I probably don’t have to tell you that the outcome of this November’s election is crucial to the future of climate action in the United States. If you’re interested in doing what you can to promote democracy and be the change, then read on. We need all hands on deck to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) and give ourselves a chance to meaningfully address the climate crisis.
The five ideas below focus on contacting voters in some remote fashion, whether by mail, text, phone, etc. It’s more difficult during this pandemic to engage people face-to-face, but of course if you can do that in an appropriately distanced way, go for it.
It can feel awkward to contact people about voting, but let’s change that. Let’s celebrate the fact that we have the right to vote, and encourage each other to exercise that right, no matter what. It does make a difference, and could literally be the difference in the election. With that, here are 5 suggestions.
1. GOTV for Environmentalists
The Environmental Voter Project is specifically designed to encourage voting in people who are both environmentalists and reluctant voters (based on their voting history). To participate, sign up for one of their trainings. Then you’ll be ready to reach out to potential voters by text or phone, in order to provide encouragement and specific information related to voting.
2. Register Voters by Phone or Text
The 8 Million Michigan Voter Project has mailed out registration forms to 100,000 MI voters with a SASE. We are following up with phone calls to help them register either online or with the form. A little training is provided to prepare volunteers to be experts in the process.
Our experience so far has been awesome! One gentleman cried when he found out he could register because he was just released from jail and thought he would not be able to vote.
If you want to call or text for the 8 Million Michigan Voter Project, visit the site or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Send Letters to Voters
A variety of organizations help you contact potential voters via letter or postcard. Vote Forward is a great example — it’s proven effective and super easy to get started. No training required. Go to the site to get started.
4. Talk to Your Friends and Family
All of the above strategies focus on contacting people you don’t know. But don’t forget about talking with your own friends and family about voting, which may be even more impactful.
You might particularly focus on young adults who may not yet have gotten into the voting habit. If they need info about how to vote or registration status, they can go to vote411.org, no matter where they live. Or for Michigan residents, go directly to mi.gov/vote.
5. Contact Your Friends and Family (with an app)
Connecting with people you know about voting is so impactful that there’s even an app for that, called Outreach Circle. The Climate Reality Project has set up a way for all of its members (like us) to use Outreach Circle for “vote tripling,” which has already boosted turnout in several elections. Here’s what to do:
Download and launch the Outreach Circle app on your smartphone. Then, access the Turn Out for Tomorrow campaign by entering “JGI825”. Watch this video tutorial for extra assistance. I’ve just gotten started with it, and it does work pretty well — you can decide who you contact and how.
So there you have it…
Five ways to boost voter turnout! My current personal combo is to do phone banking and text banking with Environmental Voter Project, plus letter-writing for Vote Forward, along with working with my local political party each week.
What are your favorite GOTV methods?