FROM: Seema Nanda, DNC CEO
DATE: July 29, 2018
RE: 99 Days Out: 10 DNC Efforts You Need to Know About
With 99 days to go to Election Day, the DNC is working to help elect Democrats up and down the ticket. The New DNC has completely changed its approach from being a committee that showed up every four years to one that organizes and mobilizes 365 days a year, every year.
As a result, the DNC is taking unprecedented action, including: investments in technology and data with the purchase of the cell phone number of every registered voter, and investing and organizing our base.
Heading into the midterms, the DNC is laying the critical infrastructure to win. Here are 10 DNC efforts you need to know about:
- Nationwide Cell Phone Acquisition
- Targeting New Universes of Unregistered Voters
- Raising Grassroots Funds for Candidates
- Cybersecurity Guidance for States
- Investing and Organizing in the Puerto Rican Community
- Investments Early in Base Communities
- Reaching 30 Million Voters Through IWillVote
- National Trainings and Creating a Pipeline of Talent
- Voter Education and Protection
- Providing Candidates with Tech Tools to Target Voters
NATIONWIDE CELL PHONE ACQUISITION
The DNC acquired the cell phone number of every registered voter across the country for whom a cell phone was commercially available. To date, we have enhanced our voter file with the purchase of 94 million additional cell phone numbers.
This is a big investment unlike anything the party has done before, and will aid our efforts not only for 2018, but for 2019, 2020 and beyond. As the majority of the electorate continues to shift from landlines to cell phones, the DNC is making sure that Democrats and all our state parties are in the best position to contact voters and share our message.
We know our methodology works because we tested our theory in Alabama for the U.S. Senate special election on behalf of Doug Jones. The DNC contacted almost every registered African American voter in the state to share their polling place and encourage them to vote, which ultimately boosted turnout and helped lead Doug Jones to victory. Between now and Election Day, the DNC plans to use this list for voter contact in key races across the country and to encourage sporadic voters to turn out in November as a part of our IWillVote initiative.
TARGETING NEW UNIVERSES OF UNREGISTERED VOTERS
Democrats have the registration advantage, and now we’re expanding it.
The DNC, along with the analytics and technology firm BlueLabs, has created new data sets that identify over 25 million likely Democrats who are currently unregistered.
Called “Arbor,” the data set combines census data (the most recent available American Community Survey and 2010 Census), current voter registration rolls, and predictive models (partisan support and general election turnout probability) to score untapped universes of potential new Democrats. This effort builds upon the already robust presence of grassroots voter registration activists, and will help candidates, state parties and Democratic allies better target voters.
RAISING GRASSROOTS FUNDS FOR CANDIDATES
In 2017 the DNC started harnessing its email list to raise directly for candidates — funds that you won’t see on our own FEC report.
This is an intentional shift in how we think about empowering grassroots donors and maximizing our impact for Democratic campaigns. Not only does split fundraising place funds directly into the coffers of our campaigns, it shares the email addresses of contributors, allowing campaigns to resolicit a new universe of financial support. It also gives grassroots donors transparency — they know their gift is going directly to the candidates they support.
The DNC first tested this tool with Jon Ossoff in Georgia and then with Doug Jones for Senate in Alabama. Since Jones’s victory, the DNC has continued to use our list to raise directly for candidates, including Conor Lamb (PA-18), John Lewis (GA-05), Hiral Tipirneni (AZ-08), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rob Quist (MT-AL), Jacky Rosen (NV-03), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Danny O’Connor (OH-12).
The DNC has already raised millions for candidates through this effort alone and will continue to use this effective strategy to encourage grassroots donations.
CYBERSECURITY GUIDANCE FOR STATES
The Russian military attacked our democracy in 2016 and we know they’ll be back. That’s why the DNC is providing guidance and technical assistance to states to prevent future hacks.
The DNC has recruited Chief Technology Officer Raffi Krikorian, who comes to us from Twitter and Uber, and Chief Security Officer Bob Lord, who worked at Yahoo through their remediation following their hack. In addition to working to safeguard DNC systems, this team is providing state parties with technical assistance and advice on the best safety precautions to take as we approach the midterm elections. DNC staff works with state parties and candidates if they see suspicious behavior or potential attacks.
To be as secure as possible, the DNC has instilled a complete culture change in regards to protecting our data. Some of the steps the DNC has taken is moving towards encrypted messaging when appropriate, conducting regular phishing exercises, providing mandatory online and in-person security training, mandating immediate and timely software updates on all work devices and move to a more secure email system.
