This election cycle, we launched a field department with temporary campaign offices in Portland and Eugene. The goal was to build long-term power by organizing members to establish a culture of engagement and skillbuilding, while getting out the vote on two ballot measure attacks attempting to throw out a 31 year old anti-racial profiling law and to limit abortion access.
We were blown away by the response from Oregonians. ACLU members demonstrated unprecedented levels of activism. Volunteers led difficult conversations with neighbors, held fundraisers, wrote letters to the editor and organized local postcard parties. In rural areas of the state, volunteers engaged through our People Power network. The online infrastructure gave volunteers the ability to take part in voter outreach by making calls from their homes.
With your support, we did some impressive things this election:
- 238,885 postcards written by ACLU members were sent to households across Oregon urging low propensity voters to vote.
- More than 1,400 volunteers signed up to engage in election activities.
- 719 phone bank and canvass shifts were completed.
- More than 25,000 voter doors were knocked.
- Over 50,000 voter calls were made.
- An additional 16,494 calls to Oregon voters were made from People Power members.
- 20,000 text messages were sent to Oregon voters from the People Power network including voter registration reminders, volunteer recruitment and get out the vote alerts.
- We contacted 300,000 voters through the mail and ran a series of digital ads targeting persuadable and Spanish speaking voters.
At the same time, Oregon saw unprecedented levels of coalition partnerships, particularly with field programs led by women and communities of color. Together, we helped set new records for midterm election turnout. Voters sent a clear message:
- Oregonians voted NO on Measure 105 loud and clear with 63.39% of the vote. Voters overwhelmingly continue to believe that no one should be targeted based solely on the color of their skin, their accent, or their perceived immigration status.
- Oregonians overwhelmingly voted NO on Measure 106 with 64.44% of the vote. Women in Oregon will continue to decide whether and when to become a parent - no matter how much money they make, or how they are insured.
Values were on the ballot in Oregon. These decisive victories came at a time when messages of xenophobia were thrust into the spotlight and as other states passed restrictions to chip away at abortion access. Oregonians demonstrated that divisive attacks cannot hold back progress in Oregon nor divide our communities. In doing so we acted as a beacon of light for the nation and as a check on power to the dysfunction in Washington D.C.
Our field work is just beginning but one thing is clear: fierce struggles for justice are strengthened and advanced by everyday people engaged in the push for civil rights and inclusive communities. Long before court battles are litigated, people are holding the front lines of justice struggles with their activism. All across the state, we hear from folks who are fighting transphobia in local schools, rushing to airports to protest attacks on immigrants, fighting back against systemic racism by filming the police, making calls to key decision makers and getting out the vote to make their voices heard.
This work doesn’t end on election day. Moving forward we will continue building power in communities across Oregon. In the upcoming 2019 state legislative session, we will need your help again to advance immigrant rights, juvenile justice, privacy rights, and other forward-thinking policy goals. This work builds upon the strong message voters sent to elected leaders.
Our field program is off to a strong start. As we’ve seen, the current political moment calls for this type of ongoing, movement-building work, a multifaceted approach, and a massive level of sustained engagement at the local and national level. Together we achieved historic wins this election. With our activism we collectively tipped the scales towards inclusion and justice providing tremendous hope for Oregon and a much-needed alternate vision for our country.