Calling for Democracy; Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out in 2020, Part One: Sort Your Contacts

Calling for Democracy; Your Guide to Talking to Friends and Family About Voting Trump Out in 2020, part one: Sort Your Contacts.

We at OTYCD released the full Calling for Democracy post yesterday. We promised to break it into more manageable chunks. This is one of several.

Successful calling for democracy involves several steps, and might involve more than one follow-up to ensure that your friends and family carry through and vote for Joe Biden and the Democrats.

You’ll want to have the following tools at hand:

The website for I Will Vote:


FiveThirtyEight’s guide to How to Vote in the 2020 Election:


The phone number for I Will Vote’s hotline:


…and a document of some sort–maybe it’s digital, maybe it’s paper–you’ll use to track your efforts. It should include columns that clearly label:

Who you contacted;

When you contacted them (the day, date, and maybe the time);

The results of the call;

Whether and if you need to call them again after finding an answer to a question or solving a problem they have.

This document should reflect the fact that you need to check in with everyone again in late October, on Election Day Eve, and maybe Election Day itself to make sure they followed through with their voting plans and haven’t hit any obstacles.

Let us stress this fact: If the person has a question you can’t answer, or some other issue arises that you’re not sure how to resolve, STOP and call the I Will Vote hotline for help (833.336.8683). Do! Not! Guess! If you’re not completely sure about how to proceed, CALL AND CHECK.

The first thing you need to do, before calling or texting anyone, is to sort your contacts.

Look through your list of contacts (or your address book, or your Rolodex–whatever system you use to organize them) and place each name in one of these categories:

Known Democrats who vote often or always

Likely Democrats whose voting records aren’t clear to you

Never-Trump Republicans who vote often or always

Never-Trump Republicans whose voting records aren’t clear to you

Known Independents who vote often or always

Likely Independents whose voting records aren’t clear to you

People whose voting records aren’t clear to you, but who you think would welcome your offer of help with voting for Biden and other Democrats

Do not bother with committed Trump voters.

Only focus on friends and family who fit one of the seven descriptions above.

Once you’ve finished that sort, perform a second sort to identify the people in each group who live close enough for you to help in person if need be.

IMPORTANT: Don’t leave out American friends and family members living outside the country. You can rely on Democrats Abroad, which helps those folks cast a ballot.

The Democrats Abroad site is linked below, and the front page of the site features a work-around to access voter information pages of theirs that have been geo-blocked, aka made inaccessible to people living in certain geographic areas:


IMPORTANT: Don’t leave out friends and family who are away at college or university. The Campus Vote Project’s State Student Guides can help. It’s linked directly below.


Now you’re ready to communicate directly with someone you know.

We at OTYCD recommend starting with those you listed in the “Known Democrats Who Vote Often or Always” category–the people with whom you’re likely to have the most success–and working your way down until you’ve spoken with everyone who fits a category.

Before you try them, sit and think about the person, and think about when and how they prefer to be reached: Text? Email? Phone? DM?

Remember, your role here is to make voting for Biden and down-ballot Democrats as convenient for THEM as possible.

For example, if you’re not a phone person, but they are, do what you need to do to place yourself in a frame of mind that will let you talk over the phone, and give yourself time to decompress afterward.

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

I Will Vote and its hotline are provided by the Democratic National Committee. The hotline is staffed by volunteers.

There’s no direct way to earmark funds for the I Will Vote service, but you can put I Will Vote in the memo line of a personal check.

Checks should be made out to the Democratic National Committee and mailed to:

Democratic National Committee

PO Box 96585

Washington DC 20077-7242

The DNC also accepts donations via ActBlue:


FiveThirtyEight is the brainchild of Nate Silver.