Details About the Investments
1. West by Southwest
California, Arizona, and Nevada together have enough winnable races in 2018 to get Democrats one-third of the way toward control of Congress. Also at stake, the opportunity to pass important state-level policies on health care, climate change, mass incarceration, and more. You’re investing in 5 powerful groups: one statewide, one each in Orange County and the Central Valley, plus the strongest front line groups in Nevada and Arizona.
Orange County Civic Engagement Table
A coalition of Latino, Asian-American, faith-based, and low-income organizations in Orange County, home to 4 competitive Congressional races. OCCET’s member organizations just in one recent week registered over 1,000 new voters while leading direct actions in multiple cities to defend DACA. Their increased capacity will be used to communicate with hundreds of thousands of voters, including a number of new voters registered through California’s automatic voter registration laws. This information will be “in-language” for their Vietnamese and Korean communities and will include voter education and mobilization materials. The in-language capacity developed by these groups is very unusual in the electoral space. Early investment will provide capacity to develop the political organizing skills of multilingual staff.
Based in Oakland, Power CA is building a disciplined, culturally-attuned movement of Black, Latinx, Asian-Pacific, Muslim and Native communities. It is a network of 29 groups with a long term vision for shared power, training leaders, getting out the vote—all working together this year to register 175,000 new voters who speak 12 different languages. As each group commits to voter registration and GOTV programs, Power CA provides funding so they can hire dedicated staff, expand their reach, and distribute local voting guides. But it’s not just about the voting: Power CA is giving people who don’t feel like they are part of the system a sense of agency, pride in their culture, and a vision for leading and governing over a 50 year arc.
Communities for a New California
An immigrant and environmental justice organization rooted in California’s Central Valley, CNC’s strongest organizing presence overlaps with two key Congressional districts currently held by Republicans Jeff Denham and Devin Nunes. CNC started in 2010 to organize local communitiesof color to demand change in the Statehouse and has played a key role in legislative victories on immigration, including the California DREAM Act. Additional funding will help them to continue to build electoral capacity, leveraging their on-the-ground strength to better educate their constituents and ensure that eligible progressive voters in the Central Valley turn out to the polls in 2018.
PLAN Action (NV)
The anchor progressive organizing institution of Nevada, PLAN Action has built capacity significantly in recent years, driving over 300,000 phone calls and door knocks in 2016, and driving earned and social media attention to Dean Heller’s cynical votes on healthcare and more. In addition to their own program, PLAN convenes and coordinates with a dozen labor, environmental, and healthcare partners and will play a crucial role in educating the public about the differences between candidates in next year’s Governor and State legislative races. Support at this time will allow PLAN Action to scale up their electoral program early and also support progressive candidates in primaries.
People United for Justice (AZ)
For decades, Sheriff Joe Arpaio terrorized Maricopa County’s Latino populations, running racial profiling operations and effectively torturing inmates held at county jails, many of whom had never been convicted of a crime. In 2016, three major Latino-led community organizations (Puente, LUCHA, and Center for Neighborhood Leadership) launched People United for Justice as an ongoing vehicle to work with the BAZta Arpaio! Campaign and oust the sheriff while building long-term power. On election night 2016, they celebrated as Arpaio went down to defeat. Today, these organizations are still working to build Latino and low-income power in Arizona, which will see competitive races up and down the ballot. Early investment will assure their ability to qualify ballot measures, including one that joins Arizona in an interstate compact to elect the president by national popular vote.
2. Network Effect
You are investing in 4 powerful National networks that combine bigger than anti-Trump national narratives with local face-to-face voter engagement. They all have proven track records for mobilizing progressive, historically-marginalized voters and getting different local groups to work together towards a common goal. They have played key roles in recent progressive victories in Philadelphia, Chicago and Jackson, MS.
The nation’s most prominent next-generation civil rights organization, ColorOfChange successfully led efforts to have Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly removed from FoxNews. They also ran a campaign to pressure big corporations to withdraw from the American Legislative Exchange Council, denying millions of dollars to an anchor right-wing institution. In 2016, ColorOfChange’s voter education efforts targeting prosecutors and ‘Voting While Black’ peer-to-peer text campaigns reached millions of Black voters and changed the conversation around mass incarceration.
Movement for Black Lives Action (M4BL)
Arising out of the Ferguson Uprising, M4BL is a collective of more than 50 organizations across the country which have brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets and ignited a national conversation about racial justice. Many of these organizations have limited historic engagement with electoral politics. They are now working together to develop electoral plans. Early investment will allow strong community-by-community plans to be developed and key staff hired early. These efforts can reverse the effects of a wave of disinvestment in Black-led electoral organizing that occurred after the 2012 election.
