biting off more than he can chew, he asks you to chew too

OK, there are a few things that I need to tell you. First, the new issue of Crimewave USA, which I told you we were trying to get out before the election, is on hold until the end of the year. We just didn’t have the time or the money to do a good job, so we decided to postpone it. Instead, I’ve decided to invest my time and effort into the Kerry campaign and trying to secure the state of Michigan for him. Today, I signed up with MoveOn.org to be an Ypsilanti precinct leader in their Leave No Voter Behind campaign. As a precinct leader, I’ve pledged eight to ten hours a week between now and the election, and that wouldn’t have left much room for the magazine, even if we’d been able to scrape together the money to go to press. (I came to the conclusion that the magazine, even if it were done extremely well, probably wouldn’t have delivered nearly as many votes as I could on my own, in my neighborhood.)

As for my association with MoveOn, I wasn’t quick to get onboard. I looked at the other groups active in Michigan, their funding levels and their plans, and, after considering the pros and cons of each, I concluded that MoveOn offered the best hope of delivering my state. (ACT, having recently determined that Michigan is likely to go for Kerry, has pulled all of the troops they had deployed in the state, relocating them to Ohio.) By later tonight, I’ll know more, but here’s the way I understand it right now, after having spent the morning at the MoveOn headquarters in Ann Arbor.

1) MoveOn believes that if they can deliver 500,000 additional “swing state” votes for Kerry that he could win the election.

2) To see this accomplished, they’ve identified 10,000 precincts within those states, 700 of which are in Michigan.

3) Within each precinct, their plan is to identify registered, but non-regular voters that would most likely vote for Kerry, and then get their asses to the polls.

4) In Michigan, where people do not register with their party affiliation, they will be going strictly by the demographics. Accordingly, MoveOn has chosen precincts that are heavily weighted toward the liberal end of the spectrum, and then identified voters within those precincts who have voted sporadically in the past.

5) Each precinct leader, of which downtown Ypsilanti will have 10, will be given a list of at least 250 individuals who fit those criteria.

6) The precinct leader is to find between 5 and 10 volunteers who will visit each of these individuals at home, as many as two or three times each.

7) The hope is for each precinct to deliver 150 votes for Kerry that may not have been cast otherwise.

8) The plan isn’t to change anyone’s mind. At this late date, it’s all about getting registered voters to the polls. (note: Voter registration doesn’t end until October 3rd, so if you’re going out canvassing for Kerry before then, be sure to take registration forms with you.)

9) On the day of the election the precinct volunteers, having agreed to take the day off from work, will do whatever is necessary to get these people to the polls.

So, now I’m waiting to hear back from my contact at MoveOn as to how I access their on-line tools so that I can begin mapping out a strategy. (I don’t know yet which precinct I’ll have, how large it is, how many people within it that they’ve identified, etc.) The first step, I imagine, will be finding people to help out. Toward that end, Linette has agreed to make volunteer flyers that I can start putting up around the neighborhood and the Eastern Michigan University campus on Monday. And, my hope is that perhaps a few of you MM.com readers can be persuaded as well. (If you think you might be interested, send me an email or leave a comment here.) I know that several of you are already working with other organizations, but if this MoveOn program sounds like something that you might be interested in, I’d appreciate it if you’d consider volunteering a few hours a week, especially if you live in Ypsi. (If you don’t live in Michigan, you can go to the MoveOn site to find opportunities closer to home.)

I should add that MoveOn isn’t the only group with a plan like this one. From what I understand, the GOP is focusing their efforts on the western side of our state, in areas that are predominantly Republican, trying to turn out the very same on-again, off-again voters for their side.

So, 10,000 precincts, each trying to turn out 150 non-regular voters for Kerry, means that MoveOn could net as many as 1.5 million votes.

THE FACTS:
Michigan has 17 electoral votes. Without Michigan, Kerry will have to win Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida to stay in the race. There are 36 days until the election. That’s fewer than 1,000 hours. We need to get to work.

OK, if you live in Ypsi and want to help, send me an email.

Thanks,
-Mark

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10 Comments

  1. Posted September 26, 2004 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean deadlines have extended?

  2. Posted September 26, 2004 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Nice new look. Too bad it wasn’t implemented before the Freep were reviewing Detroit Metro bloggers. You would of been a shoo-in for some free publicity. On a debugging note, the “about me” sends me somewhere I don’t think I belong. I want that fixed by 5PM Monday or I boycott.

  3. Mark Maynard
    Posted September 26, 2004 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Shit. I should have checked before posting it. They told me today that the deadline was Oct 3, but I didn’t verify it… When is it, Steve?

  4. Posted September 26, 2004 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know!! I thought you were the deadline keeper!?!

  5. Jim
    Posted September 26, 2004 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    The last day to register in Michigan is October 4. Info and forms are available at the Secretary of State’s website:

    http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1633_8716—,00.html

    MoveOn’s GOTV tactics sound like good strategy!

  6. Mark Maynard
    Posted September 26, 2004 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the information, and I’ll keep you posted as to our success in this little corner of our swing state.

  7. Posted September 26, 2004 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh Mark, I meant the Crimewave deadline. I’ve been registered to vote since I turned 18.

  8. Posted September 27, 2004 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I have an 8-passenger sausage van than can tote around voters on sub-super Tuesday if need be.

  9. Tony Buttons
    Posted September 27, 2004 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh, if not for that fact that I’m a painfully shy shut-in, and many states away from you, I really would be offering a hand.

  10. Posted September 27, 2004 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Steve, the deadline for your Crimewave article has been pushed back. And, yes, Leighton, your van may very well be of use come election day. Thank you for offering. I will keep you both posted. As for you, Tony, I always liked to imagine that you lived next door. It makes me very sad indeed to hear that you live states and states away from me…. As for the rest of you, where are the offers to help. Would none of you like to go knocking on doors with me, turning over rocks and looking for Bush supporters?

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