News

Our First Nine Months Shows Our Boots on the Ground Model Works

A message from Abe Rakov, Our Executive Director

With the November 2017 elections now behind us, I wanted to update you on some of what Let America Vote has accomplished since Jason Kander founded the organization in February 2017.

Our volunteers knocked on more than 203,000 doors between Virginia and New Hampshire, more than 65,000 people signed up to volunteer on our website nationwide and we’ve received nearly 45,000 contributions online.

Yesterday, we went 12 for 12 in our races: the candidates we supported for Governor in Virginia and New Jersey both won, we helped turn eight House of Delegate seats in Virginia from Republican to Democratic held, we helped protect an incumbent Delegate in Virginia, and helped flip the mayor’s office in Manchester, New Hampshire from Republican to Democratic for the first time since 2005.

Our goal is to win the political argument against voter suppression. As Jason always says, if someone makes it harder to vote, we’re going to make it harder for them to win reelection. Yesterday, and throughout the summer, we’ve seen great success doing that. At the same time, we’ve helped move the conversation on voting rights to a more proactive approach instead of being forced to react to Republican vote suppression tactics.

State Victories

Virginia

Most of our effort in 2017 went to Virginia, as the state holds important off-year elections including the race for Governor and House of Delegate seats. In June, we opened a field office in Manassas to knock doors and make phone calls supporting Ralph Northam for Governor and nine candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates.

The candidates we supported won all 10 of their races, and 8 of our candidates beat Republican incumbents.

In order to provide the biggest value for Virginia candidates, we worked hand-in-hand with the Coordinated Campaign so they wouldn’t have to spend resources where we were working. Additionally, we were proud to be able to send 10 of our interns to Hampton Roads in the final days leading up to the election to provide help to the Coordinated Campaign in a much-needed area.

From June through November, we had over 130 interns and numerous volunteers who knocked on more than 194,000 doors, and made over 31,000 phone calls to voters.

Along with working to elect Governor-elect Ralph Northam, we helped flip eight House of Delegate seats from Republican to Democratic, along with defending a competitive Democratic seat.

  • House Delegate District 40 — Donte Tanner (pickup)
    We knocked 32,749 doors in a race Delegate-elect Tanner won by 68 votes
  • House Delegate District 51 — Hala Ayala (pickup)
    We knocked 20,452 doors in a race Delegate-elect Ayala won by 1,562 votes
  • House Delegate District 50 — Lee Carter (pickup)
    We knocked 21,938 doors in a race Delegate-elect Carter won by 1,850 votes
  • House Delegate District 13 — Danica Roem (pickup)
    We knocked 34,473 doors in a race Delegate-elect Roem won by 1,905 votes
  • House Delegate District 31 — Elizabeth Guzman (pickup)
    We knocked 19,754 doors in a race Delegate-elect Guzman won by 2,487 votes.
  • House Delegate District 67 — Karrie Delaney (pickup)
    We knocked 2,263 doors in a race Delegate-elect Delaney won by 4,667 votes
  • House Delegate District 2 — Jennifer Carroll Foy (pickup)
    We knocked 11,987 doors in a race Delegate-elect Foy won by 5,095 votes.
  • House Delegate District 32 — David Reid (pickup)
    We knocked 13,141 doors in a race Delegate-elect Reid won by 5,211 votes
  • House Delegate District 87 — John Bell (hold)
    We knocked 20,283 doors in a race Delegate Bell defended his seat by 6,968 votes
  • Gubernatorial Race — Ralph Northam (pickup)
    We knocked 194,100 doors throughout northern Virginia and Hampton Roads

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, Let America Vote’s independent expenditure arm activated its first-ever rapid response team to help Joyce Craig in the last two weeks of her impressive campaign for Mayor of Manchester. In less than two weeks, we knocked on over 9,400 doors in a race Joyce won by 1,499 votes — defeating a Republican who had won four times previously. Let America Vote also contributed $5,000 to her successful campaign, and we’re proud to have a voting rights champion in this high-profile office in New Hampshire.

Previously, Let America Vote supported multiple successful candidates for the state legislature with digital advertisements. We were part of the team that helped flip two state house districts from Republican to Democratic by electing Charlie St. Clair and Edie DesMarais, while successfully helping hold the competitive 16th Senate District with the election of Kevin Cavanaugh.
We are excited to continue this momentum in New Hampshire as we open a field office in Manchester in early 2018.

New Jersey

In one of our first endorsements, Let America Vote supported Phil Murphy for Governor of New Jersey — and he won with an impressive 56–42 blowout. Jason traveled to New Jersey multiple times to campaign for Phil Murphy, including for a GOTV tour the day before the election with Tammy Murphy.

Georgia

During the nationally watched special election in Georgia, we used our online grassroots network to fight back after early voting locations throughout the district were changed or eliminated entirely. Dozens of people called and wrote elections officials demanding a change.

To supplement that grassroots effort, we also launched digital and radio advertisements calling on Secretary of State Brian Kemp to resolve the matter. Eventually, DeKalb County reversed its decision and added back an early voting location, which ended up being one of the highest-turnout locations in the first round of voting.

Trump Voting Commission

We have been working hard fighting back against President Trump’s sham voting commission. They thought it would be easy to put together a commission that would pave the way for state legislatures and even Congress to have the “evidence” necessary to make it harder for eligible voters to vote. But we worked with dozens of organizations across the country to expose that the real fraud is this commission itself.

Now, numerous reports have noted that the commission has basically stopped its work. We’re going to keep watching to make sure that the country knows what a sham this is so the President can’t use it to his political advantage.

Conclusion

Because of our early success, we previously announced that we were going to open field offices in five states in 2018, modeled after our effort in Virginia. These offices will open in Nevada, Georgia, Iowa, Tennessee and New Hampshire to support voting rights champions up and down the ticket and defeat politicians who have worked to make it harder to vote. Our victories yesterday prove that the model we have created will be able to help flip seats across the country.

Our 12 for 12 day yesterday would not have happened without your support. We’ve been able to start an organization from scratch that made a real difference helping win races across the country in just nine months of existence. We look forward to continuing that effort in 2018 with your support.

Thank you,
Abe Rakov
Executive Director
Let America Vote