Election Day 2017 Wrap
What a difference a year makes.
by Jason Putorti
You know Resistbot as the way to contact your officials, but in creating it we’ve always had our eye on turning advocacy and protest of Congressional action into votes in the ballot box—for most of us citizens, our only political power. If we don’t hold officials accountable for what actions they do or do not take when we write to them, neither our protests nor our voices will be taken seriously by them. We’ve done alerts for other elections before, like the special elections to fill Congressional seats in Montana, Georgia, California, and Kansas, but the first November elections for Resistbot were the statewide races in New Jersey and Virginia, and we debuted some new tools.
“This was the first real test for the resistance.“ –Van Jones
Here’s what we did in the week leading up to November 7th.
First, we launched the polls feature, which does a simple polling place lookup with a user-provided address.
It delivered 3,000 polling places to people in those states who didn’t know where to vote on election day. Sounds like not a big deal, but it’s nuts and bolts for turnout.
Second, we created a “plan to vote” feature based on best practices and research from Vote.org and other organizers over the years. Users made 7,892 plans.
Lastly, for everyone who made a plan to vote, they were delivered back to them the morning of Election Day along with their polling place. Then every user in N.J. and Va. was given a nudge a few hours before polls closed asking if they voted. If they did, they got Resistbot’s version of the “I voted” sticker.
In total, we sent over 60,000 initial pushes to create plans, converting just shy of 8,000 into completed plans with times of day and means of getting to the polls, and then on Election day, sent those 8,000 plans back, along with another 60,000 nudges later in the day.
They’re not just a marching movement, they’re a voting movement. — Van Jones
All while we delivered tons of user-written letters to Congress on gun control, tax reform, net neutrality, and every other imaginable subject — 250,000 in the last 30 days.
A lot of learning happened during this effort, which will only make the program smarter the next time. In Alabama next month, Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional district in March, and the rest of the country in 2018.
All this happened with volunteers, and the texting/infrastructure paid with your donations. Thank you! If you like our work, you can volunteer, donate, or, even more importantly, invite your friends to sign up. The more friends and neighbors you talk to, and the more users that join, the more we can turn out in 2018. Use the invite command, or tell friends they can send resist to 50409 on SMS, Messenger, or Telegram.