Volunteer Toolkit

Introduction

FairMapsVirginia is dedicated to mobilizing a broad-based grassroots movement to secure passage of the Virginia Redistricting Commission Amendment in November 2020, generating thoughtful engagement with the issue of fair redistricting in Virginia in order to have an informed, committed base that will ensure community involvement in the 2021 redistricting process.

We are grassroots strong. We have over 500 well-trained grassroots activists who have been working our Presence @ the Polls efforts for years. Mostly we are organized through Local Action Groups that have been up and running for three years or more and have engaged in countless VIP meetings, local presentations, and know this issue forwards and backwards. In a world where organizing and getting out the vote is in a weird state of flux, these well-versed activists are our best asset.

New to the issue or movement? No problem. We have gotten pretty good at on-boarding volunteers. Whether you live in a place where we have a strong Local Action Group or not, we have volunteers and resources to get you up to speed quickly. We’re grateful for your help and will do our best to make it easy.


Our Promise

We are a small staff that has relied on the smart ideas, generosity, hard work, and savvy of our volunteers since we started in 2014. We really do view our volunteers as VIP customers and we focus on them accordingly. What we’ve learned is that if you can properly train and equip volunteers - and give them whatever they need - that then they’ll go out and succeed in ways you couldn’t have imagined. So our promise is to do just that: we will do our best to give you everything you need to get out there and help us get fair maps for Virginia.

We couldn’t be more grateful to have your help. Thank you.


What can you do?

Talking to your neighbors and friends is the best way for us to win in November. But beyond that, it’s the exact type of networking and relational organizing that’ll help us all be active participants in the 2021 redistricting cycle. Remember this: the amendment carves out places for citizens to finally have a seat at the table and a voice in the process. We need that space to get fair maps, but if we create that space and no one shows up to take that seat or to raise their voice in 2021, we will have failed. So let’s build these networks up right now for the long-haul.

Here are some of the important tools you have at your disposal:

  • OutVote Relational Organizing App
  • Send Us a Selfie Video Testimonial
  • Zoom House Parties
  • Phone Banking
  • Letters to the Editor/Op-eds
  • Yard Signs
  • Social Media
  • Postcards
  • SWAG

Outvote: Outvote is an app/online platform for friend-to-friend and peer-to-peer texting! If you’re familiar with the app, feel free to visit https://campaigns.outvote.io/fairmapsva to join our campaign on your smartphone with the join code 175086. This tool is highly recommended and will help us jump over some of the hurdles that the pandemic has created. Since we can’t really go door-to-door anymore, this tool allows you to send texts directly to your friends, family and neighbors who will be voting in Virginia this fall, as well as to other Virginians whose phone numbers we’ve purchased from the voter file! Trainings take place every week: Sundays from 4-5pm, Mondays from 12-1pm and Wednesdays from 5-6pm. Sign up for a September training here and make sure to fill out our volunteer interest form to get notifications via email, or email daela.tipton@fairmapsva.org with any questions!

Selfie Video Testimonial: Our grassroots movement couldn’t exist without supporters like you. We want to continue bringing people into our movement by sharing short videos on social media of people saying why they’re voting YES on Amendment 1. Can you take a few minutes to record a 30-55 second selfie video in support of Amendment 1? All you need to do is introduce yourself, and tell us why you’re excited to #VoteYesOn1! Then email it to hello@fairmapsva.org so we can share it on social media!

Zoom House Parties: If you have a group of neighbors, civic org, or even a random assortment of friends, we would be more than happy to do a Zoom House Party with you. We can get you a high-level campaign surrogate to share what’s going on and why it’s important to VOTE YES on November 3rd. We can pair this up with SWAG for attendees, even if we aren’t in person. We also have “Vote Yes on 1” Zoom backgrounds as well as an example presentation you can borrow! Interested in hosting a house party? Let us know here and we’ll follow up with you soon!

Phone banking: Ready to dial for democracy? Join us for a phone banking training to get familiar with calling Virginia voters and asking them to Vote Yes on Amendment 1! Make sure to fill out our volunteer interest form to get notifications via email when trainings start!

