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Planned Parenthood Votes Announces Launch of 50-State Virtual Volunteer Organizing Program

PLANNED PARENTHOOD VOTES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 24, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom


Organizing program has seen significant surge in volunteer interest after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

Washington, DC — Today, Planned Parenthood Votes officially announced the We Decide 2020 50-State Virtual Volunteer Program — a volunteer-led organizing effort to recruit, train, and mobilize thousands of people to talk to voters through relational organizing, phone banking, and text banking. Since the heartbreaking death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday night, the program has seen a rush of increased interest from new volunteers and increased commitments from current volunteers who want to defend her legacy. 

Within 72 hours, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations saw three times as many supporters sign up to volunteer compared to previous weeks. In total, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will reach at least 5 million voters this year through phone calls, one-on-one conversations with friends and family, and online engagement to elect champions for reproductive rights across the country. 

Planned Parenthood Votes’ 50-State Virtual Volunteer Program is an unprecedented political organizing initiative that will sustain itself, with experienced volunteers coaching newer volunteers and fostering an environment of organic enthusiasm ahead of this election. 

Statement from Jenny Lawson, executive director, Planned Parenthood Votes: 

“Our world has changed tremendously over the past five months and even more so in the past five days — and Planned Parenthood Votes’ organizing efforts are ready to meet this moment. What hasn’t changed is that access to reproductive health and freedom at stake in this election. That’s why we are excited to announce our biggest-ever organizing initiative, a 50-state virtual volunteer program to engage voters in an authentic and safe way. Planned Parenthood Votes staff will take a front line role in recruiting, educating and mobilizing the volunteers who will ultimately win this election. In 2016, 107,000 voters in three states effectively decided the presidential election for Donald Trump. This year, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will reach millions of voters in key swing states through online engagement, phone calls, and one-on-one conversations with friends and family. With our innovative Virtual Volunteer Program, Planned Parenthood Votes is going to ensure we send reproductive rights champions to elected office, up and down the ballot, and all across the country.” 

 Statement from Sarika Kumar, Associate Director, Digital Organizing at Planned Parenthood Votes:

“The power and energy of Planned Parenthood Votes’ grassroots organizing is second to none. With the realities we face during a global pandemic and racial uprisings, our volunteers are motivated to get reproductive rights champions elected up and down the ballot. The Virtual Volunteer Program will mobilize Black, Indigenous, people of color, and young voters, who face health care disparities and voter suppression tactics at disproportionate rates. Volunteers are building from the groundwork of previous generations and are committed to fighting for reproductive freedom and their right to vote.” 

 Mobilization and engagement have surged since the death of Justice Ginsburg, with people motivated to honor RBG’s legacy by ensuring champions for reproductive health and rights are elected to office. Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations’ volunteers and organizers are harnessing that energy in creative ways. In Arizona, organizers held a “We Dissent” phone bank after a volunteer proposed the idea. An organizer in Maine who had been averaging around 45 volunteer shifts per week reported he has 175 shifts scheduled for this week.  In Montana, the program had a spike of volunteers come to a virtual rally calling for the Senate to hold the Supreme Court vacancy until the inauguration.

Even before this weekend, we have seen organizers like Emma Chinman, a lead organizer in York County, Maine, come up with creative ways to engage their peers. Chinman is running an informal micro-influencer program, where she asks every volunteer to post about the work that Planned Parenthood Votes is doing in Maine on their Instagram story. All of the volunteer's Instagram followers who interact with that story then get a direct message with a signup link. After signing up, Planned Parenthood Votes reaches out to the new person within 24 hours with a volunteering opportunity. This is just one example of the innovative tactics Planned Parenthood Votes’ organizers are using to organically expand the relational organizing network. 

Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations launched a $45 million electoral program — its largest effort ever — to organize and win up and down the ballot. While the program was initially designed to support massive door knocking and canvassing efforts, the COVID-19 pandemic forced our organizers to quickly shift the program online in a way that allows us to engage voters in authentic, safe ways. The organizing efforts include, for the first time, comprehensive national and target state constituency electoral organizing programs centering Black, Latinx, and youth voters with culturally relevant tactics. After the election, these volunteers will work to hold elected officials accountable and ensure they enact policies that increase access to health care. 

Over the last four years, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have continued the racist and misogynist attacks on our bodies, our health, and our rights. Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in this country have fought for centuries to secure reproductive rights and freedom. The We Decide 2020 Virtual Volunteer Program will train volunteers to fight back and protect our reproductive rights at the ballot box and beyond.

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Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.