November 4, 2008

You Did it Ohio!

MSNBC, CBS, and Fox News call Ohio for Barack Obama!

November 2, 2008

Where should you VOTE?

Dear sweet, important Ohio voters: YOU HAVE ONE MORE DAY TO VOTE EARLY. Call us at 1.866.748.8867 to secure a free and convenient ride. Our shuttles will be available in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati until the end of voting hours on Monday, November 3. Don't wait til the 4th -- get it out of the way.

If you'd rather vote on the 4th but don't know where, we recommend as a quick tool to locate your polling place.

We also like this cool application introduced by CREDO that allows you to find your polling place by texting "pp street address zip" to 69866.

And if you encounter any trouble or problems when you go vote, contact the VOTER HOTLINE for advice/support: 866.OUR.VOTE (866.687.8683).

Happy voting, everyone!

October 30, 2008

Early voters ought to be in pictures

Aaron snaps a shot of his happy Cincinnati early voters.

We take early voters to the Cleveland polls in STYLE.

Voters in the 'nati' vote early, and with pride.

October 23, 2008

Free shuttle schedule


Pick-ups every half hour from both 15th and High and the Hale Center at Ohio State University

Weekdays 10:30 to 6:30;Saturdays 10:30 to 4:30;Sundays 1:00 to 4:30

Pickups every half hour weekdays 9-4 at:

Nestor Hall -- Columbus State Community College

Crane Center -- Columbus College of Art and Design

Grant and Rich -- Franklin University


University of Cincinnati -- Campus Rec Center Circle -- Monday through Friday, every hour from 12-7 pm.

Avondale Town Center -- Monday through Friday, every hour from 4-7 pm.

Allen Temple AME -- Mondays at 6:30 pm

New Jerusalem Baptist Church -- Wednesdays at 6:00 pm


Arbor Park, 3750 Fleming (Rental Office)

Monday - Friday: 12:20 pm, 5:20 pm

Saturday (tbd); Sunday: 11 am, 3 pm

Central Recreation Center
2526 Central Avenue

Starting Tuesday, October 28 -- shuttle coincides with Arbor Park

Tri-C Metro, Community College Drive Circle (@ E 30th Street):

Monday - Friday, every half hour from 9 am - 6:30 pm.

October 21, 2008

Wanna ride? We'll take you there.

Voters in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland can now call 866.748.8867 for a free ride to the early voting center. Partners of Vote Today Ohio such as the NAACP and America Votes have begun aggressive promotion of this new toll free number in their voter outreach efforts, and the amazing VTO teams on the ground are doing everything they can to make sure anyone wishing to vote early has no excuse not to.

October 14, 2008

Come Make History in Ohio

From mid-October through Election Day, Vote Today Ohio will help thousands of voters cast their ballots in the safest, smartest way possible - at Early Vote Centers.

We're looking for volunteers to help Ohioans votes before their ballots can be lost to long lines, broken machines and problems on Election Day. We'll be operating in 10 teams spread out over 3 cities - Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. Our goal is to bring 5000 more new and unlikely voters to the polls.

If you want to make a tangible, strategic difference in this election, join us. Tell us which of our four Action Blocks will suit you best, then fill out our Volunteer Intake Form. We'll contact you within 48 hours to talk about your placement and team.

If you have more questions, find out How The Program Works, or read our Volunteer FAQs.

In your heart, you know you can't sit this one out. So put aside your daily routine. Come make history with us.

October 10, 2008

Moving early voters (Phase 2)

We did so well during Golden Week, we just know we have to FINISH THE JOB.

So from mid-October through Election Day, Vote Today Ohio will bring thousands more Ohioans to Early Vote Centers so that they can cast their ballots safely and easily. It's all about hassle-free voting.

Why is this important? Because early voters get to avoid long lines, broken machines, and problems that disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Ohioans in 2004. Every early voter reduces the strain on polling places on Election Day, and that means more votes get counted.

Our central strategy revolves around moving voters to the polls. But that doesn't just mean driving vans. It requires smart, target organizing in communities that are too often disenfranchised - African-American communities, immigrant communities, young voters, homeless people, and others.