Letters to the Editor/Op-eds: Writing into local papers is one of the best ways to get our message out to a wider audience. Want to pen your support for Amendment 1? Let us know here so we can connect you with our Comms team! In the meantime, here’s a guide to get you started.

Yard Signs: There is growing social research on the effectiveness of yard signs for down-ticket ballot issues (which is what we are). No one is going to vote for president based on a yard sign. However, if you aren’t sure about the amendment or not, then seeing your trusted neighbors with a VOTE YES sign in their yard will make a difference. If you haven’t already, please request a yard sign here!

We will have standard yard signs, but we also are encouraging volunteers to get creative. Some of our folks in Fairfax have taken to creating signs in the style of the old Burma-Shave signs.

Social Media: We will be putting out Facebook posts and tweets every day. Sharing, liking and commenting on them will make a big difference. We will also have ways that you can change your profile picture to display VOTE YES. Find us here on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Postcards: This method of reaching out to voters via postcards has really taken off in the past few years. It’s a great way for people to volunteer and give the campaign the personal touch that can make all the difference. We’ve got core groups of excellent postcard-ers already going, so we can plug you into this mix! We provide the postcards and talking points and just ask you to cover the cost of postage. Let us know you want a packet of postcards here.

SWAG: We want you to have bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc. to show off your support for the VOTE YES campaign. Similarly to the influence of the yard signs on your neighbors, this SWAG should help us get the word out and influence people. Request a bumper sticker or car magnet here, and order a shirt, hoodie, tank top or face mask here!


Messaging

Based on our polling data and existing communications strategies, we will continue our strategy of remaining positive and forward-looking when discussing the merits of the amendment. These positive messages mirror many of the things we have been touting about the Amendment for nearly two years:

THE COMMISSION WILL BE FAIR.

By voting to support the amendment, Virginians will finally create a fair process that will replace our outdated and discriminatory laws. This will ensure that legislative district lines are drawn fairly and do not favor one party over the other.

THE COMMISSION WILL BE LED BY CITIZENS.

Politicians will no longer have free rein to choose whomever they want to represent. Not only will citizens be part of this process for the first time in our history, but a citizen will also serve as chair of the commission itself.

THE COMMISSION WILL PROTECT CIVIL RIGHTS.

Historic voting rights protections for minority communities will be added to the Virginia Constitution for the first time. In fact, Justin Levitt, a former Obama administration Justice Department official said that the “amendment requires adherence to the Voting Rights Act … and then goes beyond.”

THE COMMISSION WILL BE TRANSPARENT.

Instead of shady backroom deals, the new system will be completely transparent to voters and watchdogs. Public meetings will be held across Virginia, with all data and notes from the meetings being completely open to the public.

THE COMMISSION IS HISTORIC.

If passed, the amendment would be the most significant improvement to the way districts are drawn in the history of our Commonwealth.

THE COMMISSION S THE ONLY WAY TO HAVE FAIR MAPS IN 2021.

If the amendment fails, Virginia’s unfair constitution remains that way In fact, the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee unanimously approved an explanation of the amendment that said: “A ‘no’ vote will leave the sole responsibility for drawing the districts with the General Assembly.”


Endorsements

If anyone’s confused about which side reformers are on this November, one needs to look no further than the long list of reform-minded organizations that support the amendment. These are critical validators for a complex subject that not every voter will want to take the time to understand.

National Advocacy Organizations:
Arnold Ventures
Brennan Center for Justice
Campaign Legal Center
Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress
Common Cause
Fair Elections Project
League of Women Voters of the United States
Princeton Gerrymandering Project
Prison Policy Initiative
RepresentUs
The Redistrict Network
Unite America
Voters Not Politicians

Virginia Advocacy Organizations:
ACLU of Virginia
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters of Virginia
Virginia Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Conservation Network
Virginia FREE

**_Editorial Boards:
_**The New York Times, 29 Mar 2020
The Daily Progress, 17 Mar 2020
The Roanoke Times, 15 Mar 2020
The Washington Post, 4 Mar 2020
Go Dan River, 4 Mar 2020
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1 Aug 2020
Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, 5 Jan 2020
Lynchburg News and Advance, 28 Jul 2020
Danville Register and Bee, 27 Oct 2019
Alexandria Times, 20 Aug 2020

