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250,000 Volunteers in 20 Battleground States Aim to Turn Out 13 Million Union Voters With Emphasis on Swing Groups Like Retirees, Veterans and Gun Owners
The AFL-CIO today launched its largest, most targeted Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort in history, deploying an army of 250,000 volunteers in 20 presidential battleground states for the final two weeks before the election.
The effort – focused on turning out 13 million union voters, with emphasis on 12 Senate races and more than 60 House contests, in addition to the presidential race -- combines advanced, new targeting techniques with unprecedented grassroots energy. The AFL-CIO GOTV program is the largest independent turnout program in the nation, aimed at electing candidates who will champion working families’ priorities.
“Union members are determined to create a sea change in American politics that will benefit working families for generations to come,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said. “We’ve mounted our largest, broadest grassroots effort ever to elect Barack Obama and candidates at all levels who are committed to putting our nation back on track after eight years of failed Bush policies."
Elements of the GOTV effort include:
· A 20-state presidential battleground program, the broadest in AFL-CIO history. In recent weeks the AFL-CIO has shifted resources and manpower to non-traditional battleground states like North Carolina and Indiana while maintaining an intense effort in the top-tier states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan;
· 250,000 volunteers working in those states and in additional states where the AFL-CIO is engaged in Senate, House and Gubernatorial races, including 120,000 in the priority states of Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania;
· 25,000 volunteers from non-battleground states like California, New York and Illinois deployed to contact union voters in battleground states; · More member-to-member contacts than ever before. To date, AFL-CIO union voters have received 70 million phone calls, 10 million door knocks, 57 million pieces of mail and 27 million worksite fliers focusing on economic issues;
· A new, microtargeted approach to the most hard-to-reach voters, including working class veterans, retirees and gun owners, many of whom have been contacted 20-30 times and will receive intense communication in the final days;
· 4,000 paid staff working on the AFL-CIO mobilization nationwide, 500 full-time Working America canvassers who are knocking on the doors of 150,000 union voters per week;
· Final outreach at the door, worksite on the phone and through email to 1 million undecided union voters in battleground states;
· A “Final Four” GOTV blitz in the final four days of the campaign to drive turnout among millions of working-class voters in battleground states;
· A nine-state voter protection program to address voting rights abuses and prevent voting rights violations on Election Day.
The 2008 GOTV effort relies heavily on sophisticated targeting designed to increase voter turnout among exurban and rural voters in key states. The effort comes on the heels of a months-long targeted approach to these voters through mail, phones, front porch visits and email. Since identifying more than 3 million undecided voters in August, the AFL-CIO’s intense communications among swing groups like retirees, veterans and gun owners have shifted the landscape in states such as Ohio. According to internal polling, among union voters who are gun owners, veterans and retirees, Sen. Obama now leads substantially in key states.
The AFL-CIO’s community affiliate for non-union workers, Working America, now counts nearly 2.5 million members, including 800,000 in Ohio alone. Working America is reaching out to its members – many of whom are moderate “Reagan Democrats” and independents – in 11 states and has mounted its largest GOTV effort ever. The AFL-CIO is also running a nonpartisan voter protection program to tackle voting rights abuses in targeted communities in nine states - Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. The AFL-CIO's voter protection efforts include a public education program informing voters about their voting rights, coordination with election officials on election administration plans, recruitment and training of union volunteers to serve as nonpartisan poll workers and poll monitors, and legal support provided by the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee.
The final GOTV push is part of a $250 million grassroots mobilization by the AFL-CIO and its 56 affiliated unions, the labor movement’s largest effort to date.
Paid for by the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) Political Contributions Committee, (www.aflcio.org), and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
Contact: Steve Smith (202) 637-5018