get out the vote

Edit Memo: The Critical Importance of Face-to-Face Outreach in 2016 African American Voter Engagement

To: Interested Parties
From: Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs, People For the American Way Foundation
Date: November 7, 2016
Re: The Critical Importance of Face-to-Face Outreach in 2016 African American Voter Engagement


While spending on political ads could break records this election cycle and campaigns are increasing relying on texting voters, less attention has been given to traditional, face-to-face voter contact through community efforts to get out the vote. This remains a proven, critically important method of engaging voters in the electoral process—and one that faith leaders in People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC) have carried out in communities across the country this year.

Studies have found that increasing voter turnout depends on direct contact with voters through “a trusted messenger who can convey a message that resonates with the target voter’s lived experience.” These interactions greatly increase the likelihood that people will turn out to vote, and have been found to be more effective than other voter contact methods. This research underscores what the AAMLC national network already knew from its community organizing work: that knocking on doors and personally connecting with voters is a critical tool for engaging African American voters.

Though it has occurred largely outside of the spotlight of national media coverage, this vital work has been happening in cities and states across the country. For example, in the 2016 election cycle, AAMLC members have:

• Marched to the Board of Elections to cast early voting ballots in Cleveland, OH and Jacksonville, FL
• Canvassed throughout Ohio’s Cuyahoga County
• Led “Why Vote” forums at community colleges in Detroit, MI
• Led voter outreach at supermarkets in Miami, FL
• Organized community and church rallies in New Orleans, LA; Atlanta, GA; and Philadelphia, PA
• Led prayer meetings for seniors in Buffalo, NY and Minneapolis, MN
• Taken seniors to the polls throughout South Carolina
• Prepared and distributed informational materials in Meridian, MS
• Driven vans to the polls across the country

In addition to the recent engagement efforts, the AAMLC’s year-round education and training across the country ensures that voters know the date, time, and location of elections as well as the numbers to call for voting challenges and rides to the polls. This in-depth, community-led organizing makes a critical difference for early voting and on Election Day, and its significance should not be overlooked in 2016.

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Millennials Won't Fall for the Koch's 'Generation Opportunity'

This piece by Joy Lawson, Director of YP4, was originally published in the Huffington Post.

Despite attempts to label millennials as unengaged and apathetic, there's no denying the younger generation's vote means a lot in elections. A-list celebrities like Lena Dunham and Lil Jon are the new faces of the Get Out the Vote movement, and reports from 2012 reveal the youth vote was decisive in President Obama's victory.

So it's no surprise that the Koch Brothers, notoriously right-wing billionaires, are using their fortunes to promote radical, conservative priorities to millennials through their organization, Generation Opportunity.

However, reading through American Bridge's report about the group, it's clear that they'll face an uphill battle. That's not just because young people tend to disagree with the priorities the Koch Brothers are putting forth, but especially because young people are actually working against the very issues that GenOpp stands for.

Generation Opportunity opposes government subsidized student loans, federal aid to colleges, lowering loan rates - basically, any realistic measure that could make a college education more accessible to millions of students. With 71% of students graduating from college with debt and low-income students bearing the greatest brunt of tuition increases, making college more - not less - affordable is critical in order for students of all backgrounds to attend college. That's a big reason why every day, I work with students through People For the American Way Foundation's Young People For (YP4) program that are fighting directly against Koch priorities that seek to restrict college access.

Look no further than Torii Uyehora, a student at Southern Oregon University and YP4 fellow. As a college student she knows the struggles of student loans, and she recently organized 75 students to attend a rally to support public funding of higher education. Taynara Costa-Maura, a YP4 Fellow from Santa Monica, CA is encouraging her friends and fellow students to engage in the progressive movement through advocating for college affordability measures, like Prop 30, which prevented massive tuition increases and saved her community college - and many other community colleges across the state - from having to make big cuts to classes offered.

Torii and Taynar are just two of the thousands of students across the country pushing for affordable higher education. It's comical to imagine a headline of "Students Lobby for Higher Debt" or "Rally at University Calls for Raising Student Loan Rates." But that's what the Kochs support. Students agree with - and fight hard - for progressive measures so that more students can access higher education. Unless they're able to deceive millennials about their real motives, I'm not sure the Kochs will get anywhere trying to change that.

It's not just college affordability. While Generation Opportunity speaks out against net neutrality, 77% of 18-29 year olds believe in the principles of net neutrality. And student activists are engaging their fellow students to discuss how critical net neutrality is.

Another YP4 Fellow, Areeba Kamal at Mount Holyoke College, has written pieces for outlets including USA Today about why net neutrality is so essential. She detailed the efforts of young people on this issue: "Students and young adults have organized teach-ins in public locations, where they explain the issue and reiterate their support for net neutrality to the general public."

The fact is, millennials increasingly align themselves with progressive priorities, spanning from gay marriage to immigration. As Chris Cillizza wrote in the Washington Post last year, "More important -- and ultimately more impactful, politically speaking -- is how millennials feel about issues in the national conversation. Time and again, they come down on the more liberal side of those arguments."

Generation Opportunity can give out all the beer koozies and pizza they want (yes, they tried that to stop young people from signing up for health care...), but millennials won't be fooled by the shiny packaging--their peers are already fighting against the failed right-wing policies that the Kochs promote.
 

PFAW Foundation

PFAW Volunteers Take Fight Against Cuccinelli’s Extremism to the Streets

PFAW made the news this weekend with the debut of our new Spanish language ad in Virginia, part of our partnership with the McAuliffe campaign. But we’re also on the ground, taking the fight against Cuccinelli’s extreme views to the streets. This weekend, we went out to Herndon, Virginia, participating in a training for canvassing and get-out-the-vote activities—the kind of on-the-ground efforts that will make all the difference in this election.

More than 100 volunteers hit the streets to talk to Virginia voters and make sure they know just how extreme, reckless and wrong for Virginia Cuccinelli is. We were proud to be a part of the canvass — and the McAuliffe campaign told us that Herndon was the No. 1 canvassing location for the weekend!

The level of enthusiasm we saw in our activists was very encouraging, but we won’t let ourselves get complacent. We won’t stop until we’re sure that Cuccinelli won’t be bringing his right-wing agenda to the Governor’s office.

PFAW
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