Stand Up Straight-34-39

Stand Up Straight                                Robert Creamer         Dec 2009
          Pretitle:  Listen to your Mother      Subtitle:  How Progressives Can Win

C. 34 Conducting a Legislative Campaign Issue Campaign
Filling a Low Pressure Zone  Issue campaigns and probably political movements in general can be thought about the way was because of storms. Everyone has seen the TV weatherman say: "the storm is beginning to get organize," or "the storm is beginning to fall apart," or "this storm is very well organized and packs quite a wallop."
Issue campaigns are the same way -- and to some extent for the same reason. Every low pressure wave in the atmosphere doesn't develop into a powerful storm. Atmospheric forces have to combine to create circulation around the wave that concentrates its power into a storm and causes it to intensify.

The same way with a political movement. A situation must exist that causes some group to perceive that there means are not being met. Then someone or some group organizes a round of this unmet need. If this leadership group is successful then they convince additional groups that there are unmet needs and this attracts a storm of action surrounding them.
By 2007 the public opinion battle to end the war in Iraq was pretty much won. Then President Bush announced his "surge." and USAction got together to create Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI).  He describes the actions taken by this group.

What Will It Take to Win?  The first step is to decide what it will take to win our point of view. In a legislative campaign this means we have to count the number of votes it will take to win including any special considerations such as cloture in the Senate.

Targeting Type -- Changers, Squealer's, Exemplars  In a campaign directed at Congress we generally need to target three types of members. The first are those whose votes we can change -- the changers. The second group are the "Squealer's" whose behavior affects the decisions of others. "Squealer's" react loudly to pressure.  They raise the "subjugation cost" that their leadership has to pay to keep them in line. The final group are the exemplars -- these are targets who become examples for others (remember you don't have to hang them all -- just one in the public square).

Some of our research it has to do with the examination of voting records of the members of Congress, public statements and news accounts about the legislator and his views on the issue in question, the legislator's campaign contribution history, voting history of the Legislature's district, the legislator's work, employment, and business history, an analysis of the latest legislator's personal financial disclosures, Intelligence gathered through personal conversation with those who know the legislator,and first-hand personal knowledge of the legislator himself.

Messaging to Legislators  The messages we send it to legislators depend upon the analysis we have performed in previous step.

Methods of Communicating With Legislators  Our methods of communicating with legislators are generally broken into three categories, very forceful, medium forceful, and less forceful.

Among the very forceful meetings are personal meetings with the legislate or, large "town hall" style meetings with constituents and meetings at the legislator's office. Of particular importance are meetings where the press is involved.

Among the medium forceful meetings are grassroots phone calls to legislators or their offices, individually written letters mailed to a legislator's office, hand delivered position papers, and faxes.

The least forceful methods of communicating our e-mails, form letters, postcards, and petitions.

Systematizing "Grassroots"" Grass Tops" Contact  Interest groups generally think they are doing a good job if they hold meetings of advocates, track legislation, send over position papers, and have a few press events. Unfortunately these activities are only relevant to the members of the group. The most important activity which can result in actual change is communicating directly with the people themselves, the members of Congress, Heads of agencies or whomever. The author presents a list of these which appear on page 286:

Delivering Issue Messages to Voters  The key to effective issue campaigns are field and press operations aimed at voters.  We analyze the perceived self-interest of the voters (or legislators) and then construct a narrative using a variety of media.

Media for Communicating Issue Messages to Voters  Again the author provides a list of over a dozen key techniques for getting issue messages to the voters with the goal being for the voters to then contact their representatives:
Starting Something Is Harder Than Stopping Something  From 1994 until 2007, progressives used all of the legislative techniques they could think of to slow down right-wing initiatives. Since then conservatives have you been using all of the legislative techniques that they could think of to stop progressive initiatives.  Both houses of Congress are getting quite good at this.  It is getting very difficult to get any legislative action in Congress. The author doesn't offer any foolproof ways of getting this done and it is obviously going to be a big problem for years to come.

