This is how we win

Let America Vote intern Alyson Sorenson kicks off direct voter contact in Iowa by knocking doors in suburban Des Moines.

By Ben Tyson, national field director, Let America Vote

The calendar says it’s June, 2018, but sometimes I just can’t believe it.

In early 2017, I walked into an empty office space as the newly hired national field director for Let America Vote, eager to start organizing the drive to protect voting rights and win back our country. It’s been a whirlwind since then.

Now, approaching 500 days since that moment, we are further along than I could have dreamed possible. As of this week, Let America Vote has begun direct voter contact in New Hampshire, Georgia, Iowa, Tennessee and Nevada. Our interns and volunteers will knock literally hundreds of thousands of doors between now and November, raising up dozens of candidates committed to protecting voting rights and creating consequences for politicians who try to win by suppressing the vote.

Let America Vote’s field-first approach has a real opportunity to help elect voting-rights champions across the country this year and change the course of political history.   

In our first year, we organized an incredible field program in northern Virginia, training some of the most talented, dedicated, ass-kicking interns I’ve ever had the privilege to manage. In under six months, we knocked nearly 200,000 doors with just two full-time staffers on the ground.

We helped elect nine voting-rights champions in Virginia and led a GOTV strike team to the Norfolk region for the final four days of the election. I even coined a new phrase for the swath districts we flipped in NoVA: “The Competitive Crescent.”

Oh, and we went up to New Hampshire and helped make Joyce Craig the first female mayor of Manchester along the way.

We got off to a roaring start, and we haven’t let up since. I may not always know what day it is anymore, but I still walk into the office every morning pumped up and committed to the cause of voting rights. We’re putting an amazing program in place to hold vote suppressors accountable in our five states, and we know how we’re going to beat them.

We know that if we get out and talk to actual voters, we can make a real impact on Election Day. They’re the ones who matter, not the angry tweeters online or the talking heads on TV. The voters still get to decide whether to vote, and who to vote for. And we know from direct experience that when we go to them — when we make our argument face-to-face — we can persuade and mobilize them to the side of voting rights.

And so that’s exactly what we’re going to keep doing this year. We already have more than 200 interns from across the country signed up for our Field Organizer Training Program, and more than 2,000 activists signed up as Let America Vote volunteers.

They all know that this is how we win — one day at a time, one conversation at a time, one voter at a time.

Fifty years after his assassination, and as we build this movement across the country to win the argument on voting rights, it seems apt to remember the words U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy spoke to students in South Africa on their Day of Affirmation, back in 1966:

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped,” he said. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Door-to-door, district-by-district, state-to-state, our volunteers are sending forth these “ripples of hope.” I’m so energized, and so optimistic for what we will accomplish.

I hope that you will join us, either as a volunteer or as an intern

See you out in the field!