Hope Springs from Field PAC started knocking on doors in southwest Georgia on March 26th. This was a continuation of our work in November 2020 for the Georgia Senate Runoff, largely driven by the
11 (Albany State University) organizers we had trained during the runoff who then led GOTV operations in their counties on January 5th. We started in March with about 2,000 names of people who expressed interest in knocking on doors (a few people volunteered specifically as drivers for hot days), primarily in their home counties or in Dougherty County (the home of ASU).
By the end, we had expanded out to 21 counties in southern Georgia, enlisting volunteers from Black Churches, as well (primarily AME churches), with little over 8,000 people who expressed interested in participating in knocking on doors. Obviously, not all of them showed up, but our volunteer turnout in (largely) rural Georgia was remarkable. 8,791 volunteers showed up for these canvasses, led by 41 volunteer organizers in their home counties. What was even more remarkable was that it was driven by young people, primarily young people connected to the two HBCUs in the region (many who are still in school) who were dedicated not only to re-electing Rev. Warnock to the Senate but in pushing those who exhibited leadership skills to take on additional responsibilities that allowed that expansion beyond what we had done in the runoff. These kids were an inspiration.
Over the Spring and Summer, they knocked on 640,043 doors. Remember that our original goal was to knock on 2 million doors before Labor Day, and the Georgia success was a huge contributor to how we reached that goal at the beginning of August and why they pushed to re-set the goal to 3 million doors. Kids today. No ambition there, eh?
More than 49,798 voters talked to our volunteers since March 26th. Voters opened their doors at a 7.78% rate. (8% is a rule of thumb.)
30,621 voters filled out, in whole or in part, our Issues survey. Their data has been entered in VAN, the Democratic database, and is available to Democrats who use VAN in the area. This averaged out to a 61.49% response rate. I posted the Issues Survey every week, so i’ll forego doing so again. But the four main queries (outside of the Job Approval questions) were these:
- Are you a registered voter at this address?
- What Issue do you believe is most urgent?
- If you could send one message to your Member?
- Is there a single issue that will determine how you vote? What is it?
The voter registration question allowed us to register (or re-register) voters, and will be discussed below. The Urgent Issue data can be seen to the left. Some issues were obvious, but others were not. Nor were they consistent over time. You can see that the importance of Inflation faded as Gas Prices came down, to be generally replaced by Concerns over the Economy.
One of the more unique concerns was unique to Georgia because we were canvassing in rural Georgia. That is Agricultural Loans (specifically loan equality for Black farmers) and Ag Policy. We didn’t see this elsewhere because we weren’t canvassing in rural America elsewhere.
We heard a lot additional comments when we asked voters if they could send one message to their Member of Congress, what would it be? We got a lot of feedback in this question, but specifically about Reproductive Rights and Gun Violence. Whereas Reproductive Freedom didn’t appear that often among the Urgent Issues unless the issue was favored in the media that week. But these two issues became pretty consistent in the Message to Members query.
Hope Springs from Field PAC has been knocking on doors in a grassroots-led effort to prepare the Electoral Battleground in what has been called the First Round of a traditional Five Round Canvass. We are taking those efforts to the doors of the communities most effected (the intended targets or victims) of these new voter suppression laws.
Obviously, we rely on grassroots support, so if you support field/grassroots organizing, voter registration (and follow-up) and our efforts to protect our voters, we would certainly appreciate your support:
Hope Springs from Field PAC understands that repeated face to face interactions are critical. And we are among those who believe that Democrats didn’t do as well in the 2020 Congressional races as expected because we didn’t knock on doors — and we didn’t register new voters (while Republicans dud). We are returning to the old school basics: repeated contacts, repeated efforts to remind them of protocols, meeting them were they are. Mentoring those who need it (like first time and newly registered voters). Reminding, reminding, reminding, and then chasing down those voters whose ballots need to be cured.
The most interesting question on the Issues Questionnaire was, If there a single issue that will determine how you vote, what is it? In Georgia, the most frequent response to this question was party affiliation. But remember that we were talking primarily to African-American voters. The second most frequent response was where candidates stood on Abortion Rights. 21% of those who gave a response to this question was on Abortion Rights.
Questions about politicians were also popular. Voters seem to love sharing their opinions about whether or not the like or approve of their elected officials and candidates. If you can find a pattern in these results, then you are better than me! But the data is what the data is. Compare what we were finding at the doors of Democrats and Unaffiliated voters with what 538 was finding in public opinion polls (below).
President Biden averaged 64% approval over the Summer and Spring. In the Spring, Biden was significantly higher than average, and he finished above average as well. Sen. Warnock averaged 79% over this same time. He finished slightly higher than that. Stacey Abrams averaged 64% over this time, and finished above her average, as well.
We registered 463 New Voters at the doors this year. We re-registered (or updated their addresses) 2,590 voters at their doors.
Over the seven calendar months we canvassed in Georgia, we collected 3,168 Constituent Service Request forms. These were mostly local problems on primarily public properties that voters believed needed to be addressed. In general, we send these to Democratic elected officials responsible for the requested functions, but if the appropriate office is held by a Republican, we still send it along. For Democrats, though, we encourage them to reach out immediately to the voter who filled out the Constituent Service Request forms and let them know they are working on the issue. This credit-taking is enormously valuable to the Democratic office-holder.
We also collected Q(uestion)-slips, or questions that voters had for candidates and office-holders. In Georgia, we collected 274 Q-slips which were sent directly to the campaigns of Democratic candidates. We send them to campaigns to forward to their public servant/candidates so that they campaigns could use them, if they so desired.
Volunteers also filled out Observation Forms when they saw or heard something that could be useful in the upcoming campaign. These are things like presence of children, or military family, etc. These are entered into VAN, as well, available to any Democratic candidate who uses VAN in the area.
We also ask voters in the Issues Survey if they have any concerns about the upcoming elections. Voters who tell us they have experience voter intimidation or other problems with voting are asked to fill out Incident Reports. We found 393 voters who wanted to fill out an Incident Reports since March. We collate these Incident Reports, to be shared with local, state and federal officials in charge of voting, as well as use them to plan out our Election Protection strategy in the fall. They could also be used in court cases.
But asking — and collecting — Incident Reports has a second purpose at this time. We are reminding voters that we care about Election Protection, that if they witness something, they can say something and it will matter. It also assures them that we are ready to do something if they see something.
By starting early, and aiming towards super-compliance with these really, really onerous provisions in some states, Hope Springs from Field PAC seeks to undermine that strategy, while informing voters about the new laws and regulations aimed at them. There’s a lot of work to be done, but fortunately, the three states that are making it most difficult are also states in which you can knock on doors at least 10 months out of the year. And, with your help, we will be there, getting our people to super-comply with these restrictive provisions.
I am aware of the volume of data presented in this post. But it is the result of the data we collect at the door, to be entered in VAN and accessible by all Democratic candidates who utilize VAN this Fall. The focus on the “horse-race” aspect of this data is unintentional, because the data is what the it is. It is useful for Democratic candidates and provides paths to victory for data-driven candidates (which most campaigns are these days).
If you are able to support our efforts to protect Democratic voters, especially in minority communities, expand the electorate, and believe in grassroots efforts to increase voter participation and election protection, please help:
Thank you for your support. This work depends on you!