Reaching Voters in a Pandemic: Shelter-In-Place Activism Works

As many of us adapt to our shelter-in-place lives, activists need new and creative strategies to reach voters. Even as states start reopening, there will be significant resistance to the kinds of in-person voter outreach that used to be a hallmark of political campaigning.

Flip the West, an organization dedicated to harnessing grassroots power to help Democrats take back the U.S. Senate, has adapted to these times and found surprising results.

As we shifted exclusively to opportunities to volunteer at home — phone banking at home and postcarding at home — something remarkable happened: new volunteer recruitment ACCELERATED!

We did not fully anticipate how these activities could help maintain and build relationships during shelter-in-place. Our model of in-person volunteer get togethers has shifted online in beautiful ways. We’ve heard from families that are connecting through video and writing postcards together.

And of course, more volunteers means more voters reached — 1.5 million voters so far — and a third of them were reached during the pandemic. Our voter outreach strategy can now expand, and we’re taking full advantage.

With shelter-in-place, we’re finding that a lot of voters are at home, and may be receptive to a conversation. That makes our volunteer activities more rewarding for both the recipient and the volunteer.

Our messages are timely and important. For example, to ensure safe voting, our Arizona phone banks are helping people sign up to vote-by-mail. We also have similar programs in Colorado and are examining other states for potential expansion.

The volunteer opportunities we provide are rewarding, and these dark days provide ample motivation to work for change. All of us need something to hold onto, and we’re ready to intake many more volunteers.

Want to participate in our work to take back the Senate? Join us!

1. If you’re an individual looking to volunteer, sign up for phone bankingat home and/or postcarding at home.

2. If you’re already an organizer within an existing organization, like an Indivisible chapter, consider joining our Flip Force. That’s our coalition of Resistance, labor, progressive, and community organizations working to flip the Senate blue this year. There’s no exclusivity in joining Flip Force; consider it complementary to your existing work.

3. If you have friends and family who want to do this work together (like writing postcards together over video conference), consider joining our Home Team. It’s a version of our Flip Force for informal groupings of people ready to make a difference.

4. No matter what, be sure to sign up for our periodic email updates to learn about new programs and campaigns as they become available.

Otherwise, stay safe and stay engaged, friends. With solidarity, perseverance, and compassion, we can get through this and ensure that come November, we have national leadership ready to take on any challenge we may face.

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It starts with you. Together, we can restore the promise of America and start to reverse the damage done by Trump and his Republican enablers in the House and Senate. Together, we prevent a far right wing takeover of the U.S. Supreme Court. Together, we win.

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