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  •  "Smart" is the magic word. Without it, zip happens (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, wishingwell, R2P2

    I recently saw what was supposed to be a get out the vote effort by progressives with shining eyes. And what I think is no brain engaged behind them.

    The idea was to go to high school commencements with voter registration forms, getting a sort of access to the now or soon to be eighteen and eligible voters if registered. No tables. No identification that the people in civvies were an organized voter registration campaign, and nothing else.  A bunch of old white folks in civvies only without even the minor help of partisan ID, since Dems don't do immigration raids. the only thought about how to approach possibles was to wave forms and say "Would you like a voters' registration form for your graduate?" No second statement.

    This is important because the high schools in question have very large numbers of students from families whose first language is neither English nor even Spanish. Although the state election board supplied forms in languages other than English or Spanish, the volunteers didn't have any of them. Nor speak any of those languages. Didn't have forms or speak Spanish either.

    This last is important as, of course, the very first question on the form and in the minds of the GOTV folk was the question, 'are you a US citizen?" Not a question a family which may have one or more in irregular status or know someone who is, such as a guest at the graduation, wants to chat about with a stranger unidentified save for the waving of forms.

    It also developed that the people doing this GOTV had been chucked off the premises the prior day after supposedly getting the permission of the higher ups to be there but not getting it in writing to help them when the lower downs of the site chucked them out. They had also been encountered by police who ordered them to leave when walking through a nearbly shopping center waving forms, and accosting people standing in movie lines.

    And what they planned to do was get the forms filled out and then turn them in themselves, rather than providing forms, and hints of how to fill them out, and perhaps stamps by which the would be registrants would be encouraged to mail them themselves, the mailing system making sure that no one  other than them and the election board having access to the contents, and there being less doubt than might result from leaving them with the GOTV volunteers,  that the forms and the election board would actually encounter one another or instead be used for a more nefarious purpose.

    One minority volunteer also appeared, an experienced guy, and he ended up complaining to the leader of this enterprise that she was being condescending to him, and flat out refused to follow her game plan. Wonderful.

    Apparently three days of effort got them twelve filled out forms, or so it was said. It resulted in a leader sure that she had run a diligent and well informed GOTV and proud of herself,  with it on her resume, but not going to do more because twelve forms was not enough to call it a complete success. And those who hear the tale from her will also be told that GOTV was properly done, and need not be done again in the location and with the population in question. Not.

    It is not enough to be a shining eyed progressive. The brain to figure out what really has to be done to get people willing to fill out and file the forms, in the circumstances in which the would be voters find themselves, not the GOTVers think themselves to be in, and then to toddle off and vote on voting day, is what is required. And the execution of the plan, with trained workers, not a leader who is sure what she proposes is minimally legal and that's all that matters.

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