2020 Election Action Series: #2 Ask 5 to Vote

  1. Why should you talk about voting?
  2. How to talk about voting
  3. Methods for Talking about voting

Why Talk About Voting:

I’m already going to vote, why do I need to talk to other people about voting? 

  • Lots of people are not registered to vote and don’t know where to start! As many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to Vote (that’s 51 million voters– you probably know one of them). You can help friends check their voter registration and print their sample ballot here.
  • Every single Vote Counts! The 2000 Presidential Election was ultimately decided by less than 600 votes. Remind people that no matter who they are voting for their vote counts and could alter the results of many local and national races. 
  • Voting is Local! In local elections across the United States, fewer than 15 percent of eligible citizens are turning out to vote for community leaders like mayors and city councilors. Low turnout means that important local issues are determined by a very small group of citizens, making every single vote statistically meaningful.
  • Increasing voter turnout benefits all of us because it helps guarantee that our elected officials and laws represent the interests of the general public. There are so many reasons to vote, if you want you can find a few more here. You can also make it personal by picking a cause you care about (women’s rights, the environment, education, the economy, etc) and explaining how voting impacts that particular cause. 

Local and State Elections make a BIG impact on our lives. 

  • Remind those around you to vote the whole ballot! For example, did you know the W-S City Council: hires the City Manager (who hires the Police and Fire Chiefs), creates parks and green spaces, is responsible for speed limits and zoning, addresses neighborhood traffic, and works with the County Commissioners and School Board? 
  • Familiarize yourself with what is on the ballot by using the WOA Election Slideshow and  looking over your sample ballot. Learn about who is running, what roles those positions play locally in Forsyth County or NC, and how each vote will impact your day to day or the day to day of other members of our community. This will make it easier to talk about the election.

We are in a Swing State! 

  • Do you have friends or family in another state who want to have a bigger impact nationwide? No matter where they live, they can directly support the work of organizers, volunteers, and candidates in North Carolina! NC is a crucial swing state – one of six states that are being described as determining this year’s Presidential election as well as the make-up of the US Senate. NC has 15 electoral college votes. The other states are Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. North Carolina was unique in 2016, electing a Republican President along with a Democratic Governor and Attorney General, making it a key swing state. 
  • Share the news and ask your networks to adopt NC! We’re talking about voting because our vote matters in this election and this state matters in this election. 

How to talk about voting:

This election feels especially important and emotions are high. Talking about politics can feel overwhelming so try talking about VOTING in general and then move into specific candidates or issues if you are feeling comfortable. 

  • Spread the word about voting (when, where, how) and help others exercise their voting rights by providing information about the process. 
  • Always start with how they are going to vote and not who they are voting for. Start the conversation with a simple question like, “Are you registered to vote?” or “Are you planning on voting in the upcoming election?” or “Are you voting by mail this year?” 
  • Ask them if they are voting, when they are voting (Early or on election day? In person or by absentee?), and how they are getting to their voting location or requesting their ballot. Help them establish a plan and if possible check back with them to make sure they follow through. Try to provide as much information about the process as possible. 
  • By asking questions about the basic act of casting your vote you can often avoid the confrontation that may come with discussing specific candidates or policies.  
  • Listen to what the other person is saying. Do your best to respond to concerns or questions with facts. If you don’t know the facts or information tell them you will find out and get back to them. Offer yourself up as a resource or safe place to talk about voting. 
  • Even if they say they plan to vote, encourage them to check their registration status here. If they’ve decided not to vote this election you can always ask them why.

Methods for Talking about Voting:

During the midterms, one of WOA’s big campaigns was #Ask5toVote. A big part of that campaign was talking to strangers about voting. We encouraged our members to talk to anyone – the cashier at Food Lion, an employee at Starbucks or a friendly face at the library! 

“I talked to the checkout worker at Teeter!!! She was a little sheepish but said she was going to try and vote:) I told her great and with a big smile I let her know her vote is important! She gave me a big old smile:) I think my shirt helped.”