INVESTING AND ORGANIZING IN THE PUERTO RICAN COMMUNITY
The DNC welcomes the Puerto Rican community, and we’re reaching out to identify, educate and engage them.
While Republicans continue to fail the Puerto Rican community, the DNC refuses to take them for granted. We’ve made it a priority to engage with Puerto Ricans who have recently relocated to Florida, Pennsylvania and elsewhere following Hurricane Maria. Specifically, the DNC has:
- Invested $100,000 in the Florida Democratic Party to register Puerto Rican voters and help connect them to social services;
- Invested $100,000 in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to put Puerto Rican organizers on the ground to help connect them to social services in the community and register them to vote;
- Purchased the cell phone numbers of every Puerto Rican who relocated from the island to Florida or Pennsylvania after 30 days to better engage the community; and
- Partnered with the MirRam Group to identify issues of importance and messages that connect with the Puerto Rican community.
In both Florida and Pennsylvania, we are also working to expand engagement efforts to provide them with the support they need as they settle into their new communities.
INVESTING EARLY IN BASE COMMUNITIES
The DNC will not take any community for granted. We must invest in the Democratic base — that will lead us to victory.
From California to South Dakota to Florida to New Hampshire, we have made it a priority to engage base communities, including African American, Latino, AAPI, women, rural and millennial voters. In 2017, we won in Virginia and Alabama by investing $1.5 million and nearly $1 million, respectively — nearly all of it for organizing in African American and other base communities. So in 2018, we are focused on scaling up our efforts in base communities across the country.
Combining traditional organizing with innovative digital and technological tools, the DNC announced grants to help fund more than 55 organizers in African American, Latino, AAPI, millennial, and rural communities in 16 states: Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine, California, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Our engagement in each state is specifically tailored to meet the demographic needs of the communities in which we are organizing.
For example, in South Dakota, home to nine Tribal Nations, empowering and organizing Native American voters will make the difference in the midterm elections. The DNC invested in the South Dakota Democratic Party with a Native American outreach and organizing program that puts organizers on five reservations across the state to strengthen relationships with local leaders, boost voter registration, and increase vote-by-mail rates in rural areas.
In addition, the DNC is proud to have supported putting organizers on the ground early in other special elections:
- Supported Rebecca Dallet for state Supreme Court race on April 3rd by investing $100,000 in the Wisconsin Democratic coordinated campaign to accelerate hiring Latinx, African American, and rural organizers to help get out the vote in the spring elections. We also ran a custom SMS program to communicate with over 30,000 African American voters in urban and suburban communities around a gun safety message and Justice Dallet’s No NRA Money pledge.
- Supported the Conor Lamb in the PA-18 special election with a $370,000 investment into the Pennsylvania Democratic Party that helped to build out their organizing capacity.
- The DNC accelerated investments into the Ohio Democratic coordinated campaign, which it used to place organizers on the ground early for the August 7 special election in OH-12.
Lastly, we know that African American women can lead us to victory — look no further than the victories in electing Governor Ralph Northam in Virginia and Senator Doug Jones in Alabama. And the DNC recently launched the Seat at the Table tour, which is a joint Democratic initiative from the DNC, the Congressional Black Caucus, and Black women leaders that seeks to rebuild relationships, restore trust, and strengthen infrastructure within communities to champion Democratic values and build towards electoral victories.
REACHING VOTERS THROUGH IWILLVOTE
The DNC has reached nearly 30 million people just through our IWillVote initiative, a program to increase turnout.
Earlier this year, the DNC launched IWillVote, an unprecedented program to reach 50 million Americans about the importance of voting before Election Day — and we’ve reached nearly 30 million Americans so far with just this program. As we often see a drop off in the midterms, the DNC is proud that -tens of millions people have been reached organically through supporters sharing IWillVote content online.
This summer, the DNC launched a six-figure digital ad buy to reach sporadic voters and encourage them to commit to vote. Using the voter file, these ads are targeting a custom audience of people who typically vote in presidentials but not in midterms, with a focus on millennial voters and communities of color. Sporadic voters will also receive peer-to-peer SMS communications from the DNC, using our nationwide cell phone acquisition of registered voters.
