On December 7th, a crew of 13 committed members of Swing Left Greater Boston led workshops and breakout sessions at a statewide activism conference. Together for 2020 & Beyond, sponsored by Indivisible-MA, was a unique opportunity for 435 grassroots activists to build relationships and sharpen their skills to get ready for this challenging presidential election year.
We asked the workshop presenters for their impressions of the conference. What we got was a serious rundown of facts they learned. It turns out that these organizers all took notes! Here’s a quick recap of what they learned:
Paula Joseph & Rebecca Riccio – Maine Super State organizers
Research shows that canvassing is the most effective field activity and can make the difference in close races like Maine’s 2nd congressional districts where Jared Golden won by 1 percent. –Paula
Only one percent of the population is actively engaged in the progressive movement right now. –Rebecca
Bob Scheier and Ann Eldridge – Pennsylvania Super State organizers
- Massachusetts activists built a website (Elect535.org) to help activists create a portfolio of candidates that reflect their values.
- Senate candidates need $1 million in campaign funds, and House candidates, $200-300,000 to be competitive.
- Less expensive state races have an outsized impact on issues such as reproductive rights, gun laws, and redistricting
Lisa Zankman: Florida Super State Organizer
Only 56% of the voting age population voted in the 2016 presidential elections. The United States ranks in the bottom third of OECD countries in voter participation. Declaring Election Day a federal holiday would help.
Janet Singer: Long-distance Canvassing Coach
Surprising examples of states making it easier to vote: Forty states have online voter registration. Twenty-three states allow 16- or 17-year-olds to preregister to vote. 22 states have election day same day registration.