C. 35 Campaigns Aimed at Government Agencies

Bureaucratic Self-Interests: Don't Make Waves  As a group, bureaucrats do not want problems. If you're running an issue campaign aimed at a decision-maker who is a bureaucrat the major goal is to convince the target that you will cause him more trouble if he doesn't do what you want and the trouble he will face if he does do what you want.

Protecting the Budget  A very important bureaucratic self-interest is protecting their budget. Budgets are source of power and prestige in a bureaucracy. To the extent that you have power over the budget in a bureaucracy, you have power over that bureaucracy.

Turf  Bureaucracies tend to be very jealous of their territory, their turf. To the extent that you can act as a buffer between agencies to keep them out of turf wars or the extent that you can help them maintain their turf you are their friend.

C. 36 Campaigns Aimed at Corporation
The Self-Interests of Corporate Decision-Makers  Generally business leaders are simpler than governmental leaders, if you wish to get to a business leader you just need to get to the bottom line and the bottom line in most businesses is controlled by consumers and investors.

Pesticides and Lysol 
Sandwiches at O'Hare Field 
Wal-Mart and the Living Wage 
Sears and US Steel 
Combination Campaigns Aimed at Business
A Combination Campaign Aimed at Business And the Government -- "Save the Swordfish... Try the Pasta"  

These are all examples of how pressure was put on a business, changed the reactions of that business or to gain their assistance in putting pressure on a third organization.

C. 37 Organizations and iTheir Capabilities Progressive victory does not simply imply great messaging and strategy. It also involves great organizing.  It involves creating progressive campaigns and organizations to engage the energy of millions of ordinary Americans in a serious progressive movement.  Organizations are not simply the sum of the individuals who participate in them. All organizations, including political organizations, develop characteristics in and of themselves that heavily impacted their capabilities to achieve goals.  In his book The Innovator's Dilemma, Clayton Christiansen argues that there are three essential factors that affect what an organization can and cannot do: its resources, its processes, and its values.

Resources  Resources are people, things, and assets. They can be recruited, hired, fired, sold, depreciated, or enhanced.  In political terms, an organization's most important resources are its people (employees, leadership, and members), money, name, technology, equipment, information, vendors, and relationships with other political actors.

Processes  In organizations, processes develop as a means to tackle specific problems that the organization normally confronts. When an organization attempts to use processes that were developed to solve one set of problems to solve a different set of problems it may well fail. By their very nature, processes and organizations are developed to perform routine tasks efficiently. They are not meant to change. When the task changes, it is often difficult for organizations to change their processes. In a political context, processes are the patterns of interaction, coordination, communication and, and decision-making through which the organization alters the behavior of those who it would seek to influence.

Values The values of any organization are the criteria by which decisions about priorities are made. In political organizations, these include the value is used to determine the types of goals the organization seeks to achieve, those whose behavior attends its attempts to influence, the processes it emphasizes, where it spends its money, and the tactics it considers most effective.  An organization's values can become embedded in its culture, and that makes them very hard to change, especially when the organization is confronted with tasks for which its values are inappropriate.

The Importance of Culture The processes and values of an organization come to define organizational culture. An organization's culture is defined by stories, heroes, role models, mentors, and above all, the kind of "transforming leaders" discussed in section 4.

In the early stages of an organization's history, much of the organization's capabilities reside in its resources, especially it's people. As an organization grows and gains experience, the locus of its capabilities shifts towards its processes and values. An organization's processes and values -- its culture -- exist independently of the people within it.  Culture becomes a characteristic of the organization that can only be changed with great difficulty and the intense focus of the organization's top leadership. On the other hand, it is critical to create a strong culture in order to succeed over the long run. For an organization to become large, powerful, and effective, you can't rely on the wisdom of a few organizational founders. You have to have a broadly shared culture that defines the organization itself. One of the reasons why many progressive organizations and startup businesses are successful at first and then "flameout" after a short while is their failure to create a strong culture of processes and values that move the locus of the organization's capabilities from a small group of people to the culture of the organization itself.

