Campaigners' Database

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Fri Jan 16 2004 - 13:51:59 CST

We already have several people that have been writing emails and making
calls on behalf of the OVC. But until now, we haven't had a system to track
who has called whom.

We now have a great new tool to use for our campaign. Thanks to Alex
Burgel, we have a system on line whereby people working to promote the OVC
can track contacts they make and put them into a central repository. If you
want to call or write to someone on behalf of the OVC, you can look in the
database and see:

1) If the person (or organization or entity) has been contacted.

2) Who made the contact(s)

3) The nature of the contact (a report on what was said)

4) Date/time of the contact(s)

5) Whether or not follow should be made with this person or other persons in
the organization

and so on....

The information in the database is protected. If you want to help with
this, please contact me or Alex (or another administrator TBD) to obtain a
login id and password.

Why Make the Calls?
I see five main objectives in our calling:

I. The Voting System as a 2004 Election Year issue

II. Fundraising

III. Recruitment (members, workers, other organizations, etc.)

IV. Media attention

V. General Exposure

Mostly we're talking about contacting people in the US of A but there is no
reason to restrict it to that. One of our most active recruiters right now
is a fellow that lives in Japan by the name of Eric A. Smith. Several new
people on the ovc-demo-team list came to us through Eric.

Email is an easy way to reach people anywhere in the world. However, phone
calls are more effective. In other cases, you need to send a fax. Some
combination of emails, phone calls, and faxes will be the way to go.
Obviously, it will be most cost-effective if you work on people in your
local area. If you need to phone or fax someone out of your area but don't
want to do so at your expense, let me know and I will provide you with a
calling card. Calling cards can be a very cheap way to make long distance
calls. I have one that charges 1.9 cents per minute -- this one is great
for calls that may last a long time (billing increment is 3 minutes). Other
cards that charge a bit more per minute but have one minute (or less)
billing increments may be better for short calls or faxes.

Let me elaborate a bit on these objectives and areas of interest.

I. The Voting System as a 2004 Election Year issue
Our target in this case is every candidate running for office in 2004. In
the U.S., make sure we contact Republicans and Democrats (and other parties)
alike. Our issue is truly non-partisan. We can guess that Democrats will
be most interested (they have shown the most interest since 2000 for some
reason). Kucinich has shown some interest in the issue: although he may not
be the likely nominee, he is still important since he could help bring the
issue to the table. The Holy Grail in this case would be to get Howard Dean
to take this up as a major issue. I have some ideas on how/why he might do
such a thing. I will work with campaigners to develop a strategy with the
Dean campaign.

Of course, we want them to make the general points we have (anti-blackbox,
pro-voter verified paper trail, cost-effectiveness, etc) but we want to get
them to make specific reference to the OVC.

II. Fundraising
We need money. Let's find some. The OVC directors are working on getting
some major grants through the National Science Foundation and a few other
large foundations. But every foundation should be considered. There may be
an angle for getting money from some small foundations that typically give
only a few thousand dollars. Any and all grants would be VERY HELPFUL.

If you want to contact a foundation on behalf of the OVC, probably you will
write a letter of inquiry. I can give you a template for that. One of the
important things to note is that we are not and will never be a 501(c)(3)
organization. We are applying for tax exempt status as a 501(c)(6). This
may preclude direct grants from some foundations. HOWEVER, there may still
be a way to work with some foundations that grant exclusively to 501(c)(3)
organizations. We have friends that have 501(c)(3) status and we can also
work through universities. So, if you find an organization that says, "we'd
like to give you money but you're not a 501(c)(3)," don't give up. We can
deal with this situtation. Until you are up to speed with working on the
foundation angle, get in touch with me or Arthur before contacting any
foundations on behalf of the OVC.

The Holy Grail in this case would be the Soros Foundation (Open Society).
It always helps if you know someone that knows someone -- like that.
Unsolicited inquiry letters can be effective but there is nothing like
personal connections to grease the wheels.

Individual contributors can be an important source for us. Many small
contributions could add up to a lot and establish that the OVC has some
fundraising capability, thus opening up the door for more and larger
contributions. We will have a PayPal acct set up soon so that anyone with a
credit card can make a contribution quickly, easily, and securely. Wealthy
individuals could be an important source. Again, let's not ignore
Republicans, but realistically a wealthy Democrat might be a more likely
contributor. When Bill Clinton visited your state, where did he stay? You
could find this out with a few phone calls and searches on the Internet.
Find some old articles that talk about some of the fundraisers major
Democratic candidates put together. Find someone that knows someone
mentioned in the article. Call 'em up.

III. Recruitment

We need volunteers. We can use people with technical skills to help with
development and testing of our demo and production voting software. We can
also use anyone else that is willing and able to do other work.

We need dues-paying members. Please review our bylaws if it's not clear to
you who might directly benefit by becoming a dues-paying OVC member. We are
working on a blurb to summarize the benefits for our target audience. If
you want to work on these contacts, please let me know and I will make
suggestions for who to contact and what to say (equipment vendors, service
companies, consultants, etc).

We need endorsements. We need VIPs to say, "The OVC is a good way to go."
Can't think of who might be good to contact? Here's a list to start with:

Note that I'm on this list (also note they list my affiliation as UC
Berkeley -- more than a few people assumed that I was Berkeley faculty from
the memo that Henry Brady wrote... for the record, I have no official UC
Berkeley affiliation although I graduated from there and have a lot of
friends there) along with a few others that are involved in the OVC. Other
people on this list have strong opinions regarding voting modernization so
be prepared! A lot of them already know something about the OVC (but they
need to know more!). It would be great to get one (or more) of the election
officials on the list (state elections chief, county elections chief, or a
SoS) to endorse our project or even get actively involved. We might
consider some of the people on this list for OVC board membership. Others
might become active members.

IV. Media Attention

Probably the best target right now would be writers for print media. Find
an article someone wrote having to do with voting modernization. Contact
them about the OVC. It's probably best to start by referencing the
article(s) they wrote and then segue to your OVC pitch.

Radio is also a possibility at this point. You might be able to get one of
our directors to be the guest on some talk show. Doug Jones has certainly
done this but not specifically representing the OVC. I have been on radio
talk shows before but not in connection with the OVC. Arthur has been on TV
(Lehrer newshour) regarding computer security issues. Maybe Peter Maggs or
Amit Sahai would be glad to do a radio show too.

As we approach getting the demo ready to show, TV will become more
realistic -- they are likely to want to have something to show rather than
just talk. We should be ready for this soon, but not quite today.

V. General Exposure

Everytime you mention that you are making contact on behalf of the Open
Voting Consortium, more people learn about it. We've established that when
people hear about the OVC, we get some support. The simple answer to
getting more support is to get more people to hear about us. So, keep this
in mind even when it doesn't seem you're getting the response we're after.
Even a negative response can be beneficial. If someone tells others that
s/he doesn't like what we're doing, it could still help us since some of the
people won't accept the reason given for not liking us.

Please let me know ASAP if you want to get started helping the OVC with
getting the word out in this way!

-- Alan Dechert 916-791-0456
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Received on Mon Jan 10 00:48:10 2005

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