At Progressive Turnout Project, we’re incredibly proud of our voter outreach. And with good reason: our programs boosted turnout by an average of 10.4% in 2018.
Even in 2020 with COVID-19, our mission is unchanged: we’re here to reach the voters Democrats need on our side, talk with them one-on-one, and get them out to vote.
How to reach millions of voters in 2020
This year, our field and training teams have jumped into action translating our in-person tactics to effective, remote field work.
The result: The largest phone program of any progressive organization in the 2020 cycle.
We’re on track to make 55 million calls, send 500,000 handwritten letters, and mail 15 million postcards to voters. We’ve identified the infrequent Democratic voters who will make the difference in 18 states critical for Democrats:
- Winning the White House: It’s been at the top of our to-do list since 2016. You know that Hillary Clinton won by 3 million votes, but just a small dip in turnout in key states lost us the Electoral College majority. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen to Joe Biden, and that’s why our largest investments are in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin.
- Flipping the Senate: We can flip Republican-held seats in North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Kentucky. (Bye bye, Mitch McConnell!) And we’re making sure Democrats hold on to their seats in New Hampshire, Alabama, and Michigan.
- Holding the line in the House: House Democrats did us proud with their new majority in 2019 and 2020. We’re committed to defending the most vulnerable first-year representatives, and also flipping some of the seats we narrowly lost in 2018.
Even in 2020 — especially in 2020 — one-on-one voter outreach is how we win.
Supporting mail voters
Our goal when we reach voters, on the phone or in a letter, is to secure a commitment to vote — and keep in touch with the voter, to get them the answers and resources they need to follow through.
This year presents new challenges and new opportunities for this kind of “deep” canvassing.
The biggest challenge: Millions of voters across the country will be voting by mail for the first time this year, because it’s the safest way to vote. That means voter education and support — deadlines, rules, resources, and more — is more important than ever.
On our phone calls, we can walk voters step-by-step through the ballot application process in a way that can’t really happen at the door. We also have the ability to send voters those important links by text message, so they have what they need even if they’re too busy to stay on the phone.
And, critically, we have an easy way to follow up with voters to make sure they received and return their ballot in time.
Expanding the universe
One limitation of in-person canvassing: geography. It’s impractical to canvass in rural areas, and tough to get into apartment buildings.
Phones and letters don’t have that problem, and that means we’re able to expand the “voter universe” — that is, the number of voters we’re trying to reach.
With a 1,000-strong field team, we can expand the universe and go bigger than ever. We have the chance to create even more lifelong voters so that Democrats can build power at every level of government, for years to come.
Where you come in
Yes, there are hundreds of Progressive Turnout Project folks working to boost turnout, but it goes without saying that we can’t do this alone.
There are two ways you can work with us to reach every last voter.
- Make calls to voters: Our Turnout2020 team (25,000 strong and growing) is calling infrequent voters every Tuesday, Thursday, and soon on Saturdays too! The best way to get started is to sign up for a phonebank or training on Mobilize. If you’re new to phonebanking, there’s no better time to start. Our training team is on every phonebank to get you started and answer any questions you have.
- Write postcards to voters: We’ve partnered with Postcards to Swing States to empower volunteers like you to write messages to voters in important swing states. So far, they’ve sent postcards to over 47,000 volunteers and volunteer groups! It’s easy to join: Pick your message and the state you want to write to. They send you a stack of postcards, and you just supply the 35-cent postcard stamps.
If you’re anything like us, you have a lot of emotions about this election — excitement about electing Democrats, determination to get Trump out of office, even fear that he’ll pull off another narrow win.
Our message to you: We can win this, together. Let’s get to work.