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CASH Courier > 2003 Fall / Winter 2004 Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier

Animal Rights and Effective
Political Action (Part III)

By Peter Muller

In the last issue of the C.A.S.H. Courier we talked about the importance of electioneering prior to lobbying. You’ll recall that electioneering consists of attempting to get candidates elected to public office. Since AR activists normally do not have tons of idle cash laying around, one of our most effective ways to electioneer is to furnish votes to a candidate. To do that, we must build a database of AR-voters in each district where we want to be politically effective.

In this segment we discuss how to build such a database. Our goal is to build a list of committed AR-voters in each district. We should aim to have between 3% and 5% of the voters in each district. That would be enough to allow us to enter the political game. Look at it this way. Many political races are decided by a difference of less 5% of the vote. It is not unusual to see outcomes like:

Candidate A – 48%

Candidate B – 52%

By giving a candidate just 3% of the votes of people who normally would have not voted or gone to either candidate at random, we are shifting about .75% of the votes from the opponent to that candidate and generating an additional 1.5% of votes from folks who normally would not have voted (assuming 50% voter turnout.) In any fairly close race that’s significant:

Outcome without our support

Outcome with our support

Candidate A 50% Candidate A 52.5%
Candidate B 50% Candidate B 47.5%

The best ways to get names for our database include:

  1. Attending tabling events at which AR-people are expected to turn out and asking them to sign a form that indicates support on a local AR-issue; the form should indicate that their names will be used to support political candidates.
  2. Soliciting supporters at meetings of local AR-groups. Get the local groups to invite you to speak on your PAC and ask their members to put their names on your list.
  3. Buying or renting names within the zip codes of your districts from large national AR-groups.
  4. Obtaining publicly available lists such as lists of dog or cat-licenses within your county and doing a mailing to them to ask them if they want to be included on your election support list.
  5. Getting a local AR group to make their membership list public for a limited time. Remember: The local AR-group cannot give you their lists if they are a 501 (c) (3) organization – but they can make their lists public for limited time to everyone. At that time you can get it.
  6. Having a fund-raising function for your PAC with a well-liked local politician speaking.

After you have made a database of 3%-5% of the registered voters in a district who can be counted on to be pro-animal voters. It is time to pick the race and the candidate that your pack wants to get involved in.

What are some criteria fro picking political contests and candidates?

That’ll be the topic of the next installment of "Animal Rights and Effective Political Action."

Peter Muller is president of
LOHV – League of Humane Voters

Return to the Fall 2003 / Winter 2004 Issue

 
 

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