Lisa Tucker

Like many of our voting campaigns, they look a little different as our organization has grown and evolved and we are in a pandemic. But… we’re still going to #Ask5toVote (and tell them why) 

Due to the Pandemic, there will be much less opportunity to talk to others face to face to encourage them to vote, but there are lots of other ways! 

Friend Banking 

What is Friend Banking? 

  • Walk through your circles – neighbors, church group, schools, t-ball parents, volunteer activities, gym friends, family, etc. and intentionally communicate with your networks about voting using the communication tools that you typically use to converse (text, DM, PM, Twitter email, call, etc.). Data shows talking to friends is twice as effective as talking with strangers to get out the vote. 

How do I Friend Bank? 

  • Text five (or more) friends who are less likely voters and ask them to vote.
  • PM or DM five (or more) friends that you communicate with via social media and ask them about their voting plan. If they live in NC, share about early voting and why it’s important to get your vote in early (explain more about why it is here). #Ask5toVote 
  • Email five (or more) friends who live in Forsyth County and ask them if they need information regarding early voting locations and times. Think about different groups that you typically only communicate with via email – work, volunteering, HOA, preschool, etc. 

Social Media 

Why Should I use Social Media? 

  • Social Media is a powerful tool to get out the vote. While sharing voting selfies can feel like centering or bragging, data shows it is actually hugely effective in increasing voter engagement. 
  • A 2017 study using data from 61 million Facebook participants found that users who were exposed to pro-voting posts were both more likely to seek information about their polling sites and to self-report voting.
  • One study published by the journal Nature, suggests that a special “get out the vote” message, showing each user pictures of friends who said they had already voted, generated 340,000 additional votes nationwide. 
  • By sharing on social media we are hoping to increase the number of people voting, increase voting conversations and education, increase solidarity around voting, and make a strong connection between voting and the issues that we care about. 

How Can I use Social Media? 

  • Turn your social media profiles into billboards for democracy and voting using banners and frames. See Christy’s e-mail yesterday with instructions for Marissa Joyce’s WOA frames and banners. Let people know that voting is important to you and you are open to answering questions that people have regarding voting. 
  • Post photos of you and your family wearing your WOA shirt/mask or that of your favorite candidate or cause. Be a walking billboard for democracy even if you are just walking from your computer to your fridge. Let your friends know that you might not be an expert (or maybe you are!), but you are happy to help with any questions that they might have regarding voting. Share your voting selfie on social media, tag @womenofactionws on Instagram, and dm it or text it to our Voting Selfie Hotline– 336-701-0217.  
  • Use your stories to talk to friends and followers about how you are voting, why you are voting, and when you are voting. Share information, tips, enthusiasm, and share your own plan for voting
  • Once you have voted post a selfie or photo and let your friends know you have voted. Share your excitement to participate in the process. 
  • We want to help share your pictures too! Tag us by using @womenofactionws on Instagram or send us a DM. You can also text our VOTING SELFIE HOTLINE at (336) 701-0217. Please include your name, your handle (if you want to be tagged), and why you are excited to Vote in November. #Ask5toVote

Postcards/Letters 

  • You Can Write a letter    or a postcard to in your life and anyone and encourage them to vote. 
  • Postcards: Mom’s Rising had a postcard campaign that is now wrapping up but you can financially contribute to this GOTV nonpartisan campaign by helping cover the cost of printing and postage here. You can also send postcards or hand written notes to friends, family members, neighbors reminding them to vote and giving them easy contact information if they have any questions or need support. 
  • Letters To The Editor: Writing a letter to the editor is easier than you think. Sending letters to the editor are important advocacy goals because they reach a large audience, are often monitored by elected officials, can bring up information not addressed in a news article, create an impression of widespread support for or opposition to an issue. Your letter does not need to be on a specific candidate or issue; it can be on the importance of voting, the importance of this election, or about the local or regional races and how they will impact our community. Ask more than 5 to vote by using a newspaper! 
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