Vote Save America
May 28, 2020 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Vote Save America, a project from Crooked Media, has developed the Adopt A State program, which allows Americans in blue states (and elsewhere) to help win the Senate and White House in 2020 by working remotely to help get out the vote and support Democratic candidates in additional ways.

"Adopt A State lets you directly support the work of organizers, volunteers, and candidates in the six key battleground states that will be most important to winning a progressive majority in 2020: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina.

"When you sign up to Adopt A State, you’ll get specific calls to action—things you can do yourself, from home, right now—that will make a huge impact in these states, and ultimately on Election Day. We’ve spent months working with state parties, political strategists, and progressive organizations on the ground in each state to find out how we can have the biggest impact, and how to mobilize during a pandemic. Everything we ask our community to do will be informed by ongoing conversations with these partners, as well as the Biden campaign.

"This election year will be unlike any other we’ve experienced. The pandemic we’re living in has already changed how candidates are able to campaign, volunteers are able to organize, and all of us will be able to vote. But we created this program to be entirely remote so that everyone, regardless of where they live/vote/are quarantined, can make a difference in races up and down the ballots in the places where results will be the closest."
posted by Bella Donna (30 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saw this yesterday and signed up for Michigan, which is where my inlaws live. I haaaaate phonebanking and I have complicated feelings about Joe Biden, but this is where the rubber hits the road. It's time for action to go along with the talk and gnashing of teeth.
posted by kimberussell at 6:41 AM on May 28 [13 favorites]


I live in PA so I appreciate all the help that you blue-staters can give us.
posted by octothorpe at 6:47 AM on May 28 [10 favorites]


Very cool! I signed up for Florida - I'm still angry about 2000 and this is a good way to channel that. I'm a bit surprised that Texas isn't on the list because I've seen suggestions that it might be in play this year!
posted by LSK at 7:15 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


I'd like to sign up for this but I really don't want to get hammered with by-the-minute emails (and texts) from every democratic organization on the face of the earth. Is Crooked Media doing a better job with limiting communication than the democratic party?
posted by photoslob at 7:17 AM on May 28 [7 favorites]



I'd like to sign up for this but I really don't want to get hammered with by-the-minute emails (and texts) from every democratic organization on the face of the earth. Is Crooked Media doing a better job with limiting communication than the democratic party?


+1 . is there any fucking progressive volunteer GOTV organization i can volunteer for who won't sell my fucking cellphone, snailmail and email details to every political spammer in the world? I'm serious. this is an absolute barrier to participation from me.
posted by lalochezia at 7:27 AM on May 28 [23 favorites]


is there any fucking progressive volunteer GOTV organization i can volunteer for who won't sell my fucking cellphone, snailmail and email details to every political spammer in the world?

That is a really great question and a more than reasonable concern by lalochezia and photoslob. I will investigate and get back to the thread when I get a response. I don't want to be spammed, either.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:51 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


Thanks. I made a donation to the Biden campaign a few weeks ago and within minutes I was receiving emails from the dem party. The next day I started receiving text messages addressed to other people. I got so irritated I texted them back that if this was representative of their digital strategy we're all screwed. After that, the texts stopped.
posted by photoslob at 8:05 AM on May 28 [14 favorites]


I'll point out the Sister District Project which takes on state legislatures and combines forces to get out the vote and get people elected in districts where they need the help!
posted by amanda at 8:20 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


A similar and maybe slightly older organization is Swing Left. I did a little with them in 2018, when we flipped a New Mexico congressional district.
posted by NotLost at 8:32 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Text messages addressed to other people are obviously not from the correct data you yourself gave someone. I’ve been doing a lot of volunteer texting for groups like indivisible and the Sierra Club, who often get to their data straight from the voter rolls, and those are full of wrong numbers. Just tell the texter it’s a wrong number or better yet, ask them to stop texting. Each group is legally obliged to opt you out. Note: you will have to do this for every group, and there will be many groups texting this cycle. But seriously, just type STOP.

Also, If you’re truly opposed to phone banking, texting is a great and effective way to reach voters. Give it a try!
.
posted by lemonshush at 8:41 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]


I do not have an opinion about which organization is best. But I have wanted the ability to remotely contribute from Europe and supposedly Adopt A State is fully remote.

Thus far every organization that has texted me has stopped after I have requested it. I am not justifying anyone being spammed via text messages. But the odds are high, if you are a registered voter in a competitive state, that you will get text messages even if you have not signed up for one of these groups.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:51 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


If you’re truly opposed to phone banking, texting is a great and effective way to reach voters.
lemonshush

Is it? I (and seemingly everyone else in the US) already gets an endless daily deluge of spam calls and texts for everything from auto insurance (despite having never owned a car) to erotic services to offers to buy my father's house. These political texts just come across as one more stream of that deluge. You say:

Just tell the texter it’s a wrong number or better yet, ask them to stop texting. Each group is legally obliged to opt you out. Note: you will have to do this for every group, and there will be many groups texting this cycle. But seriously, just type STOP.

Frankly, this just seems like a threat. I'm with lalochezia on this: it's incredibly off-putting and even infuriating. I shouldn't have to "just type STOP" for ten billion different political spammers every day.

