Navajo and Apache Tribal members are using new technology to systematically canvass their Reservations -- which are the size of West Virginia and Connecticut – to turn out the voters needed to defeat Trump and elect Mark Kelly to the U.S. Senate.
Without Arizona, Trump has no path to victory in the Electoral College.
Field teams on large Western reservations have been handicapped in the past because of a lack of addresses and geo-codes. They are used in off-Reservation areas to produce canvassing maps needed for effective door-to-door voter registration and get-out-the-vote work.
The situation on reservations changed dramatically when Navajos began using Google Plus Codes to identify every home on the Utah portion of their land. They used the fine-grained canvassing technique to win two of the three seats on the San Juan County, Utah, County Commission, and then used the method again to defeat an anti-Native referendum to change the county’s form of government. The successful Utah strategy is now being used in Arizona because its 11 Electoral Votes could determine the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
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How Plus Codes Work
If you find your home, or another building, on Google Maps, you can tap the location to drop a pin on the map. The pin will have a code, such as 43FG+44, which can be Googled to find the location. Somewhat similar to telephone area codes, if you are a long ways from the location, you may need an additional identifier, such as Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, in case this same “short code” is used elsewhere in the world.
Teams are working to locate every dwelling on the Navajo and Apache Reservations in Arizona and make sure the residents are registered to vote. Traditional addressing systems miss many Natives for two reasons: (1) The work of rural addressing on tribal lands is moving at a glacial pace and is far from complete. (2) Many Tribal members live in storage sheds, tents or even traditional brush huts that are denied regular addresses because they do not meet even minimal building code requirements.
On the White Mountain Apache Reservation, we are working with Tribal Ambulance, Fire Department, Police, Community Health Nurses, Tribal Housing and many others to find every inhabited dwelling. Together with the adjacent San Carlos Apache Reservation, the two tribes occupy a land area almost exactly the size of Connecticut, 5,543 square miles. The Apaches vote more than 95% Democratic, so helping them get registered and get to the polls is vitally important. In addition to improving voter registration and turnout, the initiative will also help with their census and improve emergency response.
On the Navajo Reservation, we are working with the Tribal Addressing Authority to identify all the occupied homes, get them located on maps and get everyone registered to vote. The Navajo Nation is almost exactly the size of West Virginia, 24,000 square miles. Most of it is in Arizona, though there are portions in New Mexico and Utah.
On both Reservations, we have Field Organizers in communities such as Window Rock, Kayenta, Tuba City, Whiteriver, Cibecue and will soon be expanding that list to Chinle and Dilkon. By March, we will be adding organizers to San Carlos and Hopi. Also, as many Natives live in the border communities of Flagstaff, Winslow and Holbrook, we will add field organizers to work on voter registration there.
We have worked out a system of metrics where we only count things that will help us win the election and have avoided counting busy-work tasks. In Voter Contacts, we measure voter registrations, mail-ballot applications, pledge to vote cards and Google Plus Codes collected. Under Organization Building, we measure precinct committee members recruited, volunteers recruited and volunteer hours. We will begin publishing metrics monthly at the end of January.
We will get this done. We will defeat Trump and we will elect Mark Kelly to the U.S. Senate.
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