The Battle Being Fought South of Interstate Eight

by on October 27, 2010 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Election, Organizing, San Diego

San diego I-8For the past month or so I’ve been burning the midnight oil, working on campaigns designed to increase voter turnout in the region. I talked with literally thousands of new and infrequent voters over the phone and knocked on hundreds of doors in neighborhood that usually get taken for granted during electoral campaigns. Multiply those numbers by the dozens of volunteer and paid campaigners who have opted to follow the path less traveled and what emerges is a campaign strategy full of possibilities not included in the conventional approaches to electioneering.

Jerry Brown’s campaign gets it. So do the people working for Proposition J, trying to salvage some funding for our public schools.  Marty Block’s people are cultivating these voters. And on the other side of the aisle, I have to say the County Supe Ron Roberts gets it, too. I’ve seen evidence from all these campaigns that they are reaching out to voters in neighborhoods where working people are struggling with the economic fallout that comes from 30 years of failed trickle down policies. A lot of these people are brown and black. Many of these folks are first generation voters. What they have in common is that, until recently, it was assumed by political campaigns that their votes weren’t worth asking for, either because of historically low turnout or the assumption that funding in more affluent areas would yield a greater return on investment.

For the first time in 12 years, there will be a runoff election in a San Diego County supervisor’s race. The increased voter turn out in the precincts that we worked last spring (in a much smaller effort) in the run up to the primary may well have made the difference, although nobody knows for sure what these voters did in the privacy of their polling places.  All we asked them to do was to show up and vote. And they did, in numbers that beat the average statewide turnout.  Supervisor Ron Roberts knows the score and has directed his campaign efforts into these neighborhoods.

So while the mainstream media are busy citing polls, there has been a concerted effort in California (and elsewhere) to empower non-traditional voting groups. Whether or not they actually show up on this Election Day remains to be seen, but these efforts are scaring the crap out of many conservative pundits who equate higher turnout by working class and poor people as evidence of voter fraud.  Expect to hear a lot of “Ghost of Acorn” stories in the days running up to Halloween.

Calling all volunteers for GOTV weekend

With our canvassers working nearly every day this election season, we’ve made nearly 90,000 calls and knocked on nearly 9,000 doors to reach voters in mid-city and southeastern San Diego. We’ve talked to over 10,000 voters on the phone and over 2,500 voters at the door. Of those, we’ve identified over 7,500 voters that support our positions on three critical initiatives: Yes on 25 (On-Time Budget), No on 23 (Dirty Energy), and Yes on J (Funding Support for Local Schools).

Now, we need your help to get out the vote among these supporters, most of whom are new and infrequent voters. In the final weekend before the election we will be walking to remind these voters to go to the polls and will be providing polling location information. This last weekend of effort is critical to getting the kind of turnout results we got in June. Please join us for 5 valuable hours on one of the days below and then help us celebrate our effort on Election Night:

Volunteer Saturday, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm

Volunteer Sunday, 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Volunteer Election Day, Tuesday, 3:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Election Watch Party, Tuesday, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm

All volunteer activities will commence at the Equality Alliance at 3750 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104. Volunteers will receive training, an Equality Alliance t-shirt, water, snacks, and our deep gratitude. Please come on time to receive training and make the most of your time. Thanks!

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Wilson at

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avatar doug porter October 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

It’s not too late to make a difference. Despite all Meg Whitman’s TV advertising, Jerry Brown’s campaign is now enjoying a 10 point lead in the polls. Why? Because thousands of people state-wide hit the streets over the last two weeks talking to their neighbors on behalf of that campaign. Come on out this weekend and help get out the vote!


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