Swing Left Greater Boston had a close partnership with Swing Left Maine and the Maine Democrats throughout the election. While most super states focused on the presidential election, in Maine, the Senate was the major focus. In 2020, Senator Susan Collins was being challenged by Sara Gideon, the Democratic speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. It was a tough race against an entrenched incumbent and even though Joe Biden handily won three of the state’s four electoral college votes, Sara Gideon was unable to defeat Susan Collins.
But the Maine team put up quite a fight. More than 2,000 volunteers supported the effort in Maine, through phone banking, canvassing, and letter writing as well as in-person voter registration and voter protection. The team also spent hours creating content to drive Democrat enthusiasm through video testimonials and writing Letters to the Editor. Swing Left Maine partnered with grassroots groups, including the New Mainers Alliance, county and town Democratic committees, and local branches of national organizations including the League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, and Next Gen to share expertise and work most effectively. The team held hundreds of events and spent hundreds of thousands of hours supporting the state.
Maine volunteers started early. In February of 2020 they helped the Maine Democrats clean up the voter roles and added new low-propensity voters to the list. Volunteers also mastered four different types of phone banking software throughout the phone banking campaign. More than 40 phone bank captains stepped up to lead phone banks, for a total of over 1 million calls.
Voter Protection and Voter Registration
Voter registration and voter protection were key parts of the field effort in Maine. The voter protection team included 135 Swing Left volunteers who worked 405 shifts, totaling more than 200,000 hours of volunteer time to support Democratic Mainers in getting to the ballot box. This work included staffing the voter protection hotline, serving as in-person volunteers to oversee the absentee ballot counting process and serving as in-person election observers.
The team registered 1,400 people in person and sent more than 14,000 registration letters to Maine residents. Lastly, 17 volunteers dedicated nearly 100 hours to vote tripling — encouraging voters’ family and friends to vote. In total, their efforts added up to more than 4,700 hours of voter protection and voter registration to help rock the vote.
About 60 volunteers for Maine also dedicated time creating striking video testimonials to encourage their own networks of family and friends to vote for Democrats and to reach a wider audience through social media and digital advertising with an authentic grassroots message. These efforts helped to influence voters and maintain the high enthusiasm for the Democratic Party. Their videos and social media ads had broad reach, driving nearly 500,000 impressions.
Thank you to the Maine team!
A big thank you to all the volunteers who supported Maine! The more than 2,000 volunteers for Maine not only supported their own state, but drove excitement for the team across the board through videos and content. Although we didn’t win the Senate seat, we significantly decreased Collins’ margin from 37% in 2014 to 8% in 2020 (and actually 4-5 points smaller had the race gone to ranked choice). The hundreds of thousands of hours volunteers dedicated to Maine helped secure the state for Joe Biden, bringing three electoral college votes to the President Elect, and ramped up Democratic registration, turnout and enthusiasm for future elections.