SPECIAL EDITION w/a spotlight on Michigan LCV Ed Fund’s poll worker recruitment and direct voter contact campaign! Plus, electing bold leaders on climate and our 2020 annual Gala next week
Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the October 8th edition of Three Things Thursday. I send these weekly messages to keep you up-to-date on Three Things the Michigan LCV team — and our broader Conservation Voters Movement — has accomplished and/or experienced recently in our work to protect Michigan’s incredible natural resources and the health and well-being of our children and communities.
This week I take a bit of extra time to SPOTLIGHT our poll worker recruitment and direct voter contact work, while also calling attention to the first presidential general election TV ad ever with a focus on climate change (spoiler: it’s all about Michigan!), and our outstanding lineup for our 2020 virtual Gala, which is taking place next week.
1. Michigan LCV Education Fund’s $1.3 Million Poll Worker Recruitment, Early Voting & Direct Voter Contact Campaign
The Michigan LCV Ed Fund team has been working tirelessly on two fronts as we approach the November election: (1) poll worker recruitment to ensure that our democratic process remains protected on Election Day and (2) a direct voter contact initiative, which is aimed at making sure voters are registered to vote and have at their disposal all the ways in which they can cast their ballot.
I’m proud to say that we have planned, raised the necessary funds for and been executing this work completely within the COVID era. Recognizing that our original 2020 plans, which were to run one of the largest place-based voter registration programs in the state, were completely unfeasible in the midst of a global pandemic, our team quickly pivoted. We re-organized and recalibrated our team, and we set to work to raise the over $1.3 million needed to ensure Michigan communities, like Detroit, have enough poll workers for all polling locations and that area voters are registered, engaged, and ready to vote this fall.
Our team has been rockin’ it, logging impressive numbers in poll worker recruitment, virtual canvassing, and early voting efforts.
Here’s a snapshot of the program:
COVID-19 created a dire need for poll workers all across the state and the Michigan LCV Ed Fund team stepped up to lead a coordinated poll worker recruitment effort that includes more than 30 organizations.
Communities like Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and a number of other key cities are the focus due to population density and their multiple polling locations. Well-trained, capable poll workers ensure the safety (social distancing, etc.) and the integrity of the elections. Indeed, designated poll workers are, in our minds, the essential workers for our democracy.
To give you a sense of this campaign over the summer, our Civic Engagement team set a target goal of recruiting and referring 5,000 poll workers to the Secretary of State for training and placement. We focused on Detroit as a key location and set a 2,500 poll worker goal for the city itself. Using social media, partnerships, paid media and other outreach efforts, our Civic Engagement team spread the message far and wide. And, it worked! (You can listen to our radio ad here and watch our 30 second video ad here. )
As of Monday, October 5th, our Civic Engagement team had successfully recruited 7,645 poll workers statewide, surpassing our original goal of 5,000! And, we will continue to see this number grow as we approach Election Day.
While many jurisdictions are beginning to reach full staffing, there is still a need for those willing to serve as back-ups in the event of last minute cancellations. In addition, communities like Detroit, Flint and Muskegon are still accepting applications. If you are interested in signing up to be a poll worker (and getting paid for helping to make the 2020 election happen), please visit MichiganVoting.org/be-a-poll-worker. Keep in mind that the last day for regular placement of poll workers is October 13th.
Please know that none of this would have been possible without dedicated work from more than 30 partner organizations, including the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program, All Voting Is Local, ACLU of Michigan, the League of Women Voters of Michigan Detroit & Dearborn-Dearborn Heights Chapters, labor organizations (AFSCME, MI AFL-CIO, and SEIU), and Power The Polls.
For more detail on our partnerships (especially our youth engagement and our multi-lingual poll worker recruitment), as well as our direct voter contact work (which is edging close to 1 million calls!), please visit our website.
Out of more than 7,645 poll workers recruited, more than 2,000 recruits have been confirmed for the city of Detroit! This is an amazing accomplishment and was made possible through one of our key partnerships with the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program, which helped recruit over 400 poll workers. Grow Detroit’s Young Talent promotes a city-wide summer jobs program that trains and employs young adults ages 14-24. Having over 400 poll workers recruited from the program is phenomenal, especially in terms of involving young people in the voting process and facilitating young people protecting our democracy within their own communities.
Finally, the poll worker recruitment effort has also focused on recruiting multilingual poll workers with language skills in Spanish, Arabic, and Bangla. In Southeast Michigan, specifically, there is a need for multilingual poll workers to help non-English speaking voters with the voting process. So far, our Civic Engagement team has helped recruit over 300 multilingual poll workers to help fill this need, which is amazing, and these numbers will only continue to grow leading up to Election Day.
Direct Voter Contact (DVC):
On the other side of our Civic Engagement efforts is our Direct Voter Contact (DVC) campaign. This effort is aimed at voter registration and education through calling and texting initiatives with the ultimate goal of getting as many voters registered and to the polls, voting early, or voting by mail as possible this election season.
I’m happy to report the DVC team just hit a total of 846,301 calls out of their 1 million call goal, which is amazing! The team has surpassed their 5% contract rate goal, hitting 7%. And, in terms of total voters surveyed (regarding their voter registration status and their plan to vote), the DVC team set a goal of 100,000 voters and, as of earlier this week, they have reached a total of 73,341 individuals.
