While I’ve become convinced that there’s a great value in reminding voters of the need to vote, I still think they get inundated with robocalls and DNC calls and state party calls and statewide candidate calls and individual district candidate calls and city council candidate calls that there becomes a certain law of diminishing returns.
This is not at all true when you’re calling the family and friends who are in your cell phone. You know them, you know how to talk to them, you can cajole and persuade and yell at them to get to the polls. And the message will be received more strongly. Word of mouth is the greatest form of advertising you can deliver. While people will tune out many of the traditional phonebanking calls, when it comes from a friend or family member it has more weight.
So that’s it. You go right down the list in your address book, from A to Z, and ask your friends and family to vote, make sure that they’re registered, tell them how to get an absentee ballot if needed, tell them how to find out where their polling place is, and if they have a higher level of engagement, tell them how to volunteer, or tell them to do this cell phone calling project themselves. This will end up in a huge amount of registered voters being called. There are 85 numbers in my cell phone. If I don’t want to call someone in there for whatever reason, they ought not be in the address book in the first place. I don’t know if this is true of you, but I have certain friends of mine that don’t really know about my commitment to progressive politics. Well, it’s well past time everyone knows, well past time we all start speaking up in our communities. It’s up to us to come out of the shadows and make sure everyone in our sphere of influence gets to the polls.
THIS WORKS. I did it in 2004 and was successful in getting friends and family to vote. So much so that a couple, unsolicited, called me during this year’s primaries looking for answers on their polling place or how to get an absentee ballot. I started this year’s calling early, ensuring my friends and my parent’s friends in my birthplace of Pennsylvania were registered and had all the information they needed.
But with three weeks to go, now is the time. The Cell Phone Calling Project, if it reaches just 1/5 of all users on this site, can reach A MILLION PEOPLE or more. Those are significant numbers.
And you should be systematic and statistical about this. Type up a spreadsheet and fill it with the names of your cell phone. Check off those reached, and check off those who vote when you verify it. Tangibly seeing the results is key.
Here’s a political action that costs 0 dollars (especially if you call on free weekends) that could potentially reach as many targeted voters as the vaunted Republican 72-hour GOTV project. This is open-source, netroots, viral, gate-crashing activism. Let’s do it.