C. 38 The Qualities of Great Organizers  What entrepreneurs are to business, political organizers are to political organizations.  There are two categories of organizational values that are almost always critical to create effective political organizations.  They are:
Thinking like an Organizer  "thinking like an organizer" needs to spread throughout the organization.

Understanding Self-Interest  Organizers need to be very good at decoding people's self interests, and picking up the signals that allow them to understand what motivates other people.

Assessing the Capability of the Individual to Become Involved  Once an individual has been identified and their self interest has been determined, then the organizer needs to assess their ability to perform the needed tasks. Do they have the financial ability to donate money, do they have the time and skills to do data entry, would they be good at voter contact?
Meaning Is the Greatest Metaphor  Organizers need to understand that most of their staff members bring to separate needs to the organization. There is the need to be a part of something bigger than themselves as well as the need to stand out and play an important personal role.
Being an Agitator  Going back to our early definition of an organizer, an agitator is someone who rubs raw the source of discontent. Their task is to bring into the consciousness of individuals the injustices that people have learned to take for granted, ignore, or look past. Agitators keep us slightly on edge -- in motion. They dispel complacency. To think like an organizer some part of you has to be an agitator.

One Step at a Time -- Take Them to the 95th St.  An organizer is not going to convince anyone to take over a campaign without preparation.  It's going to take a lot of individual steps. A first step may be something as simple as "Come with me while I talk to John James, I think he may support our candidate."  After doing this once or twice he may have feel comfortable in being the one who does is speaking. Using such incremental steps it won't be long until you have the trainee going out and training others.

Repeated, Persuasive Contact  You can't just ask once, you need to invite people to meeting his multiple times, remind the press daily of upcoming events.
The Art of the Ask
  People like to be asked. If you're running for public office, ask people to vote for you, ask people what they think of the problems of the day, ask, ask, ask.
Listing  The other half of asking is listening. The more people say and the more relatively intelligent questions you can ask the more people will identify with you and think that you understand and care about the situation.
Closing the Deal Is about Quid Pro Quo  When we ask people we never beg. We always pay them in some currency drawn from their self interests. It may be to get out and socialize, it may be to get together others who have the same interest as they do, or what ever. The important thing is that you do something for them and they do something for you.
Building Relationships  The art of an organizer is building relationships.  It's having a warm smiling face asking people about their lives, their kids, their teams, whatever. When chips are down you are much more likely to get help from a friend rather than from a stranger.
There Is No Such Thing As Apathy  Saul Alinsky said "There is no such thing as apathy -- only bad organizers." It is our responsibility to organize others, not their responsibility to volunteer their services.
Excellence in Execution  Issue or electoral campaigns are much more prone to fail because of poor execution than they are because of poor strategic or message decisions.
Pride in Teamwork The first factor is pride and teamwork. We need to be proud of each other and of our organization. We need to make sure that our job is done well and we need to be able to feel that every other job is done well at the same time.
Focus  As campaigns move towards their conclusion there are always thousands of distractions. At times like this you need to focus on what needs to be job done and what your task is in this overall process. Without suitable practice at this the distractions take over and we tend to lose our ability to pay attention to the important signals.
You Are the Message  In election campaigns, the campaign tends to become part of the election. If the campaign is the exciting, inspiring, fun to be a part of -- people tend to think the that the candidate is exciting, inspiring fun to be with etc. However if the campaign is boring, unwelcoming, and no fun -- people will start thinking that the candidate is a boring, unwelcoming and no fun. These attitudes will very quickly spread and the press will pick up on them.
A Winning Attitude  Excellence in Execution Requires a Culture Designed to Produce Winners.  It is critical that an organization have a culture that always encourages a winning attitude and never allows a losing attitude to spread. Successful organizations create systems designed to produce winners they celebrate winning when it occurs and set goals so that most people can be successful.
Flexibility  It is essential that we plan how our campaign will proceed and allocate our resources appropriately but it is also doubly essential that we realize that when the ground rules change our plan will have to change also. We need to understand that our plans must be flexible enough to change almost daily if that's what it takes.

