Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Action Item - Vote Ohio

If you've been looking for a direct way to help Obama win, you should know about Vote Today Ohio.

It's a simple, grassroots plan to take advantage of a new wrinkle in Ohio's election law. For one "Golden Week," Sept 29 to Oct 6, any Ohio citizen can walk into an early voting center, register, AND vote on the spot. During that time, hundreds of Vote Today Ohio volunteers will blanket the state to drive new voters from campuses and urban hot spots to Early Vote centers. Simple, targeted, smart. (See below for a more complete explanation.)

If fully funded, we think we can bank 10,000 early votes for Obama in Ohio – votes that can't be lost to long lines, broken machines and Republican tampering on election day. No, we won't win the election by ourselves. But Ohio is the #1 battleground state in 2008, and we can't afford to let one single Obama vote slip through our hands.

If you want Obama to win as much as I do, you can do four things:

1. Lend us your car or home. Our volunteers need wheels to drive voters to the polls, and beds to sleep in all over Ohio. Can you help us find either for the week? If so, contact votetodayohio@gmail.com

2. Volunteer. Get yourself to Ohio, preferably in a large car, by Sept 28. We'll give you housing, training and a meaningful job for the week. Fill out the Online Sign-Up Sheet at VoteTodayOhio.org.

3. Donate. Help us pay for vans, gas and posters. Our overhead is fully funded, so donations go directly to producing votes. We're looking for generous individuals or teams of friends to sponsor one van -- $750 for the week. That's a tangible, meaningful donation. If we run our program right, each van should deliver about 250 voters. Make an online donation here:

4. Spread the word. Send this email to friends who want to put their butts on the line for Obama, especially in Ohio!

This is a truly grassroots effort. Every volunteer, every vehicle and every dollar counts. Read up on the campaign below, and then please be in touch if you have ideas about how to support us -- votetodayohio@gmail.com


How to Bank 10,000 Progressive Votes Early and Win in Ohio

Two years ago, Ohio changed its voting laws in a way that creates an extraordinary opportunity for progressives to win Ohio, and thus the election.

Vote Today Ohio will use this change to lock down 10,000 progressive votes before election day -- critical insurance against the kinds of GOP dirty tricks and election day problems that affected our past two presidential elections.

For a 7-day "Golden Week," from Sept 30 - Oct 6, Ohio residents can walk into an early voting center, register to vote, and vote on the spot. This has never been possible before. Why does it matter? Because it takes what is normally a two-step process (register, wait a month, THEN vote) and turns it into a one-step process (register AND vote at the same time). For progressive organizers, that creates a much more efficient way to bring new voters into the process AND lock down their votes, before they can be manipulated, stolen or lost.

During this new Golden Week, Vote Today Ohio aims to turn out 10,000 progressive voters from two kinds of locations -- college campuses, and urban gathering spots. The model is simple: teams of five organizers will drive students / young people from campuses / urban centers to early voting centers. Organizers will use music and a party atmosphere to draw in new voters -- instead of knock and drag, it's rock and drag.


Vote Today Ohio is led by a team of experienced political and youth organizers:

Tate Hausman: Progressive organizer with a dozen years experience, four national electoral campaigns, Director of 2004's Slam Bush campaign

Amy Little: Political consultant, 30 years experience directing electoral, issue and civic engagement campaigns, National Field Director US Action ('04 cycle), Senior Advisor to Congressman John Hall (current)

Billy Wimsatt: Former Executive Director of the League of Young Voters, best-selling author, networking genius

Cristina Moon: Executive Director of 8-8-08 For Burma, well known student organizer and campus speaker


• 20 Teams = 10,000 votes: Vote Today Ohio will recruit 12 teams of campus organizers and 8 teams of urban organizers. Most teams will have 5 members -- two drivers, two street team organizers, one team leader. Each team will be responsible for delivering 500 votes for the week (~72 / day). Total = 10,000 votes.

• Preparation: In the days leading up to early voting week, teams will plaster their campuses / urban centers with materials about early voting week. Team leaders will generate publicity in school newspapers, radio stations, and via online campus channels, Facebook, etc.

• Logistics: During early voting week, teams will set up vote ferry stations, where students can get a ride to a polling station in a Vote Today Ohio van. Two drivers will run continuous ferries to and from polling stations.

• Training and GOTV: Each team will be instruct voters on Ohio new voting rights, rules and regulations. Organizers and van drivers will be given talking points and coached on how to recruit voters as Early Vote Volunteers who can then turn out their social networks. Volunteers will also be re-recruited for continuing persuasion and GOTV activities from Oct 7 - Nov 4.

• Non-van GOTV: Any voter who wants to register but can't vote early will have the opportunity to register and sign up for an absentee ballot. Organizers will get mobile phone numbers from these voters to send follow-up text messages (which proved in 2006 to be the single most cost effective GOTV reminder tool, raising turnout by 4% versus a control group).

• Ohio State University (2 teams)
• Ohio University (2 Teams)
• University of Toledo (1 Team)
• University of Cincinnati (1 Team)
• Kent State (1 Team)
• University of Dayton (1 Team)
• Cuyahoga Community College (1 Team)
• Cleveland State (1 Team)
• Miami University of Ohio (1 Team)
• Bowling Green State (1 Team)

Target Urban Areas:

• Columbus (2 Teams)
• Cleveland (2 Teams)
• Cincinnati (2 Teams)
• Dayton (1 Team)
• Toledo (1 Team)


To support this project, please visit our Act Blue page:

Note that Vote Today Ohio is a federal political action committee, so the maximum contribution amount is $5000. You will need to provide your address, occupation and employer. And the disclaimer:

Paid for by Vote Today Ohio, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contributions to Vote Today Ohio are not tax deductible.

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