November 3, 2017

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When we text, we win

November 3, 2017

Winning elections is all about turning out the vote. To do this, VADF volunteers now have in hand three new tech tools as a way to expand the reach to voters in November’s election: Peer-to-Peer Relay Texting, Plus3, and Text 10/Reach 10.

 

 

 

 

Much of the Election Committee meeting October 16 was devoted to a tech party to try out relay texting. This texting method allows a rapid text sendout of hundreds individual text messages to high potential voters. Volunteer senders then respond to many of most common election-related questions and candidate issues, or using their own answers when needed. All the interaction takes place through the Slack web interface. 

 

At the party, volunteers learned about logging on, using pre-scripted texts, and rolling out hundreds of text messages. Chris LeMenestrel patiently led everyone through the steps with a video assist from the volunteers at Open Progress. Once linked in, I was provided with a list of 100 names. The first step was to send out a introductory text about the candidate to all 100. After a few minutes, the responses started coming in. There were several wrong numbers, one bit of static, and a few said they would vote. The pre-scripted messages provided responses for each case.

 

Relay texting is funded by WinVirginia, the PAC led by Tom Perriello and Silicon Valley donors. Much appreciation to April Breslaw who hosted the tech party and Election Committee meeting. No party necessary to try it out; sign up at

https://openpr.gg/a/c8d3e70d and click on "I volunteer" from this page first and then follow instructions.

 

The Plus3 initiative was developed by Stanford university researchers. Volunteers sign up to adopt three potential voters you don't know, either in your neighborhood or in one of the flippable districts. The idea is to establish contact with the would-be voters and stay in touch until election day.

 

Some VADF volunteers ended up with people they did know including members of their own family and people just down the street. Since my Falls Church district is very blue I requested three voters in District 40 through the website. The voters in question usually are people who vote Democratic in presidential elections but do not vote in off-season elections. Soon by email came the name, address, and phone numbers of two males, 23 and 57, and one female 23.

 

Who answers phone calls from numbers they don’t know? Not me. Deciding to write soon led to the discovery that drug stores no longer sell post cards. “You want a phone card?” No thanks, never mind. Finding some old cards in the closet, I wrote what I thought was a convincing case for our candidate Donte Tanner and included my email. No nibbles back yet. I requested three more.

 

Sign up for Plus3 is at http://thunderdomepolitics.com/plus-3-initiative/

 

Another tech program VADF is linked to is Text10/Reach 10. This involves using text, email, talk or reaching out in any way to up to ten friends. Sometimes your friends and family just need a reminder to vote on election day. Sign up at www.text10.org

 

Pictured above: Chris LeMenestrel (left) guides volunteers Ilene Price and Jeff Price in sending out hundreds of texts. 

 

 

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VA Democracy Forward (VADF) is a grassroots group based in Northern Virginia.  Our mission is to restore and advance progressive Democratic values.

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