Announcing a last-minute workshop on “Last-minute strategies for reducing voter suppression”

voter suppression wiki logoHeading into the last ten days before the election, it’s clear that is there are still huge opportunities to reduce voter suppression.  How to make best use of this time?  There are so many groups doing great stuff here that there are lots of opportunities for synergy; at the same time, there’s also a lot of redundant effort, and lack of awareness of key assets like the 1-866-OUR-VOTE/1-888-VE-Y-VOTA hotlines.  With so much going on in every state, use of social networks combined with community-based online/offline communication and media strategies could make a huge difference.

If we had a year to plan for this, and an infinite budget, it would be great to get everybody together at a conference so that people could make connections and find out what’s going on, with a goal of getting teams in place to make progress on various initiatives.  Oh well, maybe next time.  For now, we’ll do it in cyberspace.

Announcing …

The cyber-workshop on
Last-minute Strategies to Reduce Voter Suppression
October 25-28, 2008

Opening phone call: October 25, 1 PM PDT

On-air discussion at Forward Forum: October 26 6-7PM PDT
(live chat to follow)

Facebook event here — invite your friends!

From the workshop’s main page:

This wiki page is the headquarters, and will have information about other discussions going on — conference calls, chat rooms, blog threads, other wikis. Our goal is to come out of the session with concrete, actionable ideas that can make a difference in the short time between now and election day.

A sampling of the topics currently on the list give an idea of some of the already-identified opportunities are — and how the wiki page acts as a centralized resource for information for people taking part:

  1. increasing awareness of the 1-866-OUR-VOTE/VE-Y-VOTA Election Protection hotline and other election-day resources. In a discussion thread, indiandi commented “I asked several people (friends and family in IN, MI and OH) what they would do if they had trouble voting — AND NO ONE HAD AN ANSWER!” This also applies to state-specific informaiton like the NAACP and ACLU Virginia hotlines…. How can we supplement the other awareness work going on?
  2. getting the word out more effectively and quickly about action alerts like North Carolina “straight party” ballots?
  3. better leveraging existing high-quality assets like New America Media’s Voter education PSAs (available in multiple languages with state-specific information) and the ACLU’s Virginia Voter cards?
  4. what are good ways for students to get involved, both to help preserve students’ voting rights and more broadly? discussion thread here; also being discussed on Facebook

There are a host of other topics too, including follow-ons to the EPIC e-Deceptive campaign practices report from earlier this week and a question that came up on a mailing list about how election-monitoring projects like Twitter Vote Report and PBS/YouTube’s Video Your Vote can help reduce voter suppression, not just document it.  The list will evolve quickly; if there’s some topic you think should be there, please suggest it!

We’ll officially start things off with a conference call at 2 PM Pacific time (5 PM Eastern) on Saturday; dial-in information will be available on the wiki page.  Sunday, I’ll be on Forward Forum discussing social network activism and voter suppression with John Quinlan and Harry Waisbren; we’ll use some of this time to talk about the workshop and hot topics, and follow it up with a live chat of some form.  There are likely to be other events too as things unfold; as the wiki says, details TBD.

I’ve helped organized quite a few workshops, at conferences like Computers, Freedom and Privacy as well as with the Ad Astra project at Microsoft, and when things click it’s astonishing how valuable they can be — and how quickly they can have impact.  The conditions for this one are ideal, with a lot of energy on the issue, great existing work and connections to build on, and a very diverse group of participants.

Please join us!


The Voter Suppression Wiki is a non-partisan hub of information and action around efforts to suppress votes in the 2008 U.S. elections. For more information, please see our strategy and talking points, Baratunde Thurston’s launch post on Jack and Jill Politics, and my series of posts on Liminal States.  If you’d like to get involved, please introduce yourself, check the help wanted, roll up your sleeves, and jump in!