Many people have asked how they can best get involved in the effort to get out the vote to recall Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch on June 5, and don't know where to get started or what kinds of actions are best. There are loads of things you can do, depending on how much time you have, what you like to do, and your comfort level. The only thing that's not an option here is doing nothing. Since Scott Walker has been in power, he has attempted at every turn to silence, disregard and disrespect the constituents of this state, and has violated the demands of democracy by choosing to "govern" through corruption, nepotism, and cronyism which betrays the interests of the people for the interests of the shareholders in his administration. The time has come for us to exercise our legal right to recall him. And people are asking me: How? What is the best use of my time in these last few weeks to get out the vote? Here's my best advice:
- Connect. Find existing groups and get involved. You are not alone and you don't need to go lone wolf or reinvent the wheel here. There is a lot you can do if you connect with these teams!
- The WisDems and OFA (Organizing for America) have joined forces as the Barrett Field Team in Wisconsin and are working on a massive canvassing effort to get out the vote. They have walklists of carefully selected households that will be likely to vote for Tom Barrett and need reminding. You can find the closest local field office here: http://www.wisdems.org/RecallHQ/Offices.
- United Wisconsin is working with grassroots teams around the state to get out the vote, spread information, and inform your community. You can volunteer and get literature to pass out, or you can buy yard signs, bumper stickers, etc. Find your local United Wisconsin county group here to get in touch with the people in your area.
- We Are Wisconsin is doing a fantastic job of reaching out to local communities. They have organized a Relational Voter Program that helps you stay in touch with a manageable list of friends and neighbors to make sure they don't forget to vote. And they have field offices all over the state where you can volunteer to distribute literature, go door to door, or make phone calls. Find one here: http://www.wearewisconsin.org/volunteer/.
- Support the efforts of your local union. If you're a union member, or support labor, contact your union to see what local people are doing to help. Don't just ignore all those emails and mailings - they have important contact info for ways you can get involved! There are many volunteer opportunities with the major unions like AFL-CIO and AFSCME. And WEAC members can join postcard parties, help GOTV and do many other things to help protect education and workers' rights in Wisconsin.
- Talk to your own friends and neighbors. Nothing is more effective than direct communication with someone you know. Tell them why you are voting to recall Walker and encourage them to do the same. Send them an email. Make phone calls. Use social media. And visit http://www.iverifytherecall.com/GovWalker.aspx (those teabaggers helped us more than they'll ever know!) to type in your street name (leave out the "street" or "drive" part for maximum results) and your zip code to get the list of everyone on your street who signed the petition then stop by and remind them to vote on June 5. I typed in my street info and found 72 people on my street who'd signed - 8 pages of results! Not only will you feel less alone, but you'll make local connections you didn't know existed! For more tips on how you can act locally on your own, check out these great suggestions from Sara Johann!
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Everyone in Wisconsin knows that local media usually has an admittedly conservative bias, and many local papers only provide a counter to that perspective through their "mail bag" sections. Let your community know where you stand by sharing your reasons why Walker needs to be recalled. Short, pointed letters are effective and persuasive. Find a list of local papers in the details of our Open Letter Challenge.
- Get the message out. Shockingly, many people still really think this election is just about collective bargaining. We can only fight that messaging by getting out the truth. Put up a yard sign (you can buy one from any of the groups above) or make your own. If there's one thing this movement has made famous, it's Wisconsin's creative and enterprising spirit and brilliance of expression. Coordinate a Grassroots TV Wisconsin project in your community - make message signs to put up around town with rotating "topics" to inform people who don't normally follow politics or the news. Stage a "Why we need to recall Walker" sign-holding event on a busy street in your community. Create a "moving billboard" out of your car. Click here for instructions on how to complete these project and click here and here for examples of the signs in action. Note: Be sure to put "paid for by....[your name or your group]" on the signs and to only put them on private property, with permission - see here for info on the legality of signage near highways and check your municipality if you have questions about local ordinances. For most places, the rule is that it can't be on public property or the easement and has to be at least 6 feet from the road.
- VOTE. This is the most important action of all. None of the rest matters if we all don't vote. If we vote, we win. And if we don't vote, we give up our right to complain. We have worked so hard, for so long, to expose the corruptions and abuses of power of this administration, and our moment of justice depends entirely on our faith in democracy and our participation in the process we have fought so hard to protect. The polls will be open from 7am to 8pm on election day, June 5, 2012, and early absentee voting can be done by mail or in person at your City Clerk's office from Monday, May 21 to 5pm on Friday, June 1 (if you want to go one step further, you can volunteer (or get paid) to work at the polls or serve as an election observer to ensure integrity of the election process - they need lots of help with this all over the state!). If you're not registered to vote, you can register at the polls, but be sure to bring proof of residency - and remember you need to have lived at your current address for at least 28 days. If you've recently moved you need to vote at your old polling place, or absentee. But whatever else you do, make time to vote. And if each of us brings just one other person to the polls, we have already won. Data shows that when Dems get out the vote, they win.
P.S. UPDATE. Here's an excellent 6th suggestion from Ted Quincey, who offers this Challenge:
I am issuing a personal challenge to each and every one of you!
If you accept the challenge, you must agree to these terms:
1) I shall vote in the recall election.
2) I shall make every effort to vote absentee right away (starting May 21).
3) I shall confirm at least 10 people I know have voted, whether absentee or on election day.
4) I shall contact as many people as I can to issue the same challenge to them.
5) I shall be persistent, and make sure people understand how important it is to vote.
Scott Walker is counting on his virtually unlimited supply of mostly out-of-state money to drown out the voices of the People of Wisconsin. The best way to counter his campaign is to reach out to the people you already know. Talk to them about what has been happening in Wisconsin and how important it is to restore our democracy, but most importantly ENCOURAGE THEM TO VOTE! The results on June 5 will depend in large part on voter turnout, so make sure you have done everything in your power to convince the people you know to get involved! If enough of us do this, we CAN overcome the tens of millions of dollars being spent to keep Walker in office.
Now is NOT the time to say, "I hope somebody will do something to make this campaign a success."
Now is the time to BE that somebody, and to do everything in your power to make it happen!
So, are you up to the challenge?
United Wisconsin http://
Democratic Party of Wisconsin http://www.wisdems.org/
Government Accountability Board: http://gab.wi.gov/
List of contact information for all Wisconsin Municipal Clerks (sorted by county)
17 days left to close the deal!