Background: Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly activity by the Rural Organizing Project. The theory is that small actions can lead to powerful collective results as groups of people gather to complete the same action throughout the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep each KTA easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still manage to complete the KTA each month.
What is the activity?
The upcoming election is a critical opportunity for rural Oregonians to vote our values, from local candidates to four exciting statewide ballot measures that advance human dignity, health, and safety for all Oregonians! Now is the perfect time to make or update your group’s election plans to make sure your neighbors are registered to vote, know about the issues on the ballot, and have the tools to be informed voters!
As your group makes your electoral action plans, fold in neighbor-to-neighbor conversations using and sharing tools like Small Town Actions for a New Democracy (STAND) Election Guides! The STAND Election Guide is written by and for rural Oregonians in both English and Spanish as a real people’s guide to the important decisions we face this year. Instead of slick, shiny mailers, the STAND Guide is a newsprint guide that uses easy-to-understand language to break down who can vote, how to vote, and what the ballot measures will do if passed.
Why this activity?
Rural Oregonians have a long history of building support for the issues we care about during election season and having frank conversations with our neighbors about who is best suited to represent us at all levels of government. This year’s STAND Election Guide is a tool to talk with each other about our values. What do we really care about as a community? What do we most want for our future? It will support your group in having conversations about what can keep us united: a deep love for our communities and a commitment to rebuilding democracy.
How to complete this activity:
1. Gather your group and make an election plan that will build relationships and strengthen your local group for the long haul! Are you going door-to-door to have conversations with your neighbors? Would you like to hold a ballot party so everyone can discuss the issues and fill out ballots together? What about a candidate questionnaire that gets sent to every candidate? Check out these Voter Communication Strategies from ROP for inspiration with tips and tricks on how to communicate with voters in the lead-up to an election.
Does your group want to engage around the election but you’re not sure where to start? Do you want support creating a plan for going door-to-door with STAND Guides? Need access to voter lists in your county? Reach out to your friendly ROP organizer or email email@example.com!
2. Order your group’s STAND Election Guides! Bonus points: decide if your group would like to create and include a flyer or insert. Human dignity groups have also prepared their own county- or city-specific guide to insert into STAND guides that look at candidates and issues specific to your community.
3. Distribute STAND Guides in your community. There are many ways to combine sharing STAND Guides with other voter engagement organizing! Here are a few ideas:
- Go door-to-door to knock and drop STAND Guides on your neighbors’ doorsteps. Make it extra fun by getting your group together. Bring some craft supplies or postcards, and personalize your voter guides with a handwritten note from your group.
- Is your group distributing free food boxes or meals? Do you know the owner of your local coffee shop? Think creatively about spaces you’re already connecting with your neighbors where you can share STAND Guides.
- Mail STAND Guides to your group’s contact list. Then follow up with a postcard thanking them for voting and inviting folks to a post-election conversation about continuing to rebuild democracy.
- Host a ballot party to talk about the issues and fill out your ballots together or bring local candidates together for a candidate forum in person or virtually! The STAND Guide will include suggested questions you can ask candidates.
4. Share your plans with ROP and keep us in the loop so we can share your strategies out with other groups! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you’re up to!