No Whining  Fine, no Whining.

Nuts and Bolts  Excellence in politics is more about nuts and bolts than grand strategies or plans. It's about carefully and correctly executing the voter ID and GOTV plans. It's about the people who tell you why they can't achieve a goal and those who actually achieve them, we don't want to know why something can't be done. We are looking for people who can find a way to succeed.

Discipline  One of the keys to successful execution of issue and political campaigns is to break the project down into doable parts and execute each discrete part with rigor and discipline. Individuals working on their own times by their own selves may or may not get the job done, but whole group working in a phone bank or other organized setting will greatly increase your productivity for most people.

Year Round Door to Door   The author describes his meeting with Marc Anderson in 1973. Marc had been a successful door-to-door businessman and had some ideas as to how he could raise money going door-to-door. He was quite successful and this formed of the basis for fundraising for many groups over the years including Citizen Action, Public Interest Research Groups, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and many others.

That Which Is Not Measurement Measured Is Not Done  The author has been in political organizing for many years and one of the lessons he has learned is "That which is not measured is not done. If you set out to accomplish something, but don't include some manner of measuring how much you are accomplishing, the job will not get done.
Rules about Measurement .

Accountability  Hopefully organizations need to establish procedures that can assure accountability. They have to have values that emphasize its importance.  These must be institutionalized from the first day. This accountability must hold for all members of the team, the leadership must be accountable to those below them, those at a given level need to feel that his immediate team members are accountable to him and he is accountable to them, and those at the bottom and need to feel that management is doing its job and working for the organization, not just for themselves. If these feelings of accountability do not hold for all members of the organization, the organization will be not nearly as effective as it could be.
The Values and Procedures of Effective Organizations Encourage the Use of Positive Reinforcement And Intrinsic Motivation 
Positive Reinforcement is the most efficient way of changing people's behavior.  Negative reinforcement will change behavior, but most often you have no way to know which way it will be changed. There are a number of rules for providing an effective positive reinforcement:
Positive Reinforcement Rule # 1: It should be specific -- it should reward concrete action. Rewarding achievement of a concrete goal is more effective than rewarding overall performance.
Positive Reinforcement Rule # 2: It should be immediate, the closer the reward is in time to the action rewarded, the better.
Positive Reinforcement Rule # 3: Reward small wins as well as large ones. There are a lot more small wins than there are large wins, which have a tendency to go to management.
Positive Reinforcement Rule # 4: Intangibles like leadership attention are important forms of positive feedback. Making people feel important is an especially significant form of positive reinforcement.
Positive Reinforcement Rule # 5: Unpredictable and intermittent reinforcements work best. A volunteer the week is good.
Positive Reinforcement Rule # 6: Small rewards are sometimes more effective than large ones. Small special rewards that are spread around are generally better than one large award that goes to one person.

Inspiration Leads to Self Motivation Accountability rules written on paper are essential but not sufficient.  The attitude must be internalized.  Volunteers walking in the door must be treated well, they must be well-trained, questions must be answered in a positive manner, and they need to be thanked both formally and informally with refreshments, briefings on the campaign, and why this election and their help is so important.

Great Political Organizations Move People into Action  Excellence in execution requires a culture that prioritizes putting people into motion.

The Culture of Great Political Organizations is Fun  Great organizations are about relationships and team-building.  Both are forged in informal get-togethers and social time. The bonds of relationship and sense of team may be nurtured in the soil of hard work, but the fertilizer you want to add to the mix is fun.

Turning Negatives into Positives  Politics involves contests. In the contest, you always have a set of strengths and weaknesses. But the traits that are strengths in one context may be weaknesses in another.  A good organizer is constantly searching for opportunities to turn negatives into positives. In many cases this depends upon how the trait is framed and positioned.

