One Year Later
A year in to this crazy Ranked Choice Voting experiment and we have learned A LOT about what successful advocacy organizing is like. This post is a brain dump of some of the things I’ve learned volunteering at Rank The Vote KY the last year
Know Your State’s Political Environment
This was the biggest takeaway for me. Every state is different. While there definitely are lessons you can learn from the efforts in other states, nothing beats getting to know your specific state.
Talk to other groups that have organized for causes adjacent to yours. Find local politics podcasts and listen to them (shout out My Old Kentucky Podcast). Make a twitter list of local reporters who are happy to give you the tea on whats going on without a paywall. Show up to local groups’ events and introduce yourself to every single person.
State politics are fascinating and pretty entertaining. State Legislators are pretty approachable. Speaking of…
State Legislators Are Busy, But Usually Willing To Listen
We just recently started to reach out to Legislators as a resource to help them understand RCV. Like most people, a lot of them have heard of RCV, have a vague opinion of it, but need more information before they can support it. Usually they are super busy, but in my experience have been willing to sit down and talk. They’re normal people with jobs outside of the legislature. You can pick out legislators because they 1) are dressed well and 2) are usually wearing these little gold pins/nametags.
Kentucky will need legislation in order to enact RCV. It is important for us to develop ourselves and our volunteers as ‘citizen lobbyists’ who can communicate effectively to this audience. All of our current members are new to this, and we’ve learned a lot from each meeting we’ve had with elected officials.
Other People Want To Help You, But Are Also Busy
We’ve canvassed about a dozen times so far and talked to a couple hundred people. Most people have never heard of RCV, but I’d say 9 out of 10 express support for the concept of RCV after I give them the spiel. But we have really had a hard time convincing those supporters to then become a part of making RCV actually happen: canvassing with us, donating, or just giving us a warm intro to other people who might be interested or who might have a network to talk to.
Part of this is definitely on us: we haven’t done the best job of following up, and people definitely need a poke. I think we underestimated how hard it is to keep track of all potential supporters, and how to make sure we continue to engage and communicate with them. I think a lot about how to make it as easy as possible to engage people (most of which involves free food). If you have any ideas on what would engage you write it in the comments! I’m looking for some new ideas…
This Is Hard
I thought this was going to be way easier. I’m such an RCV stan that I figured we just had to tell enough people about RCV and they would also drop whatever they were doing and join the cause. That hasn’t happened (yet).
But it has been a really interesting problem to try to solve. I’ve met a bunch of smart, passionate, interesting people that I never would have crossed paths with otherwise. I get to practice skills I never would have like graphic design, writing, event planning and leadership that I can apply elsewhere. And instead of just yelling into the void, angry and desperate for someone to save us, I’m playing an active role in making changes I believe in.
Do you like this page?