Other Noteworthy Endorsements:_
_Eric Holder, former Attorney General to President Barack Obama
Every Senator in Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus
David Daley, author and Senior Fellow at Fairvote
The Commonwealth Caucus of Virginia
Katie Fahey, Executive Director of The People

Justin Levitt, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Congressman Don Beyer
Senator Tim Kaine

Brent Tarter, author of “Gerrymanders: How Redistricting has Protected Slavery, White Supremacy, and Partisan Minorities in Virginia”

Phillip Thompson, Director of National Black Nonpartisan Redistricting Organization
Dr. Sam Wang, Director of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project


Selected News Clips

Justin Levitt, a former Obama administration Justice Department official

This amendment requires adherence to the Voting Rights Act … and then goes beyond. The VRA has been severely cut back by federal courts in recent years. The amendment establishes a state constitutional mandate with independent strength however the federal statute is construed.

January 19, Virginian-Pilot Op-Ed

Congressman Don Beyer

Now that the Democratic Party has regained the majority in both legislative chambers, we have both the power and the responsibility to make a good-faith attempt to solve many of these problems and make things better. We must not allow illusive, short-term benefits to outweigh the clear moral imperative to do the right thing.

January 2, Washington Post Op-Ed

Bobby Vassar

_In his last State of the Union Address, President Obama said that America had “to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around,” and that state legislatures should “let a bipartisan group do it.”

Right now, we have the opportunity to do just that and end partisan gerrymandering in Virginia once and for all. Let’s heed President Obama’s call. Because it’s not about politics, it’s about fairness._

December 12, 2019, Virginia Mercury Op-Ed

Dr. Sam Wang, Princeton Gerrymandering Project

Legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, can continue that change. In 2020, the home of the United States’ first gerrymander will become the home of its solution. It requires them to do something they normally don’t like to do — give up some of their power. But if they do it right, they can protect minority communities, give citizens a direct voice in redistricting and set an example for the nation in how to draw fair districts.

January 1, 2020, Richmond Times-Dispatch Op-Ed

Professors Alex Keena, Michael Gilbert, Rebecca Green, Elliott Fullmer, Nicholas Goedert, Deborah Hellman, David Lurton Massee, Jr., Roy and Rosamond Woodruff Morgan, A. E. Dick Howard

If the General Assembly approves this amendment and sends it to the voters for final blessing, it will set an exemplary precedent, showing that well-meaning politicians really will sacrifice some power to improve the quality of the election system.

January 29, 2020, Richmond Times-Dispatch Op-Ed

*Roger Chesley
*The referendum before voters…(is) decidedly fairer than what’s in place now. It should produce candidates who have to truly listen to their constituents.

June 30, 2020, Virginia Mercury Column


Important Dates

  • July 20 - Launch FairMapsVirginia Ballot Campaign (106 days until election day)
  • September 18 - Early absentee voting begins (45 days until election day)
  • October 13 - Deadline to register/update address
  • October 23 - Deadline to request absentee ballots by mail
  • October 31 - Deadline to request absentee ballot in person
  • November 3 - Election Day

Social Media Handles

  • Facebook: @FairMapsVA
  • Twitter: @FairMapsVA
  • Instagram: @FairMapsVA
  • Hashtag to use: #FairMapsVA & #VoteYesOn1

It's time to change Virginia's Redistricting

There's a better way to draw fair districs.

The commission will end unfair laws.

By voting to support the amendment, Virginians will finally create a fair and inclusive process that will replace our outdated and discriminatory laws. This will ensure that legislative district lines are drawn fairly and do not favor one party over the other.

The commission will be led by citizens.

Politicians will no longer have free rein to choose whoever they want to represent. It’s time to put people over politicians by including citizens in the process for the first time, and having a citizen serve as chair of the commission itself.

The commission will protect civil rights.

Historic voting rights protections for minority communities will be added to the Virginia Constitution for the first time. In fact, Justin Levitt, a former Obama administration Justice Department official said that the "amendment requires adherence to the Voting Rights Act … and then goes beyond.""

The commission will be transparent.

Instead of shady backroom deals, the new system will be completely transparent to voters and watchdogs. Public meetings will be held across Virginia, with all data and notes from the meetings being completely open to the public