Each volunteer will join a team that is assigned to a particular area. Each team will be guided by a Team Leader - an organizer from the community who knows the population and understands where and how to communicate with potential voters. Team Leaders will work with their volunteers to generate the best strategies and tactics to turn out early voters.

At least two volunteer organizers will be paired with a Team Leader. However, the Team Leader will recruit additional volunteers from the community to assist your team. You will work with the Team Leader to holistically develop and implement a customized strategy for turning out the vote in your assigned community. The exact tactics will vary from site to site, and your ideas and skills will be more than welcome. You’ll get to know the community, you’ll work hard, and you’ll bring some much-needed capacity to support the local organizer.

The best advice we can give potential organizers is to bring your creativity with you to Ohio. We're nimble enough that a brilliant idea can shoot straight to the top in no time flat, and help us bring many more voters to the polls. Innovative, flexible, strategic - that's what we need from our organizers.

But What Exactly Will Volunteers Do?

If you need a fixed schedule that you plug into every day as a worker bee, then Vote Today Ohio may not be for you. If you are willing to innovate, think on your feet, and take on multiple roles, then Vote Today Ohio is your ticket!

In the course of a day with us, you might:

- Meet with a food pantry director to schedule a pickup
- Give a pitch in a college classroom
- Drive 50 new voters to the polls
- Organize a barbecue
- Sign up homeless people for poll shuttles
- Coordinate with church leaders
- Plaster a campus with posters
- Make outreach calls to new voters
- Dress up in silly costumes to generate buzz
- Dress your van up in silly costumes
- Brainstorm about how to get ballots in the bank!

If you're ready to make a difference, fill out our Volunteer Intake Form.

About Vote Today Ohio

NOW: Phase Two (Oct 22 - Nov 3) - Finishing the Job

On October 22nd, Vote Today Ohio will launch PHASE TWO of this groundbreaking initiative. Given the momentum of our voter mobilization efforts during Golden Week, we want to continue to help Ohioans take advantage of early voting. We want to build on our successes and offer more people rides to the polls - people who typically don't vote, people who wonder if their vote really matters, people who are often too burdened with the daily hardships of real life to stand in long lines on November 4th.

We have a great team and a great plan, but there is much work to do. Be a part of this. Visit our volunteer page and sign up to help make a difference in Ohio. And/or make a donation.

History depends on it.


THEN: Grabbing hold of Golden Week (Sept 30 - Oct 6)
(originally posted September 13)

Two years ago, Ohio changed its voting laws in a way that creates an extraordinary opportunity for more voters to participate in the democratic process.

Vote Today Ohio will use this change to lock down thousands of votes before election day -- critical insurance against the kinds of election day problems that affected our past two presidential elections.

For a 7-day "Golden Week," from Sept 30 - Oct 6, Ohio residents can walk into an early voting center, register to vote, and vote on the spot. This has never been possible before. Why does it matter? Because it takes what is normally a two-step process (register, wait a month, THEN vote) and turns it into a one-step process (register AND vote at the same time). For organizers, that creates a much more efficient way to bring new voters into the process AND lock down their votes, before they can be manipulated, stolen or lost.

During this new Golden Week and throughout the Early Voting window, Vote Today Ohio aims to turn out voters from two kinds of locations -- college campuses, and urban gathering spots. The model is simple: teams of organizers will shuttle students / young people from campuses / urban centers to early voting centers. Organizers will use music and a party atmosphere to draw in new voters -- instead of knock and drag, it's rock and drag.

The Plan in Detail

• 20 Teams : Vote Today Ohio will recruit 12 teams of campus organizers and 8 teams of urban organizers (for a total of 80 organizers). Most teams will have 5 members -- two drivers, two street team organizers, one team leader.

• Preparation: In the days leading up to early voting week, teams will plaster their campuses / urban centers with materials about early voting week. Team leaders will generate publicity in school newspapers, radio stations, and via online campus channels, Facebook, etc.

• Logistics: During early voting week, teams will set up vote ferry stations, where students and unlikely voters can get a ride to a polling station in a Vote Today Ohio van. Two drivers will run continuous ferries to and from polling stations.

• Training and GOTV: Each team will be instruct voters on Ohio new voting rights, rules and regulations. Organizers and van drivers will be given talking points and coached on how to recruit voters as Early Vote Volunteers who can then turn out their social networks. Volunteers will also be re-recruited for continuing persuasion and GOTV activities from Oct 6 - Nov 4.