Hire for Attitude and Train for Skill  Generally it is easier to train for skill than it is to change ingrained attitudes or habits.

The Cultural Foundation for Progressive Success 
The building blocks of a culture of successful progressive organizations, and for a progressive movement are a) Thinking like an Organizer, and b) Excellence in Execution.

The Role of Progressive Leaders   In order for progressive organizations to succeed we need transforming leaders. And these transforming leaders must be scattered throughout the organization, not just candidates and public officials. To be an effective transforming leader requires two attributes:

Believability  To be believable you have to be able to competently perform any tasks that you ask others to do.
Excitement is provided by purpose. Purposes provided by leaders who communicate the intrinsic meaning of the required tasks and appeal to their followers own need for meaning and purpose. Purpose is communicated by teachers.   

Building Progressive Institutions

To institutionalize is to infuse with value beyond the technical requirements of the task at hand.
The institutional leader is primarily an expert in the promotion and production of values.

C. 39  An Example of the Importance of Organization --  Campaign Field Operations  Television was first used in a political campaign in Connecticut in 1950. It was next used in Eisenhower's campaign for president in 1952. Since then most of the money spent on political campaigns has been spent for television. Since that time there has been a huge expansion in the political consulting business.  The author feels that this has been a huge mistake. This centralization of political power was aided and abetted by the demise of big-city patronage-based organizations during the 1970s and 1980s. Since 2002 this trend has begun to reverse itself but there are still many entrenched self-interests that tend to prevent the allocation of resources that are necessary to fight the imbalance.  Unfortunately, changing the culture of movements and organizations is much more difficult than changing personnel.
Why Are Field Operations Critical?

1) Fully half of the target voters whose behavior can be changed in most campaigns are low propensity voters who would support our candidate if they were motivated to vote.

One study showed that the first and second attempts to contact voters improved voter turnout by 11% to 12% each. Additional contract by live phone calls increased actual turnout by 3.6%. The most effective times to can contact voters turned out to be the day before the election and on election day.  GOTV campaigns on television or radio are virtually useless. At best they motivate the opposition's candidates equally as well as yours and at worst there may be something in your presentation that actually increases the likelihood of the opposition candidates supporters voting.  The only time when television GOTV campaigns have any likelihood of succeeding is when the audience is greatly segmented such as ads on Black Entertainment Television or Spanish-language television.

2)  Door-to-door and volunteer-based phone operations are enormously powerful "persuasion" media.

If candidates are very well known, voters may have made up their mind prior to election day. As a corollary to this, voters who are not well known such as the typical candidate for judicial offices or town and county candidates are probably not known to the majority of the electorate and a last-minute personal appeal may well be the most significant factor in their decision to vote for or against this person.

  3) Field operations put people in motion.

Good field operations in a congressional district will have 1500 to 2000 volunteer participants by election day.  By the time all of these people vote, and their families, and their friends, you have a large number of votes for your candidate without any formal campaign work. In many cases this in and of itself will be sufficient to tilt the campaign in your favor.

High-Intensity Field Operations in Electoral Campaigns  In some cases field operations have a very simple goal, Get Out The Vote. At times this is enough, as when you have a large population of voters who will support your candidate but are very unlikely to go to the polls. In most campaigns, however, the field operation has five key missions:

1) ID  Identify enough voters to win the election.
2) Persuasion Persuade undecided voters through person-to-person contact.
3) GOTV  Get out the vote.
4) Candidate Advance To find and staff candidate appearances that provide opportunities to recruit volunteers and mobilize voters.
5) Voter Registration Register new voters who are likely to vote for our candidate.

