By Kathy Bradford — As I write this, it is only 100 days until the November election. It is election season, but it doesn’t feel like it. The news isn’t dominated by the candidates – it’s dominated by Covid-19, the struggle for social justice, and the current administration’s attempts to recapture the news cycle by squashing the public voice.
I’m Kathy Bradford, your 2020-2021 PV Dems board president. A question I often hear this year is “I want to help, but what can I do”. There is a lot we can do from our own homes to campaign for our favorite candidates.
First, you can donate to your candidate’s campaign fund. The funds are being used this year to support outreach in the form of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, cell phone messaging and Zoom, in addition to the traditional means on television, radio and printed material. The electronic campaigns need cash for computers, software, and technical support.
Second, you can volunteer on your favorite candidates’ web page, or at the web pages of the California Democratic Party (https://www.mobilize.us/cadems/), Sister District (sisterdistrict.com), or Field Team 6 (fieldteam6.org). They can teach you how to campaign from home using their software tools. I’ve done texting and phone bank campaigning, and they are both easy to do from home using your own computer.
The campaign will train you to use their software product(s). For cell phone texting, for example, you work from your home computer (not your cell phone – thumbs not required.) You use a program that has already been stocked with the names and numbers of prospective voters for the area you are to canvass; and with responses to the most frequent responses you receive. The program I used sent out 200 text messages in a matter of minutes. I then did other things on my computer while waiting for the program to notify me of responses on the left side of the window. On the right, there was a searchable set of vetted answers. I picked one and sent it back. After 15-30 minutes, I had received 6-8 responses and finished my conversations with those people, and could decide to send another 200, or quit for the day.
Phone banks are similar, except you use your computer and your phone. The campaign’s program gives you a voter’s name and relevant data such as their age and neighborhood. You dial, and use the script provided on the right side of the screen to introduce yourself and deliver the campaign’s question or statement. You select the type of response you got (no answer, voter not home, bad number, not interested, or interested) and either get the next name to call, or pre-determined response from the campaign office that you can use to continue the conversation. It’s all pretty painless.
There are other ways some campaigns may ask you to help. If you’re a people-person, they could ask you to host a Zoom party to introduce a candidate to your friends and neighbors. I’ve been to several of these hosted at virtual cocktail or teatime hours. If your handwriting is better than mine, you could write postcards, dropped off at your house by the campaign, to encourage prospective voters to register.
So don’t feel as if you are silenced by Covid-19. Use some of these resources to help the Democrats restore our government to honesty and decency.