The obvious response to the above is "well, then how do we reach people?" I have no idea, but I find it really hard to believe that this actually helps anything and in fact probably harms.
posted by star gentle uterus at 10:04 AM on May 28 [9 favorites]


It seems illustrative that an item on possible ways to mobilize for the coming election has devolved to whether unsolicited texts will harm more than hinder.

People seem to have a lot of reasons to be upset or irritated, but where are the suggestions for something better? The past 20 years seems like a slow march of "Yeah, but (insert the many reasons this is not as good as it could be, or inconveniences me, or whatever)"

Meanwhile, whatever you are against is certainly getting shit done. Believe it.
posted by elkevelvet at 10:22 AM on May 28 [9 favorites]


I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but if I wanted to support organizations that were re-enfranchising ex-felons in Florida, who would I support?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:36 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]


I would be very surprised that campaigns would put all this money into text-banking and phone-banking and canvassing if it didn't work. Surely they've had people study and test this stuff -- the stakes are so high, we're talking about the most powerful office in the world.

Honestly, if getting endlessly spammed is the price of getting this fascist out of office, it's a pretty small one. I get a million of these texts and emails. I either read them or delete them.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 10:40 AM on May 28 [13 favorites]


Pelvicsorcery is right. The reason so many groups are texting this cycle is because the data shows it works. A nudge to remind people to do something gets more people to do it. Getting someone to tell a stranger they will vote, or vote early, or mail in their ballot increases the chances they will actually do so. Texting was an experimental thing in 2017-2018. Not anymore. I am positive I personally got votes in AZ and NV in 2018 that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't texted the voter. And I'm already recruiting far more volunteers in FL by text than I've ever recruited in any election before.

Sorry about the spam. But yes, it's a big part of how we're going to win this thing.
posted by lemonshush at 10:51 AM on May 28 [6 favorites]


I'm reminded of my grandpa's policy about charitable giving, where he'd have a notepad by the corded phone and after he put his donations out for the year the first time a charity called or sent a fancy flyer he'd call them up and request not to be sent more junk. After that if they persisted, he'd keep a tally on that notepad so at the end of the year he could rebalance or cancel next year's donation based on how incapable of respecting his wishes they were.
"If they're just going to spend my donation on expensive flyers asking me to donate even more, they clearly don't have better things to spend it on and I'm better off giving that money to someone who'll do what they intend to do"
Act like spam, get treated like spam.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:00 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, whatever you are against is certainly getting shit done. Believe it.

Why do I get the feeling that this exact same phrase was said with equal confidence in 2016?
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:02 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


I would be very surprised that campaigns would put all this money into text-banking and phone-banking and canvassing if it didn't work. Surely they've had people study and test this stuff -- the stakes are so high, we're talking about the most powerful office in the world.

Canvassing and phone-banking definitely work. Text-banking is a very new thing. As someone who has done all three, text-banking was the most likely to generate an angry response. It wasn't always thus: texting was still a novelty when I first used it on a campaign. This was the summer of 2017, really early in Beto's campaign. The lists were small and pretty well targeted, and the responses were enthusiastic.

Within a year, every campaign here was using it indiscriminately and people were sick and tired of it.

That being said, it's a new tool, and best practices are still kind of up in the air. I think that savvier campaigns will be able to use it effectively, and VSA is definitely well connected enough to be in touch with those groups.

I do think that this kind of labor sharing will be especially helpful in red states with weaker Democratic organizations. A big part of the problem for us in the last campaign was that the Texas Democratic party has been so undermanned and underfunded for for so long that statewide campaigns and local campaigns weren't able to coordinate their lists very well. We had a huge increase in volunteer manpower, but we didn't have the infrastructure to coordinate it the way that larger organizations (i.e. the well-oiled machine that Harry Reid built in Nevada) could . Something like VSA can (potentially) help smaller state organizations get their feet on a solid foundation sooner.
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:10 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


Why do I get the feeling that this exact same phrase was said with equal confidence in 2016?
If you mean to imply by this that it's not worth doing, then, with all due respects, I think it should be pointed out that the implication does not follow logically. Just because it may have been used with enthusiasm in 2016, and perhaps wasn't enough by itself to win the election, does not mean it's not worth doing now. IMHO, the only good reason to avoid a strategy or approach is if there's empirical data that using it has a net negative effect, and it doesn't sound like that's the case for text messages.

Some people will respond to texts messages. Some won't. Some will be annoyed. Some won't. We need multiple targeted interventions because different people respond to different things, and pay attention to different sources.
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:17 AM on May 28 [6 favorites]


Helpful reminder for responding to text spam:

"Fuck off" will probably get filtered automatically.

"Fùçk óff" is more likely to be seen by a human.
posted by Hatashran at 11:32 AM on May 28


+1 . is there any fucking progressive volunteer GOTV organization i can volunteer for who won't sell my fucking cellphone, snailmail and email details to every political spammer in the world? I'm serious. this is an absolute barrier to participation from me.

