Sharing Your Work With Others in The Hopium Community/Great Youth Vote Program in AZ
New Poll Has Biden Up 3, GOP Conspirator Gets 22 Years
Thinking about a few things today:
Morning Consult Has Biden Up 44-41 - In their large sample weekly track released this morning, Morning Consult has Biden up 44-41. Last week it was 43-42. So one poll the other day not so good, another poll today, good.
Not going to sweat individual polls here on this site but just wanted to make sure folks understood that there are lots of polls showing Biden with a lead. Yesterday’s post dives into where I think the election is now (all is good, work to do) and this post from the spring offers some tips on how to look at and interpret polling. The bottom line - never allow a single poll, particularly one funded by right-wing sources, to drive your understanding of an election.
A Republican Conspirator Gets 22 Years - Yesterday an important leader of the Republican party-wide effort to overturn an election and end American democracy received a 22-year jail sentence for his crimes. Assume this means that other leading Republicans involved in this rancid effort - Trump, RNC Chair Romney McDaniel, Mark Meadows, Rudy, the dozens already indicted in GA and MI, etc - are not having a good morning, perhaps adding a bit of bourbon to their coffee and checking in, again, with their lawyers.
Sharing Your Work/Highlighting A Great Youth Vote Program in Arizona - A primary reason I began this Hopium project was to better support those of you who’ve chosen to do everything you can to ensure that freedom and democracy prevail here during a time of enormous challenge. I continue to be blown away and deeply inspired by the work you do, the passion you bring, your patriotism and love of country, and your willingness to put your head down and do the work needed for us to win. It has been deeply satisfying and rewarding to be in community with all of you.
A few weeks ago I created a forum for members of the Hopium community to share what they are doing to advance our cause. Check it out and share your story if you haven’t already. It’s a powerful testament to the new spirit afoot in America, and the strength of our pro-democracy, Democratic grassroots (we need a better word than grassroots I think).
One of the entries you’ll find in that forum/thread came from Cathy Sigmon of Civic Engagement Beyond Voting in Arizona. Working with Laura Brill of the Civics Center Cathy and CEBV are pioneering a state-wide model for registering high school students that can be easily replicated in communities across the US. I asked Cathy to give us a report on the project, and here’s what she sent me:
It was a situation where frustration met opportunity. I’m co-founder of a group of political organizers in Arizona that closely follows the state legislature, and after the 2022 election we decided our biggest new project would be youth outreach. But by spring 2023 we hadn’t gained much traction despite the best efforts of a small youth steering committee, and a stellar high school voter registration event spearheaded by one of our students, Sara. It wasn’t enough.
So when I saw Simon Rosenberg’s interview with Laura Brill of The Civics Center and learned about their singular focus on high school voter registration, I reached out to Laura—could we discuss putting something together in Arizona?
Civic Engagement Beyond Voting is 6 years old and has statewide reach, thanks to our laser focus on Arizona’s rowdy and dysfunctional legislature. Our role would be enlisting students to run voter registration drives in their schools, and The Civics Center would train and equip the students with their “Democracy in a Box,” including posters, stickers, and a starter supply of candy. We scheduled 3 Arizona-specific trainings with TCC’s wonderful and patient expert, Molly Ford.
We set a goal of 20 schools for our first drive, during Voter Registration Week (Oct 2-6, 2023), and alerted our thousands of followers. The event MUST be run by students, we emphasized, and asked our followers to be creative enlisting students from families, neighbors, friends, churches—get the message out! To our delight, students stepped up from all corners of the state, from Phoenix and Scottsdale to Lake Havasu, Prescott, Safford, Oro Valley, Tucson, Tempe, and Flagstaff. 29 schools, and dozens of students started navigating the ins & outs of how to register–and pre-register!--their peers (students can register in Arizona if they’ll be 18 yrs old by the Nov 2024 general election). Next step, Molly and our youth organizer, Laura, are guiding them through obtaining school approvals, publicizing, and getting ready for their drives.
CEBV is providing support, encouragement, and “sponsorships”—adult followers who have contributed funding to support the hard work of our youth organizers, and will see the results of “their” school’s registration drive. We were even able to get press coverage of the project, and an interview with our pioneering student, Sara.
Stay tuned—this pilot project is ongoing, and if it works as planned we’re in for Spring 2024 (Cap, Gown & Ballot) and Fall 2024. The goal is to create not isolated events, but a culture of voter registration in schools around Arizona. By golly, it just may work!
How amazing is this? Think you can do something like this where you live?
Cathy provided lots of links to learn more about what they are doing, and I also send along my interview with Laura Brill and her update to the Hopium community last week. As someone who has worked as a political organizer in my career, I’ve been taken by this high school voter reg opportunity - it feels doable, scalable, and necessary. Imagine within a few years if we had student organizers doing voter reg in 50-60-70% of high schools in America? And in many cases seeing the work supported by the professional staff in these schools that oversee community service requirements so these programs become a sustainable and permanent part of the culture of high schools across the US?
It’s a very exciting opportunity. Thanks to Cathy and Laura for sharing it with the Hopium community. And thanks to all of you for doing what are you doing for this great country and our historic democracy.
Keep working hard all - Simon