This document covers several types of data we need to make a decision as to where we go. Some of this is classical political and demographic information, other aspects are peculiar to locating a canvass during a pandemic. These include:
- Developing and refining our overall selection methodology
- Connecting with Senate campaigns and other canvassing organizations
- Identifying and Recruiting volunteer election geeks
- Compiling demographic data
- Researching compelling down ballot election races
- Assessing the effectiveness of voter suppression in key races
- Deep investigation of Georgia’s 2 Senate races
0) Developing our state selection methodology
All of this data gathering and analysis goes into figuring out where our covid compliant canvassers should go. Factors we’re considering include current and past polls, the impact a small group could have on the race, engagement with campaigns, severity of covid and travel restrictions related to the pandemic, housing cost and affordability, and connections with paid canvassing. Our full list of factors currently being considered is available here.
1) Finding Senate Campaigns willing to cooperate deeply
Ideally, Flip 2020 canvassers will work directly with one (or more) campaigns in the areas we target. The first step of this is reaching out to see which Democrating campaigns might support our efforts. This could be with housing or paid canvassing positions or other in kind contributions which reduce the fundraising burden. We have done some work toward this goal, but are still looking for strong connections to one (or more) of the campaigns we’re considering engaging with. You can view the states we are looking at on this spreadsheet. Your work would be finding phone numbers and/or direct email addresses and contact people in these democratic campaigns – you would not need to do the negotiations about what they can offer us (unless you wanted to) simply getting the telephone contacts of a real person (rather than a website and volunteer form, which we already have) would be a big help.
2) Recruiting political geeks from election news sites
There are several political websites (including fivethirtyeight.com and DailyKos.com) which have citizen experts making comments who might well be intrigued by our problem and willing to help. Unlike FB and many other sources, the people who comment on articles on these sites, especially on polling, are serious data geeks. We should review their comments, find folks who are both smart and politically aligned and ask them to help us. We should also be seeking support as a “thought experiment” project with some of the politically aligned staff of these sites. This requires looking through past articles and comments and developing profiles of who might be inclined to say yes.
3) Gathering demographic data about these races.
If you want to do more pure research to support this effort, there are a number of things we are investigating to help us determine where we want to go. These are in the topics of both demographics and political history. We have one person, Stefani, who has already done a bunch of this work, but there is a lot left to do. Especially, investigations into interesting/ contested down ballot races which might help swing our decision to go to a particular state. There are several aspects we are researching including:
- What are the high profile down ballot races?
- Are there any referendums of interest?
- How many voters (and of which party) have registered since 2018?
- What is the election history of the state for the past 20 years?
You could work on any of these topics that were of interest.
4) Analyzing voter suppression
Stacey Abrahms “lost” the governor’s race in Georgia by 50K votes in 2018. In 2017, Secretary of State Kemp (who was running against Abrahms) purged 670K voters from the roles, with over 300K of them having the same address as when they originally registered. We should be looking at how active and effective voter suppression efforts in our swing states are. I am guessing this is an online literature/news search and discussions with people from the senate campaigns we are looking to support. Especially effective voter suppression might well scare us from operating in a state.
5) Detailed research (deep dive) into the two Georgia Senate elections
Georgia is a Republican leaning state most of the time. But there is quite some chance that Biden will choose either Stacey Abrams or Keisha Lance Bottoms as VP, this would likely put this state in play in an important way. Taking either of these Senate seats would be a huge boon towards Democratic control of the Senate, because neither of them is considered likely in the conventional thinking – despite Democrats polling well. And the special election is actually a top two primary, meaning if no one gets over 50% of the vote (which is very unlikely because there are many Democrats and many Republicans and a fair few independents all running against each other) then there will be a special election of the top two vote getters in Jan 2021, which might determine who controls the Senate. This research would be into the various Democratic candidates platforms and organizations and see which ones we (a mostly progressive/radical group of canvassers) might be interested in supporting. Your work would be chronicling these campaigns and making ranked recommendations.