Texting voters, also referred to as textbanking, is now a thing. It is supplementing traditional GOTV efforts as volunteers and campaign workers send out thousands of texts daily to GOTV, persuade, and more.
In his run for Governor, Democrat Andrew Gillum credits texts with helping him win unexpected victories. While texting supporters has been around for several years, technology has changed who campaigns can text. Now, campaigns can reach out to voters without asking permission first.
Textbanking To GOTV
I started texting voters last Spring. While doing this, I have had numerous in-depth conversations. A lot of expletives have been thrown my way, too.
Still, I have found the conversations I do have rewarding. In addition to persuading voters, I have helped voters find their polling places and educated on the upcoming election. Even some of the conversations with those opposed to my views have been a friendly exchange of ideas. I also find texting less intrusive than phone calls.
Texting voters is a great tool to use for GOTV. Those who can not get out to canvass can still help with GOTV. It can replace the need for extensive social media posts and is a good way to reach rural voters. Also, it seems especially more in tune with younger voters. Who answers phone calls from unfamiliar numbers anymore?
How To Text Voters
Textbanking is mostly done from software on a computer, although a few organizations have texting from a mobile phone. This software facilitates the sending of thousands of texts an hour without violating federal rules on mass texting.
The textbanking organizations provide training. Some have a fairly extensive (and sometimes overwhelming) one. Others will start you up with much less direction. There is usually a Slack channel that helps with questions.
Which Organizations Are Texting Voters?
Listed below are the ones I know about who are texting for progressive and/or Democrat candidates.
Open Progress is the one with whom I have texted the most. I have texted for Katie Hill with them. They have also had texting for other local candidates, like Katie Porter, Gil Cisneros, and Ammar Campa-Najjar. They do texting all over the country.
Red 2 Blue first facilitated texting for New York races. Recently, they have included campaigns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.
Indivisible recently started texting for campaigns. Andrew Gillum was one of their first.
Resistance Labs texts for campaigns, but also sends out messages to organize protests and for issues.
ACLU People Power also texts for both elections and mobilization around issues.
MoveOn does it, too.
State and local political parties are doing it. For example, the Arizona Democratic Party has a program.
Individual campaigns have their own programs, too. Beto has volunteers texting. The Gavin Newsom campaign has texts going out. Al Muratsuchi, Assembly member for the Los Angeles South Bay area, has also been sending out texts.
Sign Up to Text
Texting is not a substitute for traditional GOTV efforts, like canvassing. But, if you can’t make it to a canvass, sign up with one of the organizations above. Texting voters is a great way to GOTV!
I would like to credit Gary Boston as a source for the texting organizations.