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Indivisible Wins Reed Award: “Best No-Contact Field Program” of the 2020 cycle

05/17/2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2021
Contact:
Emily Phelps | press@indivisible.org

Washington, DC — Campaigns & Elections has announced that Indivisible’s “WINdivisble” direct voter contact program has won its Reed Award for Best No-Contact Field Program of the 2020 election cycle.

The Reed Awards, held by Campaigns & Elections, are “the most exacting awards in political campaigns, grassroots and advocacy.”

Adapting to the pandemic, Indivisible launched a centralized peer-to-peer voter contact program and set an ambitious goal of 20 million voter contact attempts. The program’s online community of volunteer texters and phone-bankers ultimately blew the original goal out of the water, making 39 million voter contact attempts.

As constantly-shifting COVID-19 voting procedures emerged as a major obstacle, Indivisible’s team also committed to doing original research to craft extremely detailed scripts for volunteers to help voters navigate local processes. As explained in Indivisible’s submission to the Reed Awards: “Because voting procedures and policies were in near-constant flux and facing legal challenges from all directions, our program put a premium on accuracy and factuality. We ensured our scripts were constantly reviewed and revamped to reflect the most up-to-date information about voting, often spending hours on the phone with different Secretary of State offices or voting hotlines in order to get the most accurate answers possible.”

The WINdivisible program was executed by a community of 9,000 phone-bankers, text-bankers, moderators, translators, and Indivisible’s political, data, and digital organizing teams.

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Indivisible’s full submission letter to the Reed Award:

EXPLAIN YOUR PROGRAM AND OBJECTIVES:

WINdivisible is Indivisible’s direct voter contact (DVC) program. Before COVID-19, our electoral advocacy plan was going to rely heavily on door-to-door canvassing; as it became clear that the pandemic would continue to be a risk, we pivoted to an entirely digital operation. Launched on July 27, 2020, WINdivisible set out with the ambitious goal of making over 20 million voter contact attempts into key target states through our digital peer-to-peer (P2P) text and phones program, the anchor of our general election DVC work. We facilitated an extremely robust voter turnout program, focusing on contacting voters who were likely to support Democratic candidates and providing them with unparalleled state-specific resources on voting. Our scripts were oriented around providing voters with answers to a wide variety of questions about how to vote in their state with particular attention focused on giving simple answers to questions about process, eligibility, and deadlines related to voting by mail and early in-person voting. Our enduring goal was to engage ideologically aligned voters in key states to mobilize behind Joe Biden and progressive candidates down ticket, with a bonus round of voter contact into Georgia for the Senate runoffs. By the end of the 2020 election cycle, the nation had overwhelmingly demonstrated it wanted Democrats to run the federal government: Joe Biden won the presidency, Democrats had retaken control of the Senate, and the Democrats maintained their House majority. These successes are due in part to the impact the WINdivisible DVC program made.

WHY YOU SHOULD WIN:

WINdivisible deserves a Reed because of the quality and accuracy of our scripts and the high volume of calls and texts made using our program’s tools. In total, WINdivisible attracted more than 9,000 volunteer texters and phone-bankers to make more than 39 million voter contact attempts, almost double the program’s original goal, while providing much needed clarity and support to voters. Transitioning to a digital-only voter education program in a year where voting was made exceptionally complicated by a pandemic in a country with an inherently convoluted, decentralized election system was no easy task. Because voting procedures and policies were in near-constant flux and facing legal challenges from all directions, our program put a premium on accuracy and factuality. We ensured our scripts were constantly reviewed and revamped to reflect the most up-to-date information about voting, often spending hours on the phone with different Secretary of State offices or voting hotlines in order to get the most accurate answers possible. Toward the end of the election, our scripts commonly included up to 200 recommended responses, many of which were translated into Spanish, Mandarin, German, and French by a team of bilingual volunteers. For these reasons and more, WINdivisible’s direct voter contact program was able to provide a robust and uniquely valuable service to voters with questions about voting. This level of service has the potential to continue making an impact with voters for years to come, even once in-person voter contact is again safe and possible.

Example of hyper-localized voter information script for text-banking volunteers

On top of its traditional GOTV efforts, the WINdivisible program equipped volunteers to be able to help voters in eighteen key states navigate casting their ballot amidst voting procedures that were complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As an example, below is a texting script volunteers used to help get up-to-date information to voters impacted by a ballot misprint issue in Franklin County, OH in October 2020.

Example Scripts

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ABOUT INDIVISIBLE ACTION

Indivisible Action is a Hybrid Political Action Committee fueled by the grassroots movement to win elections and build local, independent progressive power nationwide. Indivisible Action provides Indivisible groups access to voter contact software, along with a suite of canvassing, phonebanking, and texting tools in support of progressive candidates. Indivisible Action also makes endorsements of federal and gubernatorial candidates nominated by their local Indivisible groups, vetted by our political team, and voted on by our supporters in the states and districts the candidate wishes to represent.