Greater Cleveland Congregations “Battle For Democracy” 2022
We have neighbors who feel ignored, disenfranchised, and/or discouraged by those in power, resulting in a lack of participation in our electoral process. Through GCC’s Battle for Democracy campaign, we can forge relationships, show our compassion, and help engage voters in our democratic process. The goal of the campaign is to fight voter suppression and eradicate voter depression in Northeast Ohio through relationship building, neighbor to neighbor.
The campaign began last year in 5 Cleveland neighborhoods, and this year will add five inner-ring suburban neighborhoods, including Cleveland Heights Noble. We are being asked to join with members of Forest Hill Presbyterian and Fairmount Presbyterian to contact about 500 registered voters in Noble. Though registered to vote, we will be contacting low-propensity voters, voters who do not vote regularly, often because they do not see that their vote makes any difference. We have termed this voluntary nonparticipation “voter depression.”
Each volunteer, or two-person team, will be given a list of 40 households to contact between the week of September 19 and the November 8th election. Contacts will include two in-person “at the door” conversations, as well as 2-3 follow-up phone calls or text messages. Our in-person canvassing will most likely launch from Forest Hill Church at an agreed upon time and may include a short gathering following our conversations (even if only in their parking lot.) A major goal of the contacts is to hear directly the concerns of neighbors, to develop potential leaders, and sometimes even help a neighbor find needed services. We certainly want to help them with voting in any way possible, and we have many tools to provide this help! Each volunteer connecting with neighbors is called a Neighborhood Captain.
Here is the Schedule of contacts:
On August 29, a Letter of Introduction about the campaign will be sent by GCC. This will also serve to confirm addresses.
- Week of 9/19: First contact will be in-person. Canvassers will have postcards ready to leave if there is no response to a knock. A script will be provided.
- Week of 9/26: Phone call to voters (or text message.) A script will be provided to help you leave a voice or text message.
- Week of 10/3: Follow-up contact with anyone missed the previous week.
- Week of 10/17: Second canvass at the door—with GCC’s Voter’s Guide to hand out.
- Week of 10/31: Phone call to confirm voting plan is in place and what it is, or if the person has already voted.
- 11/8: Election Day follow-up with those who committed to voting at the polls.
This model to increase voter turnout has been used with great success in West Virginia with a 22.5% increase in voting in a recent election. The Union of Concerned Scientists attributed our outreach in 2021 to a 5% increase in voting by those who did not participate in the vote in 2020-a great first effort! Our campaign has been adjusted for this year based on feedback from last year’s participants and the end of the pandemic.
Please consider giving your time to help give voice to those who have been marginalized or disheartened in our community. Find a friend to share the work of contacts, take a list of 40 on your own, or let us help you find a partner! If you are interested in volunteering or have questions, please contact Julie Micheletti (members of St. Paul's may find her contact information in Realm).
Tags: News / Outreach at St. Paul's