Twenty-eight days from today, counting today, will be election day. Early voting in Texas starts in 13 days. This is it. Don’t wait any longer to get involved.
At this point, it is all about votes and voters. This will be a close race, so your vote counts.
Here are five things you can do to make an impact in the final month of a campaign, and one thing you shouldn’t do.
1) Block walking
You can read about it in greater detail here, but block walking is incredibly valuable, as one-on-one, personal contact is the best way to increase voter turnout.Visit Wendy Davis Texas and search under the event tab to find a block-walk near you.
2) GOTV calls
Even though block-walking is better, making phone calls to remind people to vote and help them formulate a voting plan is valuable as well.Visit Wendy Davis Texas and search under the event tab to find a block-walk near you.
3) Hand out push cards during early vote / work a precinct on election day
People are more likely to vote if you ask them for their vote, but candidates can’t be everywhere at once. Be polite, be helpful, smile, and ask people to vote for your candidate.Contact your local Democratic Party office or the campaign you support to volunteer. In some places, you might even be able to get paid work at a polling site.
4) Make a contribution
If you don’t have time to give, give money. Actually, give even if you do have time. Texas is a huge state, and campaigns are expensive. Your donation helps pay for other people’s time walking blocks, making calls, working polls, and keeping the campaign running at full strength. Don’t worry if you can’t give much, because it all adds up. Here are some campaigns that would love to have your support:
5) Power Ten!
You will always have the biggest influence on people who know you and trust you. The fabulous Isabel Longoria calls this the Power of Ten. I was a coxswain, however, and a power ten is what you call when you really need to kick things into overdrive. A power ten means push everything you’ve got as hard as you’ve got, so I’m calling a power ten right now.
5A) Make a list of 10 people you know whose politics align with yours but who aren’t as involved in politics as you are. Keep their email & mobile info close at hand.
5B) Invite them to be part of your power ten, which means they will commit to voting and encouraging others to vote.
5C) Ask each person to create a voting plan and share it with you. Studies have shown that talking about when you’ll vote, what day, what location, before or after work, etc., makes it far more likely that someone will follow through.
All you need to get from each team member is something like this: I’ll vote on the 2nd Tuesday of early voting after I drop the kids off at school – I’ll go to the early voting location at Moody Park.
You then write that down and remind them the day before, then check in at the end of the day they planned to vote to make sure they did.
You could pick a few times to go with people, like meeting for lunch, then voting, or voting, then going for drinks. And, if they like to vote on election day, make sure they know where to go, and check the weather the day before so you can warn them if it is going to be rainy, which slows things down and makes people less likely to vote.
5D) Share recommendations or a sample ballot. Often, people report that they don’t vote because they don’t know enough about everyone on the ballot. The people in your power ten trust and know you, so they should be comfortable with your recommendations. Make sure you tell them that:
a) You can vote a straight Democratic ticket with the push of one button.
b) If you vote straight ticket, you can go to an individual race & vote for a candidate from the opposite party.
c) It is OK to skip voting in races you don’t know about OR that don’t have great options, but the straight ticket vote is much more likely to help a qualified candidate get more votes than an unqualified candidate sneak in. Plus, the other side votes a straight ticket, so by skipping races, you’re really helping them.
d) Prop 1 at the end of the ballot is worthy of a yes vote, but you have to vote for it, because the straight ticket won’t pick it up.
I actually fill out a sample ballot for Harris County that I share with friends. Leave your email for me in a comment, or email me if you know that address, if you’d like me to send one to you. I base it on personal knowledge and research, and factor in endorsements from organizations I trust, like Planned Parenthood Texas Votes and the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.
5E) Ask them to engage others. Your power ten people could each commit to taking one person with them to an early voting lunch date, or talking to five people about why Sam Houston and Mike Collier are just as worthy of your vote as Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte. It’s like Heather Locklear said:
The One Thing You Should Never, Ever Do
Don’t assume everyone knows there’s an election coming, or knows about the candidates. Really. They don’t.
Even a quick conversation with the person at the grocery store, or your barber, or your aunt, or a casual acquaintance at a bar some night can have an impact.
- Tell someone that Senator Leticia Van de Putte, a mother of six who owned her own business as a pharmacist, is incredibly well-liked and well-respected in the Texas legislature for being a practical businesswoman who will work with Republicans and Democrats to get the business of our state done. “Lt. Governor is such a critical position. It needs to be someone who all members of the legislature respect, who knows how to keep gridlock from happening. I’m voting for Leticia Van de Putte because everyone knows she will get to work to keep things running smoothly, just like everyone knows her opponent’s favorite word is NO, no matter what the issue is.”
- Tell someone you are voting for Mike Collier for Texas Comptroller because he’s an accountant with significant public and private sector experience, while his opponent is a young farm boy whose only job other than politics was the family business. “I’m voting for Mike Collier because just like I’d want an experienced heart surgeon for my bypass, I want an experienced CPA and businessman to manage our state’s finances.”
- Tell someone that Sam Houston, Attorney General candidate, really is named that AND he’s an experienced, well-respected lawyer who practiced at one of Houston’s top firms before starting his own firm. Say you’re voting for him. “Isn’t it great that we get to vote for someone named Sam Houston and he’s such a well-qualified, well-respected lawyer?! And his opponent committed securities fraud, breaking a law that he helped pass. We can’t have someone like that as our chief law enforcement officer.”
- Tell someone that Steve Brown is running for the Railroad Commission. “With the energy boom we’ve got going, you better believe I’m voting for Steve Brown for the Railroad Commission. That’s the agency that regulates energy issues in Texas!”
What would you add?
Let’s do this. This is how we win.