Alliance for Youth Action / Student Power Network
Only 20% of young Americans approve of the President. Several efforts that have been building over the past decade are now jointly planning for the largest grassroots youth and campus voter mobilization campaign in recent history. These networks have experience putting big programs on the board. They passed automatic voter registration in 4 states, including the first such bill in the country. And they helped oust the Chicago’s States Attorney, the fight that activated prosecutor races nationwide. In last fall’s elections, using sophisticated, proven programs on and off campus they were instrumental in tripling youth (under 30) turnout. As high school students across the country escalate their protests over gun control, these groups are ready to provide organizing support.
Working Families Organization
America’s strongest third party stands strong for economic populism and racial justice. In 2013, the Working Families Party played a key role in electing Bill de Blasio to the position of NYC Mayor. In 2017, they played a key role in electing Chokwe Lumumba to the position of Jackson, MS Mayor and they drafted Randy Bryce to mount a strong challenge to Paul Ryan. Along the way, they’re building a narrative that works in urban areas, in the rural Midwest, and in the Deep South. This year they are launching parties in Wisconsin and Colorado and working on primaries across the country to get strong progressive candidates on the ballot. Investment in the Working Families organizations helps this transformative model reach even more areas and put dedicated, staffed efforts around the country.
3. Voter Motor
The Voter Motor fund supports 5 local voting rights groups in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas. These amazing organizations are successfully fighting off voter suppression measures and right-wing attacks seem to make them stronger. They are pushing hard to restore the vote for 1.6 million ex-felons in Florida, and in Georgia the former head of the group we’re investing in, Stacey Abrams, is running a strong campaign for Governor.
Florida has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the country. It is one of 3 states, along with Iowa and Kentucky, to permanently bar all citizens with felony convictions from voting. Desmond Meade has a felony conviction, but he did his time and paid his debt to society. He now has a law degree and has spent the past six years building a powerful statewide coalition to automatically restore voting rights to people who have completed their sentences. Called Florida Second Chances, it is backing a constitutional amendment that will restore voting rights to 1.6 million people. This has the potential to be one of the most transformative policy measures anywhere in the country this year. Organize Florida is one of the key groups working in this coalition. They are also a full social service agency taking care of displaced Puerto Rican families along the I-5 corridor. These people will swell the ranks of Democratic voters in Florida.
New Virginia Majority
Virginia imposes some of the nation’s most onerous voting restrictions on individuals with felony convictions. In 2016, when Gov. McAuliffe moved to restore voting rights to many individuals, New Virginia swung into action to help these individuals register. They have registered hundreds of thousands of Virginians personally, while also working with State systems at DMVs and elsewhere to maximize the number of registered voters in the state. New Virginia Majority runs significant programs in Black, Asian-American, and white working class communities in the state, as well as progressive middle-class areas of Northern Virginia. They coordinated the political strategy that “came out of nowhere” to win the governorship and almost took back the state legislature. They are now trying to pass Medicaid and getting ready for Congressional races this fall and flipping the legislature, which will have serious implications for redistricting in 2020.
Ignite NC Action
In the days following the Klan/Nazi march in Charlottesville, Durham, NC, attracted its own National attention when citizens toppled a local confederate statue. Many of the leaders involved cut their teeth with Ignite NC or one of its sister projects, which has worked over the past six years at the intersection of direct action and electoral engagement. When the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the pre-clearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, the state immediately passed laws to eliminate same day registration, cut early voting days and eliminate pre-registration for 17 and 18 year olds. To bring a lawsuit, you had to produce people who were directly harmed. In 2014 Ignite NC put 350 volunteers in the field on election day to identify people who were disenfranchised and connect them with attorneys. They played a crucial role in getting the law struck down.
New Georgia Project Action
One of the most impressive voter registration and mobilization efforts to arise in recent years, New Georgia Project launched for the 2014 election and is already moving statewide, engaging Blacks and Latinos in rural Georgia in addition to their major base in Atlanta. In recent years, they have registered over 200,000 voters, successfully sued to turn back purges of voter files and stopped spurious lawsuits aimed directly at New Georgia Project over bogus voter fraud allegations, the same kinds of attacks that the far-right used to destroy ACORN. Today, New Georgia Project’s founder Stacey Abrams, minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives for 6 years, is running for Governor, and New Georgia Project has taken on the job of electing the first black woman governor in the country.
Started by six University of Texas students in 2013, MOVE San Antonio is now MOVE Texas. Still driven by students, they work aggressively to overcome the voter suppression tactics, racism, and apathy that have enabled the decades-long Republican stranglehold on Texas. They tripled the under 35 vote, becoming the decisive force behind the election of a progressive mayor in 2017. And they are working to register 30,000 new voters for the 2018 general election--with two congressional seats in play. MOVE Texas runs a year-round leadership development program, and fights for progressive policy change on issues like affordable housing, immigrant rights, voting rights, accessible elections and paid sick leave. They teach civics and organizing to women and men in the county jail. They stopped ICE from knocking on doors. They’re fighting to put light rail on the ballot. Airlift donations will help raise the hourly pay of 15 MoveSA fellows, who work 20-25 hours a week, from $11 to $15 per hour.
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