Organizing a High-Intensity Field Operation  
  • Find an experienced Field Director who will manage day-to-day operations.
  • The Field Director will report to the Campaign Manager.
  • The Field Director should be supported by a senior consultant and he should have a skeletal staff of 10 to 15 full-time paid organizers.
  • Preferably these field organizers should be interested in pursuing a political organizing career and want to develop organizing experience.
  • And as previously mentioned key hires for attitude and trains for skill.
  • The organizers should be prepared to work 14 hours a day seven days per week for at least 17 weeks prior to the elections.
  • Preferably they should come from out of town so that they will not have a life outside of the election.
  • Before they go on duty the organizers have a five day training program and an orientation to the campaign and the District as well as spending some social time bonding as a team.
  • Finally, they received terse assignments and specific quantitative goals for volunteer recruitment, voter registration, voter IDs, sign placement, and other elements of the early field operation.
  • Systems are set up to measure every aspect of the campaign operation every day.
  • Nightly reports on performance go to the campaign management and support staff.
  • It is emphasized from the first day that everyone is expected to meet standards of performance every day.
  • Those who do don't are released. It is critical to maintain standards.

The Field Plan  Every operation needs a carefully prepared field plan, this includes:

The field plan also includes:
Building the Volunteer Organization  Volunteers don't generally organize themselves. Full-time organizers are usually necessary to create a highly structured volunteer operation. Field organizers begin by enlisting volunteers into the field organizations for their sector. They need to be given lists of potential leads in the area and instructed as to how to find additional leads in the community. Early leads include previously identified activists, the candidate's family, party officials, and constituency group leaders. Field organizers should of course look especially hard for the four major groups of communicators: connectors, mavens, salesmen, and leaders. The steps necessary to build a volunteer organization include:
The purpose of the one-on-one meetings is to analyze the individuals self-interest, assess his capability to become involved in the effort, and obtained a commitment from him to take the first steps towards involvement in the campaign. It is also intended to get further referrals for additional leads. No organizer or should ever leave a meeting without a list of potential new recruits.
Recruiting Volunteers -- Why Do People Volunteer for Campaigns?  People volunteer for campaigns for numerous self interests, some of these are:
From the organizers point of view there is no one "best" reason get in a campaign. All of them are good reasons. The organizers job is to identify a self-interest that the campaign might address and make an implicit or explicit arrangement with prospective volunteer in exchange for some level of participation. The organizer must listen to the person and if it is appropriate offer her a position in the campaign. The potential worker must feel that he has something to gain from participating, it must be a quid pro quo agreement.
What Do You Ask Potential Volunteers to Do?  Every campaign is a hierarchy of needs for volunteers, generally involve things like:
There are many other volunteer roles in a field organization, these are only a few of the important ones. You would want to start a new volunteer towards the bottom of the list until they have proved themselves and wish to become more deeply involved.
Closing the Deal  Getting someone to participate in the campaign involves exactly the same elements as closing any sale, some of the keys are:
  1. Always be asking
  2. Engage their self interest
  3. Know before any meeting with a prospective volunteer what you want to ask them to do
  4. Follow the hierarchy of volunteerism
  5. Use silence. It is your friend
  6. Always get a "real commitment".
  7. Review the commitment before the meeting ends so there is no misunderstanding.
  8. Recontact the prospective volunteer to remind her of the commitment before the agreed date
  9. Routinized Activity
  10. Once someone has indicated that they're willing to volunteer, contact him within 24 hours
  11. Make contact with every volunteer work in the organization at least once per week
  12. Always treat every volunteer with respect
  13. Celebrate short-term victories
  14. Never hesitate to hold a volunteer accountable, if you don't hold them accountable they will not believe that their work is important
  15. Don't ever say no for anyone
  16. Never stop looking for leaders, remember that leaders have followers
  17. Investment in training is never a waste of time
  18. Keeping people motivated requires regular contact
Structuring the Field Operation  There is no set organizational structure that is appropriate for all campaigns. The only feature that is common to all is that they all must be highly accountable.  It is the responsibility of all supervisors and coordinators to make sure that the actual work of the campaign it's done every day. However it is not just their responsibility to receive reports. It is their responsibility to recruit volunteers, motivate them and ultimately get the job done in their areas one way or the other. The culture must always be about accountability and excellence in execution, getting the job done.

