Update on the Workshop on Last-minute strategies for reducing voter suppression

Update: w00t, w00t, Voter Suppression Wiki is mentioned in Noam Cohen’s Casting a Ballot, and a Wary Eye in the New York Times — and I’m quoted (“The interesting challenge — the story in progress — is how do we coordinate our efforts”)!   Mom will be proud 🙂

voter suppression wiki logoWe’re roughly at the midpoint of the Voter Suppression Wiki’s Workshop on Last-minute strategies for reducing voter suppression.  After brainstorming and identifying opportunities over the weekend, we’re going to be starting to draft the report today.  Tomorrow, we’ll begin work on the press release as well, and issue both the report and press release Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

We made a huge amount of progress on our Saturday conference call, with some common themes jumping out — in particular, opportunities for community organizations, media, and bloggers to supplement all the work going on.  A good example: Linda talked about how when she discovered she had been removed from the rolls, she found a link on MSNBC that directed her to the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection hotline who helped her get in touch with the right people.  If information like this was featured prominently on the front pages of mainstream media web sites, it could help a lot of voters …

As well as the mainstream media, we’re also focusing on bloggers and online media.  If you look at high-profile political blogs like Daily Kos or Instapundit, or news sites like The Drudge Report or The Huffington Post, there’s absolutely no election protection information available.  Even voting rights blogs like The BRAD BLOG and technology-in-politics sites like techPresident don’t provide this information.

Future Majority, by contrast, is an excellent example of “best practices”, with a handful of well-selected resources in a can’t-miss position right at the top of the page.  Most sites use this valuable screen real estate for advertising and self-promotion; for the last week before the election, it would be great if they prioritized voters’ needs.

What’s really encouraging about these recommendations — and the other ones we’re working on — is that they can be acted on quickly, and so potentially have a significant impact by election day.  Of course, as logical as it seems, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily happen.  It will be a challenge to get above the noise and get anybody to listen to us; we’ll be working on a media outreach plan over the next few days, and with luck will be able to ride the coattails of the Twitter Vote Preport publicity juggernaut.  Still, it’s remarkable progress so far, and if we can keep up the momentum we’ve clearly got a chance to make a difference.

We’ll have another conference call today at 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific time; we’ll post dialin information and a link to the agenda on the Workshop page.  There will be at least one conference call tomorrow, and a media call timed with the report’s release.  Please join us, either on the phone or in the online discussions — and stay tuned!

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, my series of posts on Liminal States, and the other links on our blogging about VSWiki page.  If you’d like to get involved, please introduce yourself, check the help wanted, roll up your sleeves, and jump in!