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
The best ways to get names for our database include:
- 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.
- 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.
- Buying or renting names within the zip codes
of your districts from large national AR-groups.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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