Summer Update: Catching Up with the Turnout Grantees

You’ve read about how our Turnout Grants provide early funding to expand voter contact programs across the country. Our very first cohort of Turnout Grantee organizations, announced in May and June, are testing innovative turnout strategies to connect with voting communities that are often excluded from traditional field programs.

And, like we were at Progressive Turnout Project, these nine Turnout Grant organizations were busy this summer! These are a few of their highlights from their work preparing voter contact programs for the midterms:

  • 18by Vote kicked off their Civic Leaders program and planned their #GenZtothePolls Week of Action which started on September 13.
  • APIPA launched their Language Access Center, offering Pennsylvania voters support in 15 languages.
  • PLAN Action led a two day conference, The People’s Summit, to rally and strategize with Nevada volunteers ahead of fall voter turnout efforts.
  • Northeast Arizona Native Democrats have recruited and trained 140 Matriarchs for their Family Votes program, working on Navajo, Hopi, and Apache lands.
  • Voces de la Frontera Action have grown their Voceros relational organizing program. With 200 participants currently, they hope to recruit up to 450 Voceros to work across Wisconsin this fall.

Continue reading to hear about their work to date and some of the upcoming events they have planned:

18by Vote launched their Civic Leaders program in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania at the start of the summer. Since then, they’ve been supporting and building connections with their community members and community-based organizations, while developing leadership skills.

“The ability to grow our staff has been an organizational highlight,” said 18by Vote’s Executive Director, Ava Mateo. “Personally, I have found it to be an incredible experience to bring on some amazingly knowledgeable, innovative, and driven young people and give them the opportunity to be leaders within our small organization”.

Just last week, 18by Vote’s #GenZtothePolls Week of Action brought together an intergenerational group of volunteers to discuss the importance of youth turnout in this upcoming election and beyond. Check out their Instagram for highlights from the week of action.

Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (APIPA) launched their voter hotline this summer, with capacity to serve and receive calls in 15 languages for Pennsylvania voters. A highlight has been “seeing our staff’s commitment to ensuring language access in voting for our communities”, says Executive Director Mohan Seshadri. They are excited to have permanent language capacity be a resource for voters this cycle and going into the future.

Shape Up the Vote had a busy summer onboarding their Lead Remote Organizer ahead of their fall strategy kickoff. They are testing remote engagement this cycle, connecting with barbershops and salons across Georgia and Pennsylvania. Beyond strategy, they have been developing their 2022 resource kit for barbers and hairstylists. In the months ahead they’ll be building their volunteer network to conduct phone outreach and following up with barbershops and salons.

In Nevada, PLAN Action’s summer highlight was their two-day volunteer conference, The People’s Summit, which they hosted at the end of July. 75 attendees participated in workshops, activations, and long term planning. Beyond the Summit, PLAN is working hard to develop their Canvass team and build a base of new inspired volunteers to turn out voters this cycle.

Georgia Shift spent the summer preparing for their on-campus programs at HBCU campuses across the state. They are in the process of hiring Student Ambassadors at the schools. Executive Director, Jordan Johnson says, “The excitement shown by the students involved has been the most encouraging piece of our project. Young voters are excited to be involved”.

Working across South Philadelphia, Unity in the Community and Focus Action Network’s summer highlight has been engaging and talking to voters about everyday issues. “Many folks don’t realize the stakes of the election and weren’t particularly motivated to get involved,” said Anton Moore, Executive Director of Unity in the Community. “Once we started talking about how benefits such as rental assistance, childcare support, and food stamps were on the line in the upcoming election, they were interested and wanted to participate”.

They have been working hard to recruit ambassadors and train them to use the relational organizing app, Reach. Starting early, thanks to Turnout Grants funding, has allowed them time to test training approaches with their team and find out what works best, changing their strategy as needed. Anton has been able to adjust to an in-person training model which has allowed more people to get involved with the program. They currently have 120 relational organizers who are going to start their outreach later this fall. This program is unique, as these organizers will continue their outreach and connection to voters beyond this cycle.

Northeast Arizona Native Democrats have been developing their Family Votes and Matriarch Organizing programs. Jaynie Parrish, Executive Director, says “The intertribal connections have been extraordinarily helpful for exchanging ideas and building on the local knowledge of the Matriarchs in the program. When we bring together the women from different sovereign nations they are able to share the ways in which elections impact their lives and how power building can improve conditions for a community. These interactions allow Matriarchs to better approach family and friends to encourage them to get to the polls. Prepared with new ideas and knowledge these women are more confident in their roles as a vote influencer.”

Northeast Arizona Native Democrats have hired 2 organizers, who have recruited and trained 140 Matriarchs so far, with the goal of supporting 200 this election cycle. These Matriarchs will connect with at least 20 voters each, creating a sphere of influence that will get more people excited about voting. They are working hard to ensure that voters are able to see themselves as catalysts for change in their communities. This program is helping to keep up the momentum beyond the 2022 elections, creating a family tradition of voting across Arizona.

Voces de la Frontera Action have been developing their Vocero relational organizing program since the Spring Election and have seen consistent growth since that point.

In July, they launched fully into their new relational organizing app, Impactive, and began outreach for Wisconsin’s August 9 primary election. The Vocero program made 8,378 contacts on their relational organizing mobile app with an over 80% contact rate. They currently have 200 Voceros in their program, mainly in Milwaukee County and Racine County. With plans to hire more organizers, they will increase to a goal of 450 Voceros statewide by November 8. They look forward to expanding the Vocero training program to important communities outside Southeast WI, including Trempealeau County (Arcadia), Walworth County, Brown County, Dane County, and northwest Wisconsin.

In North Carolina, New Rural Project has hosted a Barbershop conversation series through the summer! They also hired and trained their cohort of paid canvassers who have already hit the ground. The team is now working to launch candidate forums in their focus counties, as well as using their canvass team to do voter direct contact with vote pledges for the midterm election.