Finally, our ballot chase initiative has been extremely successful as well. In an effort to determine exact voting plans from registered voters and tracking the data surrounding their ballots, our team has contacted a total of 18,476 registered voters out of our 20,000 goal, with 5,360 of these voters committing to vote by mail! Our DVC team is now making additional calls to voters who have requested a ballot by mail with a reminder to check their mailbox.
Bottom line? The Michigan LCV Ed Fund team has been, and remains, all-hands-on-deck to ensure voter participation and election integrity this election season.
2. Need for Smart, Bold Leaders on an Array of Things, Including Climate Change
We are in the midst of the most monumental election in our nation’s history. Indeed, this election will define if and how we will act to address a myriad of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the horrors of racial violence and injustice, the relentless rollbacks of our nation’s public health and environmental protections, widespread drinking water contamination, and the greatest threat to the planet: climate change.
Here in Michigan, we have a bold leader in Gov. Whitmer who has been acting on all these fronts: working to protect Michiganders from COVID; acknowledging the disparate impact of the pandemic on communities of color through the establishment of a Racial Disparities Task Force; and taking action to protect our water and address climate change from the moment she took office. In addition to her early actions, which included the establishment of Michigan’s first-ever office of climate and energy and signing an order to have Michigan join the US Climate Alliance, Gov. Whitmer’s recent Executive Order on climate change, and her subsequent announcement of major investment in Michigan’s water infrastructure, are key examples of how the governor is leading on these crucial issues
As we look at the presidential race, Vice President Joe Biden has announced plans for national action that look and feel very much like what we have been seeing right here in Michigan. Based in large part on the Biden-Sanders unity task force recommendations, the Biden/Harris platform includes important plans to address public health, the economy, criminal justice reform, water pollution and — yes — the climate crisis.
In fact, Biden is the first presidential candidate in American history to specify an aggressive climate plan that would put our country on track to tackle climate change. Like Gov. Whitmer’s recent climate action plans, Biden’s climate agenda is focused on achieving carbon neutrality and eliminating our dependency on fossil fuels, all while creating clean energy jobs that would grow the economy. Earlier this week, the Biden campaign released the first presidential ad in history directly focused on climate change featuring King’s Orchards, a Central Lake, MI family-owned cherry farm. The ad, which features farmer John King and his family, looks at the threats of climate change facing Michigan communities right now. I encourage you to check it out.
3. Our Annual Gala — “Equity and the Environment”– is right around the corner!
Our annual gala–honoring Governor Whitmer, Lt Governor Gilchrist and Detroit activist Theresa Landrum — is next week Wednesday. Our team is dedicated to holding an event just as spectacular as those we’ve had in years past at the Book Cadillac and Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in downtown Detroit.
I’m excited to say our list of VIP speakers has grown in recent days. In addition to a live poetry performance from Detroit poet Natasha Miller (who composed a poem just for our event), our speakers include:
- Governor Gretchen Whitmer (honoree)
- Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist (honoree)
- S. Senator Gary Peters
- Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin
- State Representative Tyrone Carter
- Detroit activist from zip code 48217 Theresa Landrum (honoree)
This is an evening you won’t want to miss. Tickets are still available and can be purchased up until Wednesday at 5 p.m. You can purchase your ticket and reserve your “seat” at https://michiganlcv.org/event/equity-and-the-environment/.
I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!
As always, thank you so much for your support of work!
P.S. This election, Michigan LCV urges you to vote Yes on Prop 1.
For decades, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) has been protecting the land around our drinking water sources, our natural outdoor spaces, and our wildlife habitats by funding land conservation and public recreation across Michigan. This program, along with the State Parks Endowment Fund (SPEF), provides significant benefits to our state while preserving the outdoors. Since 1976, the MNRTF has distributed $1.2B in grants for public lands and funded over 1,000 public parks in all 83 counties.
Proposal 1 makes a number of improvements that will help preserve and protect our outdoors for future generations.
- It allows additional funding to go to the MNRTF. The MNRTF reached its funding cap into 2011, and since then all royalties have been directed to the State Park Endowment Fund. Prop 1 ensures that, when the SPEF reaches its cap, these dollars will be directed back to the MNRTF and not the general fund. The key is that we will successfully guarantee every dollar from this revenue stream for conservation and recreation.
- It does not reduce the amount of funding that goes toward public land acquisition. The Constitution currently requires at least 25% of funds go toward acquisition of new public lands, and this would remain unchanged with Prop 1.
- It allows us to invest in creating green spaces in our cities, increasing equitable access to our outdoors throughout the state, and renovating and redeveloping aging public recreation facilities by removing the current limit of 25% of funds that can go towards development, redevelopment and renovation of public recreation.
Prop 1 has wide, bipartisan support, which is rare these days — and includes the support of a large list of environmental and conservation organizations, including: Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Environmental Council, the Nature Conservancy, Heart of the Lakes, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Environment Michigan, Alliance for the Great Lakes, National Wildlife Federation, Huron River Watershed Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, and many more. You can see the full list and more info at www.miwaterwildlifeparks.com.
With the passage of Prop 1, we have an opportunity to work with our neighbors to increase funding for our public lands and parks, an opportunity that doesn’t come around every year. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund has created an unmatched conservation and recreation legacy in our state. Michigan LCV supports Prop 1, seeing the initiative as a key way to pass our conservation and recreation legacy onto future generations.
Want to learn more? I invite you to read this piece by Lester Graham on the Michigan Radio website. Our Government Affairs Director Nick Occhipinti will also be speaking about Prop 1 on a webinar tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. You can RSVP for that event here.