I’m throwing this together last minute, but I want to get it out there as a reference for our volunteers.
The first point that I’d like to make is that if you cannot vote, for whatever reason, you can still help out. Voting is obviously important, but if you legitimately cannot vote for whatever reason, you are still needed!!
Eclectablog has a nice post on volunteering as a comfort captains, which is a role that every election HQ needs to fill. These folks offer support to the GOTV and other campaign workers who can’t get away from their stations. The role of ‘comfort captain’ allows you to help get out the vote even if you cannot make calls or go door-to-door. You can also staff the campaign HQ and help prepare lit drops, answer questions from walk-ins / call-ins, or provide voters with transportation to the polls.
Another post from Eclectablog reminds us that if you do want to help GOTV but you can’t leave the house, you can make phone calls from your home. See his post here for details. This is a great option for folks who have no transportation, who are full-time caretakers, or whatever.
For folks who can get out and about, I’m going to ask you to consider live-blogging the election. This is from my original post on that:
This precinct live-blogging plan has several advantages:
- All data is reported and retained locally so that we can use it in the future to check for patterns, repeat violations, etc.
- The MDP also has access to the data, for the same reasons as above
- Personal relationships can be leveraged if necessary.
- The blogging creates a record of activity as well as a training resource for future elections
- Social media invites interaction, and you may get multiple reports coming in from voters who have experienced things in other areas.
When I find violations or problems, I will report them through the central monitoring system. Additionally I will tweet, Facebook, and blog anything that I find. This does sometimes embarrass the precinct with the violation, but it is important that these violations are remembered and not repeated. The publicity also allows other precincts to learn from the mistake and potentially correct similar violations.
This process has been a success in Shiawassee County. In 2006 we monitored every polling station and reported every violation we found. It was determined after the election that Shiawassee County had the most violations of any county in the state. In all honesty, do I really think that our county of 71,000 people really had the most violations? Of course not. We just had the most reported through our central reporting system. But that data and the attention garnered through the blogging & social media, we became the best county in the state by the 2008 general election.
So this post is really here to help you realize how you can be an asset beyond GOTV and beyond voting. There are so many other roles you can perform, including things like live-blogging and others of your own making. Just be aware of the rules, plug in to an organization (OFA, county Dems, whatever), and let them know that you are available. They’ll find something for you.
It’s game time folks! Let’s go kick some ass!