Anyone who commits to vote will then be part of a robust digital chase program this fall, using SMS, email, and other tools to send supporters their personalized polling place and encourage them to make a plan to vote — the first fully digital commit-to-vote and chase program of its kind.
NATIONAL TRAININGS AND CREATING A PIPELINE OF TALENT
For a prosperous Democratic future, we must create a pipeline of talent. That’s exactly what we’re doing.
The DNC has recently launched Organizing to Win Trainings, Talent Bank and the Best Practices Institute to create a trained pipeline of Democratic talent.
Organize to Win Trainings are free day-long trainings that offer insight into electoral organizing, best practices for campaign tools and tactics and deep dives into specific organizing skills. Most recently, the DNC hosted its first trainings in Minnesota and Utah, additional trainings will be in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and West Virginia, with more to be announced later this summer.
The Talent Bank is a centralized place where anyone interested in working on a campaign or for a state party can submit their resume to be considered for open positions this cycle and future cycles. Campaigns and state parties are always looking for the next generation of leaders to lead them to victory and the Talent Bank helps them to do that.
The Best Practices Institute was created to centralize training and act as a hub for innovation and learning — with the development and distribution of best practices and curricula for state parties, activists, campaign management and candidates. This will include a series of trainings, which have already started across the country, and resources. Just in the past few months, the Best Practices Institute has hosted a digital and data bootcamp — both focused on continuing to develop the capacity in the state parties and campaigns to effectively communicate digitally and to do analytics to help run data-driven campaigns.
VOTER EDUCATION AND PROTECTION
Republicans are working to suppress the vote. Democrats are working to make sure everyone votes.
Large scale voter purges are one the latest ways Republicans are attempting to suppress large numbers of voters — particularly voters of color. At the DNC, we’re fighting back and working to make sure that voters understand the importance of their vote, and their rights to vote.
- Voter Protection Councils: The DNC is working with states to establish Voter Protection Councils in support of year-round voter protection infrastructure. These Councils will organize to expand voting rights and opportunities in their states.
- National Voter Hotline: The DNC launched a permanent voter hotline that is open and answered year round. Calls are answered during regular business hours throughout the year, and extend hours for elections and voting ahead of election day at the request of state parties and campaigns. This year, the DNC has already supported elections in 18 states and over 30 races.
- Monitoring Voter Purges: The DNC is tracking the number of voters newly registered and newly removed from voter rolls each time we receive a new voter file from state elections officials. The voter protection team then analyzes the rolls to compare the data against historical trends. This allows us to better work with state parties to identify evidence of large scale voter purges, to address the issue with state election administrators, and to reach out to affected voters.
- Voter Protection Toolkits: The DNC has created toolkits for marginalized communities, including the African American, Latino (in English and Spanish), LGBTQ and Native American communities, which outline the historical background of voting rights, common issues the community faces, and problems voters face and solutions to remedy them.
PROVIDING CANDIDATES WITH TECH TOOLS TO TARGET VOTERS
The DNC is giving candidates access to the technology they need to target voters. That’s how we win.
The DNC created I Will Run, a marketplace filled with tech tools and training organizations to upgrade Democratic campaigns. Through this platform, first-time candidates or elected officials can access a compilation of the best-in-class tools, complete with pre-negotiated pricing, currently used by campaigns, and the tools tested by DNC-funded case studies. The platform is broken into six categories — digital, finance, research, security, training organizations, and voter contact tools.
In addition, we partnered with MobilizeAmerica, a nationwide volunteer platform, to connect volunteers to campaigns and groups who are organizing 365 days a year. With this partnership in place, the DNC, sister committees, campaigns, state parties, and other progressive organizations can use a single collaborative platform for volunteers and organizations looking to support Democratic candidates and progressive action. This new technology allows supporters across the country to find volunteer opportunities with campaigns in their communities, or remotely support the most competitive races across the country.
Across the country and up and down the ticket, diverse Democratic candidates are seeking office in record numbers. From the 356 Democratic women who filed to run for the House in 2018 to the remarkable number of Muslim American candidates running for office to the historic number of teachers running up and down the ballot — our Democrats are diverse. And this year could be a record of firsts for Democrats.
Democrats have the wind at their backs. While we still face challenges from the Trump administration and Republicans at the local and federal level, Democrats are flipping deep-red seats to blue and engaging with voters like never before. The DNC is proud to be creating new, innovative programs and technologies while partnering with allies across the country to harness the energy we are seeing on the ground and will carry that momentum to the ballot box.