When I asked the Bernie campaign where they got my name and phone number, they ignored me. A local candidate who also spammed me later came back and actually answered the question (which made me not hate the local guy), and apparently they just get this shit off the voter rolls? Like, my phone number? Really?

I haven't checked that out because there are two million other things occupying my attention, but if that's true, I really, really, really fucking hate it. If someone has your name and you vote, they can get this easily weaponized piece of personal information? Fucking really?
posted by schadenfrau at 12:13 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but if I wanted to support organizations that were re-enfranchising ex-felons in Florida, who would I support?

Spread the Vote helps felons get IDs and then get registered to vote. Not having an ID is a reason why many populations are disenfranchised. I donate to them and get very few emails!!
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:37 PM on May 28 [7 favorites]


When I have gotten political text messages that I did not want to receive, there was always a human volunteer on the other end of the message. This happened several times from different campaigns and the volunteers always apologized and took me off their lists. So telling people to fuck off, in any kind of a font, when they are doing the hard work of political organizing seems like an overreaction to me. It’s unusual for Republicans to text registered Democrats and vice versa, btw. If you really want to shit on people for spamming, how about you work to change the laws after we get the crook and his cronies out of office first.

Are unsolicited text messages and emails annoying to many? Yes. They are also, potentially, among the tools needed to get the children out of cages. So you do you. Either way, I have adopted Pennsylvania and I am going to do every fucking thing I can to help the Democrats take the Senate and the White House come November because of all the known crimes committed and the lives lost and the children stolen from their families and the pollution laws gutted and the billionaires enriched and the pussies grabbed and all the other deeply disturbing acts that we don’t even know about yet that have worked toward destroying our democracy, our people, and other people as well.

TL;DR: Whatever system we have for campaigning is not optimal. But we need to use it because it is still better than Trump.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:54 PM on May 28 [11 favorites]


Text messages addressed to other people are obviously not from the correct data you yourself gave someone.

Um, no. I never gave anyone from ANY of the democratic organizations I've donated to wrong information. I received texts addressed to my daughter AND my wife. I was very nice about letting the person know they had the wrong info and that the whole family was voting blue. I even went so far as to tell them they were doing god's work. I got irritated when I received a text addressed to a random person. Once again, I was nice and corrected them but then the texts didn't stop. Excuse me for being a little perturbed.
posted by photoslob at 2:06 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Phone numbers largely come from companies who are dedicated to ferreting out working phone numbers and matching them to publicly available voter roll information along with any demographic targeting data they can find. Not just things like race and age, but whether you like guns, do you have a dog, the organizations you donate to, etc. It is a big, competitive business and the companies in it generally exclusively market towards the red or blue sides of the aisle. Sometimes campaigns pass your information along to others, but it is also possible that multiple campaigns bought packs of data that have you in them.

(now is a good time to point out that your name, address, your party registration history, and information about the elections you've voted in are all publicly available to whomever wants it. Who you actually voted for is not, but yes, otherwise your private information is out there for anyone who requests access to voter rolls)

I am all for doing whatever it takes to GOTV, but I would like to see more convincing research on the effectiveness of text-banking (really, I would, please post if you have it). "Campaigns use it so it must be effective" is not actually a good enough reason. Anyone who's worked within a campaign can tell you that the people running the show aren't necessarily all that more informed on the research than anyone else, especially in lower level campaigns where there isn't always the money for cutting-edge consultants. Not that fancy consultants equal effective choices, of course. For example, millions still get thrown at television ads despite the fact that in 2020 you can get way more bang for your buck investing that shit into social media.

Hopefully nobody is reading this as shitting on the VSA efforts, because organizations like theirs and Swing Left and Fair Fight and mass coordination of volunteer power is desperately needed. I'm signing up, and by the way, if anyone knows of any campaign that needs volunteers for data jobs you have my ax (well, my computer).
posted by schroedinger at 3:24 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


One note about calls - when I was calling for a campaign, we were instructed to mark hangups with nothing said as "did not answer." But we did really mark people who said "do not call" as "do not call" in the system. So I would recommend saying that, instead of just picking up and hanging up.

Also. for what it's worth, doing phone banking really changed my experience of getting calls. I'd encourage everyone to try it. It doesn't change getting pre-recorded robo calls, but, like working in the service industry, it helped me feel empathy for other people. (And, while I know political spam is intense, there is evidence it does work, and the stakes are huge.)
posted by mercredi at 3:49 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Also, if you've already donated or are already voting for a candidate, say that if you have a second. It's really encouraging to the people doing the calling, and on the largest level, you're on the same team. This might not be the activity you support most, but it's valuable to encourage volunteer efforts for the candidates you support!
posted by mercredi at 3:52 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


BuddhaInABucket: I have given money to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, which was founded by the Florida ACLU and was a major force in getting Amendment 4 even on the ballot. Their president is a pretty amazing guy : NYT article.
posted by bashing rocks together at 8:23 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]


Oh, also--at least when I worked on a campaign it was strictly prohibited to automate text messages unless the person specifically opted in to some sort of notification service. So when you get those messages it is almost certainly a person on the other side. If they sound robotic they're probably working from a prompt.
posted by schroedinger at 2:56 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


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