The Colorado progressive community has actively coordinated a “Get-Out-The-Vote” four day effort with dozens of in-state and national organizations such as the Sierra Club, MoveOn.org, Coloradans for Fairness and the AFL-CIO. This coalition, under the umbrella of America Votes, will have members walking door-to-door and calling voters during the last 96 hours of the 2006 election. “Our effort is really just getting started,” stated Bobby Clark of the ProgressNow Action, one of the groups involved in this push. “We’re trying to test tools and make whatever difference we can. We have had good success with the letters to voters, but we’re really hoping to step it up with the phone banking this weekend.”
Colorado Confidential asked Rich Pelletier, Colorado state director for America Votes about the coalition and its GOTV activities leading up to Election Day.
Q: How did Colorado become one of nine states targeted by progressive groups for this four-day GOTV push?
A: Well, first America Votes’s commitment — and that of our partners– was for much more than just our four-day GOTV effort. We opened our offices in Colorado in May and have been working to on our voter contact program since July. Also, America Votes intends to stay in Colorado after the election, helping our partners build a permanent progressive infrastructure.
Q: What coalition issues will get voters to the polls?
A: Around the America Votes table, environmentalists, labor and other activists joined together to work on the issues themselves. Raising the minimum wage, legalizing domestic partnerships, supporting comprehensive school funding, and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil have all been part of our effort to get voters to the polls.
Q: How are AV activities targeting voters that may support the issues you mentioned? Who are they? How many of these potential voters do you hope to contact in Colorado?
A: Using the same tools and techniques that the conservatives have employed in past election cycles, America Votes and its partners are using micro-targeting and unified voter file data to identify the ideal GOTV universe. This universe is broader than simply progressive voters. We are also trying to turn out drop off voters, voters who regularly do vote in presidential election years but for whatever reason, skip mid-term election cycles. Our targeted universe consists of over 1 million voters.
Q: How does it compare to political party or conservative GOTV plans?
A: America Votes operates completely independently of either political party, focusing instead on the issues themselves. That said, there is no difference between the techniques we are employing and those being used by conservatives. The one advantage they have is that they started their data collection earlier. As a result, they have more information about voters, and their voter models are more refined. Metaphorically speaking, they’re a few laps ahead of us on the track, but we’re running faster than they are and will soon catch up.
Q: It looks like AV is going to have a good turnout of volunteers for the urban areas, but how are your efforts going in the rural areas?
A: The answer seems to be something like “we need everyone.” Along the Front Range, our partners need almost 4,300 volunteers to pull off the collective Get-Out-The-Vote plan. Our partners have staging areas in Durango, Grand Junction and other mountain counties and they are still working hard. Though recruitment is on track, we still need more help and encourage people to contact us.