• Non-van GOTV: Any voter who wants to register but can't vote early will have the opportunity to register and sign up for an absentee ballot.

Target Campuses:

• Ohio State University
• Ohio University
• University of Toledo
• University of Cincinnati
• Kent State
• University of Dayton
• Cuyahoga Community College
• Bowling Green State

Target Urban Areas:

• Columbus
• Cleveland
• Cincinnati
• Dayton
• Toledo

October 9, 2008

Look What You Did During Golden Week

Monday was the final day of Golden Week here in Ohio, and we ROCKED IT!

That was the day we banked just over 800 votes (exact tallies to be confirmed).

That was the day we hit our single biggest total.

That was the day when all our advance work and publicity paid off. It shows the cumulative power of our relentless organizers, drivers, team leaders, and supporters. We built a great organization together, and no matter what curveballs came our way, we persevered with our mission.

That perseverance touched people. As corny as it sounds, our work here hasn't just added thousands of voters. It has changed lives. Original volunteers have decided to stay longer to keep driving early voters. New recruits found over the course of our activities have thrown themselves into the cause. One of our team leaders in Cincinnati called on Tuesday to announce "The amazing volunteers here just won't be stopped!"

Deep down, I think he's why all of us do this work -- to make our democracy work for the people that need it most. That's justice.

So, how does it all add up? What do we have to show for our blood, sweat and tears?

During Golden Week, Vote Today Ohio banked ~3300 votes and 621 voter registrations. Did we make a critical contribution in America's #1 battleground state? Absolutely!

Our 3300 votes were far more than just a drop in the bucket. Consider this: In Franklin County (home to Columbus), 9264 people voted early during Golden Week. Vote Today Ohio vans (and cars and marches) moved 1369 of them to the polls. Yes, we directly moved 14.8 percent of the early vote in Franklin County. It's safe to assume that thousands more heard about Golden Week directly from our work. That's powerful. We were THE game in town.

Plus, we
broke new ground. We asked ourselves a risky question -- could a hard-working and intrepid group of volunteers actually make good on an untested Golden Week voter mobilization program? Would voters respond? Could we pull it off in just three wee weeks? The answers are a resounding YES. Sure, we learned some tough lessons. But we learned them well, and by the end of the week, we had the kind of smooth, professional operation that any campaign would die for. With some strategic tweaks, our Golden Week program will now become a powerful tool.

Now for an important announcement: Over the next few days, our core team will be processing and analyzing this amazing experiment. We're already planning our next steps. We've built something strong and effective, and are compelled to keep it moving. So please stay tuned for our next phase, and don't be surprised if we invite you back!

We should all feel immensely proud of the work we did -- from driving voters to the polls to engaging with them directly, from supporting us with donations to housing our volunteers, to a zillion other things. We've accomplished an historic feat this week. Go ahead. Pat yourself on the back. Celebrate our success!

With deep, deep respect for all you've done this week,
the Vote Today Ohio team

October 6, 2008

Scenes from Early Voting in Ohio

As Ohio reaches the climax of "Golden Week" - the seven day window when Ohioans can register AND vote at the same time - here are a few photos that give a flavor of our activities on the ground.

Vote Today Ohio volunteers were on the scene when the one and only Bruce Springsteen played a special acoustic concert at Ohio State University in Columbus yesterday. In addition to being treated to some of the best of The Boss song catalog, an enthusiastic crowd was called to action: "I want my America back. We need our America back." The Boss movingly implored Ohioans to grab hold of the early voting advantage. With nudging like that, the VTO crew was able to handily sign up dozens of people for rides to the voting center.

Energetic Vote Today Ohio teams have been moving University of Cincinnati students and staff to early voting centers all week. Hundreds have hopped into the VTO vans to make early voting even easier.

In collaboration with the Hip Hop Caucus, VTO teams in Cincinnati hosted "Shout out the Early Vote" on October 3rd - a hip hop and spoken word event in appreciation of early voters. Local artists laid down words and beats for an enthusiastic room at Baba Budan's.

If YOU have any great photos of Golden Week, please send us the top three, at votetodayohio (at) gmail (dot) com.