some are GOTV where you provide information about voting times, locations, etc.
posted by cushie at 9:09 AM on October 11

Is it legal for US citizens living outside the US to do this?
posted by inexorably_forward at 10:25 PM on October 11

Thanks to everyone who provided such great, helpful answers!

I signed up with the Open Progress Text Troop and did my first batch today - sent 400 initial texts, got just under 40 replies/conversations. Several very positive interactions, and no one was mean.

I am very happy to have the chance to participate this way.

Thanks to all of you for your help!
posted by kristi at 5:11 PM on October 14 [3 favorites]

I’m texting to people in a purpley-red area and the responses are mixed.
posted by SillyShepherd at 3:49 PM on October 24

The positive responses keep me motivated and the nasty ones make me keep texting additional people.
posted by SillyShepherd at 3:50 PM on October 24

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