Best-leverage way to volunteer to "cure" ballots?
October 24, 2020 2:16 AM   Subscribe

Earlier this week, I read an article about the rate at which mail-in ballots are being rejected, which made me sad and scared. Today, I learned about volunteering to help people fix their ballots! I live in a delightfully liberal city, and am primarily worried about the national election, so volunteering with a local organization probably isn't optimal. What's the highest-leverage way to volunteer?
posted by Metasyntactic to Law & Government (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can volunteer to cure ballots in NC, which seems like a pretty high-value activity. I am doing this today and a few more times during the election. See NC Dems Voter Protection. You don't need to live in NC to do this.
posted by jzb at 5:26 AM on October 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Any leads in Pennsylvania? Per this recent post on the blue, PA needs 9 seats to flip its legislature.
posted by jointhedance at 6:59 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I'm doing this! I'm in Iowa, but we have people involved who are calling in from all over the country. I'll DM you the sign-up link. It's through Battleground Iowa, which is the new, fancy name for the combined campaign, which is the official Democratic party operation that helps all the Democratic candidates on the ballot.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:06 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


The answer is definitely not Madison, as you may have guessed: the clerk's office is already doing everything that can be done to avoid having to reject any. I would tend to agree that this likely applies to other similarly-minded municipalities as well.
posted by teremala at 9:08 AM on October 24, 2020


Well, ignore my suggestion. I just sat in on the first effort and 30 minutes in to the first shift they were still training and finally let on they expected people to call from their own phone numbers, and the script asks whether the voter supports Dems before giving curing advice, and to hang up if they say no. I realize we're trying to boost Dem turnout, but that doesn't really sit well with me.
posted by jzb at 9:32 AM on October 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


Echoing jointhedance, I would look for voter protection volunteer efforts by the state Democratic party in battleground states where the legislature is up for grabs. State legislative races can hinge on tiny margins where it's a real race against time to cure ballots, and the impact of Dem vs. Rep control will be huge anywhere where it's the legislature in full control of drawing redistricting maps for the next decade. In some of those states there are probably people doing calls to cure early ballots now, but if you have ample free time and ability to sift through results the morning of Nov 4, the biggest bang for your buck might be to train for efforts in a couple of states this weekend, then look at which down-ballot races are too close to call after polls close and go all-in on cure efforts in that location.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:38 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


We do ask people if they're supporting Democrats, and we're supposed to end calls if they say they voted for Republicans. (We continue if they don't want to answer or say they split their vote.) I haven't actually spoken to any Republicans yet, but I find the asking part awkward. If you prefer to be non-partisan, I would look into something like Common Cause. Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to take advantage of early voting, so non-partisan ballot cure operations also end up helping Democrats.
In some of those states there are probably people doing calls to cure early ballots now, but if you have ample free time and ability to sift through results the morning of Nov 4, the biggest bang for your buck might be to train for efforts in a couple of states this weekend, then look at which down-ballot races are too close to call after polls close and go all-in on cure efforts in that location.
Yeah, we're calling about mail-in ballots. There are some typical mistakes that people make with mail-in ballots: usually, they forget to sign the outside of the envelope, which invalidates the ballot. In Iowa, they need to cure their ballots before the election. There might be some states where it would be useful to volunteer after election day, but here, we need people right now.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:47 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


finally let on they expected people to call from their own phone numbers

While I can understand why asking about Dem support before advising people feels totally wrong (and I don't think I'd want to do those calls either!), for anyone it does appeal to who isn't comfortable with using their own phone number one can get a google voice number to use for this -- though it would definitely be better if the organization suggested this to people.
posted by yohko at 12:51 PM on October 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


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