Executing the Plan -- Voter Registration  Although it costs less to register voters at mass locations, direct door-to-door registration can be preferable in two circumstances:

The Voter ID Canvass  In a Congressional race, both the phone and door-to-door voter ID canvass generally should begin no later than 16 weeks before election day. Each ID canvasser should be comfortable with their "rap". A good voter ID "rap" includes 1) Introduction, 2) ID question, 3) Volunteer ask, 4) Possible Issue ID, 5) Farewell
Pre-Election GOTV Canvasses

Canvass #1 -- Two Months Out  There should be at least two door-to-door GOTV canvases before election day. We should knock on every door in high Democrat precincts and in all other households where we expect there may be Democrats.

Canvass #2 -- 72 hours Out  We should also canvass all voters in the "run universe" in the three days prior to the election. If we have scarce resources we should target mainly the mobilizeable voters. A scrip or rap sheet should be provided to all canvassers as a model for their work, this should include the following elements:

  • Introduction
  • Voter registration question
  • GOTV ask
  • Reiterate GOTV message
  • Second GOTV ask (if necessary)
  • Reiterate GOTV message
  • Third GOTV ask (if necessary)
  • Volunteer ask
  • Farewell
Other Message Methods of Delivering GOTV Messages  Door-to-door contact is the most effective method and has got to be our highest priority but there are other techniques.
  • Phone Calls  These are most effective as supplemental "reminder" contacts. They're most useful if you call once in the evening before the election and one early in the morning of election day.
  • Outdoor and Yard Signs  These serve as inexpensive ways to deliver many repetitions of a simple GOTV message.
  • Targeted GOTV Radio and TV These should only be used for African American or Spanish-language radio and TV, not for the general audiences. Generally they should be delivered in high concentration in the last two weeks prior to the election. 
  • Street Action This is most useful in urban areas, 72 hours before the election. It should be used primarily in concentrated target communities.
  • Sound Trucks This is very similar to Street Action above and should be used in the same manner.
  • GOTV Mail This can be useful but it is the most expensive medium per contact and errors can cost us votes.
  • Institutional GOTV Many African American churches may have "Empowerment Sundays". As nonpartisan churches they cannot formally support partisan candidates, but GOTV campaigns are certainly appropriate.
Election Fairness Operations  
These are tactics that can be used before the election. Robert Kennedy Jr first came up with this list in an article in Rolling Stone magazine.
  • Assure that there are an adequate number of voting machines in all Democratic precincts. With most voting equipment, a precinct should have a minimum of one machine for each 200 expected voters.
  • Check ballot configuration and do whatever is necessary to avoid confusion.
  • Identify precincts where judges of elections have caused problems in the past.
  • Verify the procedures to assure all registered voters are on the rolls.
  • Verify the provisional voting procedure.
  • Set up a legal team for rapid response.
  • Assure that problem precincts have poll watchers in the polling place even if none is necessary to monitor who has voted.
Early Voting in Mail Ballots  
Many states, especially in the West have gone to mail-in ballots.  This spreads out election day to election month.  Most make available the names of people who have voted which gives us the opportunity to directly target those who have not voted yet.  

Preparing for Election Day  When mail-in ballots are restricted a typical Congressional race would require between 1,500 and 1,700 volunteers to run a serious Election Day operation. Our goal for Election Today is to contact each voter up to five times, until the votes -- three times door-to-door and twice on the phone.
At least 80% of election Day volunteers should attend a pre-election day training. This should allow us to achieve three things:
The 72-Hour Drill   In the 72 hours before the election our organization needs to complete six additional tasks:
How Many Volunteers Do We Need?  To get a better estimate than the 1,500 to 1,700 volunteers perform the following steps:
Starting at page 350 there are number of pages of numerical examples, lists of needed supplies, activities, and reporting sheets. It would be best to check the book for these.

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