California Away Team and Local, Coordinating Entities
The California Away Team’s innovative GOTV effort proved its effectiveness in the 2018 midterm election cycle, raising voting participation rates by 4-10% across two Congressional districts. Results for the 2018 general and 2018 primary elections can be reviewed at our website.
While turning out voters helps the entire Democratic ballot from top to bottom, CAT leaders believe even more powerful gains are possible if the program is carefully targeted and coordinated to down-ballot Democratic candidates and local parties. The benefits of coordination offer enormous potential to execute a generational upswing in Democratic down-ballot candidates that will pay dividends for decades as these candidates move through the ranks of elected offices around California and the nation.
CAT leaders have terminated their FEC-registered PAC and are actively soliciting potential partners for the 2020 cycle who are not restricted from coordinating with candidate campaigns. Our ideal partner is a county Democratic party, but we are open to other organizational structures as well.
To open discussions with the California Away Team, please contact Shabbir Imber Safdar before March 15th, 2019 at [email protected] or 415 630 3736.
Design of partnership between California Away Team and a local coordinating committee
The California Away Team GOTV Model is one that energizes volunteers to become canvassers. These canvassers visit registered Democrats who have inconsistent voting histories and talk to them as “fellow Democrats” about pledging to vote. Voters sign a pledge card for the next one or two elections (primary or primary/general) which the CAT volunteers return to them approximately 2 weeks before each upcoming election.
Voter universe targeting
The 2018 CAT voter universe was simple: Democrats registered before 10/15/2014 that missed the 2014 general election but participated in the 2016 general election. For the 2020 cycle, we still believe that greatest potential lies in targeting voters that have a prior voting record that suggests they might miss the 2020 general election.
Design of the targeting universe will follow the parameters above, but must be agreed to by both parties. Changes to the universe post-launch will require mutual agreement as well.
It is envisioned that if a local party has a Democratic club within the community, such as a LatinX club, that they might peel off a more niche universe out of the whole to target for their own club’s canvassing.
IT / Database / CAT data team access
CAT has databases for managing voters, but we would prefer to work within the database of a local, long-term invested partner, such as the local Democratic party county committee. In the 2018 cycle we joined a consortium of non-coordinating groups that shared data and we took our commitment to this very seriously.
We would like the ideal coordinating partner to bring a system such as PDI into the relationship that includes the capability to facilitate canvassing through a mobile app. All canvassing results are intended to flow back into the partner’s database. We desire read only access to conduct fundraising and outcome reporting, but the CAT data team does not need to have write access to the database.
Funding / fundraising
The CAT GOTV program is an all-volunteer program. In the 2018 cycle other entities such as FlipThe14 and the Sacramento Labor Council generously loaned their own paid staffers to the campaign. However CAT covered all the costs of printing, postage, and snack catering for volunteer events.
We will continue to fund the program through our own fundraising efforts. In the 2020 cycle, we will do this by setting up an ActBlue page that directs all donations to the partner organization for the use of the printing, postage, and catering costs of the CAT program.
The California Away Team will never take receipt of or handle any funds. The local partner is responsible for holding in escrow the segregated funds and paying costs of the CAT program’s printing, postage, and catering expenses out of the funds received through the ActBlue page.
CAT is responsible for raising all the money to pay for the costs of the program.
Distribution of literature / direct mail / use of CAT brand
One of the great benefits of entering into a coordinating relationship is the ability for CAT-volunteers to distribute party literature. After the primary, volunteers can carry candidate literature to voters. CAT agrees to reasonably cooperate with any efforts to distribute any literature desired of the partner.
The CAT brand will continue to be used in the program’s materials, and the program will continue to be a California Away Team - branded program. This is required for CAT to fulfill its commitment to fund all the costs of the program.
Staging sites / integration of precinct captain program
In the 2018 cycle, CAT used donated private homes to conduct its training and canvassing events. In the 2020 cycle CAT expects the local partner to provide canvassing or staging areas either at the local office, if the local partner has one, or at the homes of precinct captains.
This is the most exciting of all the partnership elements. Many county parties have precinct captain programs, but those programs often struggle with generating sufficient volunteers to canvass the assigned area. “Everyone wants to be a precinct captain until it’s time to canvass” is a common complaint we have heard from local county party committees.
The CAT program provides a solution to this dilemma. The local partner can have an established precinct captain program and vest responsibility for finding a staging area and providing local knowledge of the neighborhood. CAT can schedule ongoing events to happen out of each precinct captain location rotating through them all. This will bring in much-needed outside labor to “jump start” the volunteer group in that precinct.
Canvasser training and voter pitch scripts
The California Away Team GOTV model is unique in its training and script, which has resulted in higher volunteer satisfaction than even candidates and party committee’s own canvassing training/scripts.
The partner agrees to defer to using the core CAT training and scripts in training canvassers to collect GOTV cards. Additional training or talking points provided by the local partner will be welcome to be incorporated into the training, but they are not to supplant the main pitch canvassers deliver at the door to the voter.
Compliance / FEC-FPCC registration
In the 2020 cycle, the California Away Team, because it is not handling or expending any funds or printing or distributing its own material, is not a covered entity required to file with either the FEC or the FPCC. The GOTV project will generate activities that will require the local coordinating partner to file. The local party committee or other coordinating entity partner will bear the burden of filing all reports with election regulating entities.
Candidate communication / coordination
To maintain volunteer morale and conduct ourselves fairly, CAT does not explicitly support any Democratic candidate over any other before they win the Democratic primary. This is especially true for Democratic incumbents. Our program is designed to allow volunteers to contribute time by collecting voter commitments before the primary winner is known. These GOTV commitments will help the eventual Democratic primary winner, whoever they might be.
Any local county party partner must commit to avoid sharing any CAT program data with any primary candidates to the exclusion of all others in advance of the resulting primary winner.
Staffing / volunteer management and morale
The California Away Team will work with the local partner to identify volunteer site leaders who can be trainers and canvassing leaders. The job of site leader is not a clerical one; it is about training and motivating canvassers, particularly never-before canvassers. The CAT program involves many cost-free elements of gratitude and morale-building that are directly responsible for a high loyalty to the CAT program. The local partner is expected to support CAT in implementing these elements into the shared program.
Email addresses and contact information provided by volunteers that participate in the CAT GOTV program will be shared equally between CAT and the local partner.