The Plan for 2012

We can win seats in Eastern Washington in some years, but we loose them in the next.  This is incredibly frustrating.  Simply stated, we need more progressive votes.  There is a way.  As you have heard, we are building a capacity to register enough progressive voters to shift the balance of power in Spokane and elsewhere in Eastern Washington when similar techniques are applied.

Aiming high, but for realistic goals

We strive to empower thousands of young, low-income, and working class progressives with a ferocious desire for voting.  Specifically, our goals are to:

  • Register 4,000 voters targeted as progressive in 2012,
  • Eventually, register 10,000 voters per two-year election cycle,
  • Politically engage large numbers of those we registered to vote progressively.

Our goals are based on the results of our small 2011 pilot project and on our ability to scale up for 2012.

Results from 2011: We successfully registered over 1,000 voters.   Of those we registered in the City of Spokane about 26% voted in the general election.

Other Interesting Facts:

  • The voters we registered in the 3rd Legislative District of Spokane voted at a rate that was 50% higher than a comparable group of other new registrants and address changes also in the 3rd Legislative District.
  • Approximately 63% of those we registered early in the year were Democrats or leaned Democrat, as indicate in a quality control surveyed of a small sample.
  • Most were young, low-income, or working class individuals who had fallen out of the political process.  About 200 had felony convictions. 


After doing the math, we are convinced a sustained, coalition-based effort to register and politically engage voters can start to shift the balance of power in Spokane and in other parts of Eastern Washington when similar techniques were applied.

Our Unique Strategy

Look.  We all know that progressives don’t vote as often as conservatives.  We tend to be young and low-income and those are barriers to voting.  Therefore, our strategy is more than just registering voters.  It is to take a systematic, research-based approach to addressing the fundamental problems that deter registration and voting.

Addressing root problems: Honestly, registration is so widely available and voting so easy these days. If people do not vote, there are usually some serious reasons preventing them.  Unless we address these reasons, just registering them is rather futile.  The majority will not stay registered nor even vote in the upcoming election.  These problems include:.

  • Frequently changing addresses
  • No access to information about the races.
  • Not understanding which party and candidates best represent them.
  • Not understanding their rights, such as the rights of those with felonies to register to vote.

Relationship building:  How do we address these problems?  Well, registering people is only the start of our work with those individuals.  We build relationships with those we register and establish ourselves as a trusted independent source of help and information about elections. We will use:

  • Face-to-face and telephone conversations,
  • Email communications,
  • A mailing of our working class person’s voting guide, and
  • The branding of our coalition’s name with those we register.

Targeting Individuals for Registration:  We target people with four characteristics: those that 1) are not registered, 2) would not have registered without our effort, 3) vote when registered, and 4) will vote progressively.

To target for those that vote progressively, we will . . .

  • attend events, places, and neighborhoods where progressives frequent.
  • indicate we are progressive so those who differ will decline our efforts, and
  • especially encourage the young, low-income, and minorities to register.

Coalition Based: Eastern Washington Voters is building a long-term, large-scale coalition for voter registration and engagement.  We will help with strategy, quality control, and volunteer coordination.

In 2011, Eastern Washington Voters lead a small coalition of organizations and individuals.  Voices and Progressive Democrats formally participated, and three other organizations informally assisted). 

Draft Timeline

April through Mid August.:  Voter registration fieldwork, pre-primary election:

  • Clip boarding
  • Tabling
  • Doorbelling

Mid Aug. to early Sept.:  Primary election voter phone bank:

  • Relationship building with voters.
  • Verify they received their ballot.
  • If they vote for us in the primary, they will in the general.

Mid Aug. to early Sept.:  Primary election voter registration fieldwork:

  • Best time to convince people that they are, in fact, not register.

 Early Sept. to Nov.:  Pre-general election fieldwork.

Mid Oct. to early Nov.: General election phone bank.


Attention to Quality and Innovation

Quality Control and Research:  We use the best available knowledge from the social sciences to register and politically engage voters.  We also conduct our own research, and use quality control to help ensure that we register mostly progressive voters.

Quality Control:

  • Follow up surveys to determine that we are registering mostly progressives.
  • Spatial analysis of our new registrants to determine if most are in progressive precincts of the Legislative Districts that we are targeting. 
  • Verifying with the county that those we register get on the voting roles and that their turn-out rate is acceptable. 

Use Existing Research to Drive our Strategy:

  • Political scientist’s David Nickerson’s research on voter registration drives are some of the few experimental studies on the topic.
  • Our GOTV field efforts are informed by political scientists Green and Gerber’s meta study Get Out the Vote.
  • Where the political science literature leaves off, there is a large body of social science research on persuasion an behavior change that guides our work, including that of Robert Cialdini.  

Our own research program: 

Despite pioneering work by David Nickerson, there is very little other research on how to conduct an effective voter registration effort.  Most existing research is on non-partisan 501 C3 voter registration drives.  There is essentially no research on political (PAC) efforts to influence elections by targeting individuals for registration and then politically engage those registrants to vote for one side or another. 

We are planning our own case-study and experimental research on:

  • The effects of individuals being in our program (being registered by us and     on politically engaged by us) on turn-out and voting for the candidates we support. 
  • The effectiveness of specific techniques such as 1) the approach developed by Registered Renters in Colorado and 2) various techniques to relationship building between our coalition and those we registered.


<h1 align=”center”><span style=”font-family: Verdana; font-size: large;”>The Plan for 2012</span></h1>