From Start to Finish

Rural Group Supports Voters from Start to Finish on Election Day
Building Relationships Translates into Voter Turnout
 
Scappoose, Oregon – In a year where much has been said about the value of community organizing and small towns, rural Oregon has a story of its own to tell about both…
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Nov 2008 KTA: Breathe & Debrief: Life after the election

This month’s Kitchen Table Activism is to relax, talk to one-another, celebrate, and think about this past year and what the future holds by hosting a post-election debrief.  The focus could be a small gathering for your core leaders, a party with the whole Human Dignity Group, or a special gathering to welcome those new faces you met this year into your group. Whether you were on the campaign trail 24/7, organized a ballot forum, or spent the last few months doing issue work – we all deserve some space to take notice of how things have changed since January. 

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Join ROPnet!

ROPNET is the official listserve of the Rural Organizing Project. It is a secure list to the extent that all names added are involved with the work of the ROP. Our email listserve was one of the first to use email to organize when it was launched in the early 1990s. ROPNET is intended first and foremost to break the isolation that rural human rights activists can experience.

By signing up for ROPNET you’ll get timely updates and action items for progressive issues relevant to rural Oregon communities.  We generally send two to three e-mails per week and promise not to share your e-mail or personal information.

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Elections

Get the full report on ROP’s role in November 2008’s rural vote.

 

Rural Group Supports Voters from Start to Finish on Election Day

Building Relationships Translates into Voter Turnout
 
Scappoose, Oregon – In a year where much has been said about the value of community organizing and small towns, rural Oregon has a story of its own to tell about both.
 
Rural Organizing Project started their organizing for Election Day nearly a year ago. As one of Oregon’s only grassroots organizations that engage in non-partisan voter engagement strictly in small town and rural communities, ROP began educating and mobilizing volunteers in January through their network of 62 local human dignity groups.
 
An initial statewide gathering of 112 rural community leaders in Hood River in April 2008 grew to a voter mobilization effort that has included more than 412 volunteers in all 36 of Oregon’s counties. These ROP volunteers have knocked on 35,110 doors, made 6365 phone calls, held 33 ballot measure forums reaching 871 people, and distributed 65,000 voters guides by and for small town voters.
 
According to Ann Kneeland, a local leader with ROP member group Seeking Out Democracy in Junction City, “We’ve been around as a group for 4 years now, but it’s really in the last year that we’ve made the most gains in terms of contacts with the community.”
 
Like Seeking Out Democracy, another ROP member group Human Dignity Advocates in Prineville began contacting the community in May using a door-to-door survey that asked neighbor to weigh in on contentious issues of the day. This listening to neighbors approach allowed the local group to learn about the concerns in their town while also taking the first step in a relationship that carries on through Election Day. Over 400 neighbors were surveyed, sent a personal thank you note, and then invited to a community ballot measure discussion in mid-October. The group’s final contact was hand delivering voters guides with a personal greeting from their local group to 1000 households representing over 10% of the population of Prineville.
 
"I was really expecting a lot of door slamming," said Kathy Paterno, Human Dignity Advocates leadership team member and ROP Board member, "But there wasn’t a lot of animosity at all. The intention was to have conversations with the community – to give them a chance to talk about the issues. There were people from the far left to the far right. They seemed happy to give their opinion. This election was different than others because there were a lot of people disgruntled with the way things are. We felt people were paying greater attention."
 
This attention from local community volunteers and persistence from the Rural Organizing Project is paying off. While voter turnout rates will not be completely known until after Election Day, as of Tuesday morning, 85% of ROP contacts had returned their ballots. This compares with a statewide voter return rate of 55% on November 2nd according to the latest figures from the Secretary of State.
 
 
Rural Organizing Project is Oregon’s grassroots organization that is moving democracy forward in rural Oregon. For more information, go to www.rop.org.

 


 

ROP’s 2008 STAND Voter Guide

In the 2008 Elections, Oregon’s Ballot saw more than 10 measures.  Many of these initiatives would have taken us a step further away from real democracy.  True democracy and freedom requires an educated population whose basic needs are cared for, not an incarcerated one, protection of workers rights through strong unions and respect for the civil rights of all.  Our government of, by, and for the people demands the resources to realize this vision of democracy, not tax loopholes and restrictions that hamstring government from doing its job. 

ROP’s STAND Voter Guide was a key tool used by rural Oregonians around the state to educate their neighbors on these ballot measures and expand democracy in the process.

Download ROP’s STAND Voter Guide in English and Spanish.

 


 

Mobilizing our communities for Freedom and Democracy on November 4th and beyond! 

Join ROP’s Freedom Voters Campaign  Visit www.FreedomVoters.com

Download these materials and begin engaging your community members today:
Freedom Voters Guide
Freedom Survey
Freedom Pledge Cards

Freedom Petition

Study Circles for Freedom &  Democracy: ROP member groups kicked off the 2008 Election Year with study circles to ground us in the challenges and opportunities in 2008.  Check out Naomi Wolf’s Letter to a Young Patriot.  Start a study group in your community or share your reflections with the ROP.  


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Make Your STAND Guides Stand Out!

ROP’s STAND Voter Guide will help your neighbors sort through all the confusing measures we will face on the ballot this fall.  But how can we make sure that voters don’t just toss these into the junk mail pile with the mass of other campaign literature that is filling all our mailboxes these fall?  Read on for tips on how to make your STAND guides stand out.

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Co$t of War campaigns & on going work

ROP member groups have a long history of peace and anti-militarism organizing.

During WWII, African American soldiers would wave a Double V for victory abroad over the Nazis and victory at home over racism. Similarly today, while we are working to stop the war in Iraq, there is a domestic front to that war being waged here at home on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community. All of this in the name of "security."

Here are some of our current, on-going, and past campaigns to create peace abroad and peace in our own communities at home.

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President Obama once said “It’s not enough to get out of Iraq; we have to get out of the mindset that led us into Iraq.” Zinn asks us to identify that mindset – he suggests that it is imperialism, violence and the unrestricted free market that got us into our current mess – war and the economy. “We want a country that uses its resources, its wealth, and its power to help people, not to hurt them. That’s what we need,” Howard Zinn, (Changing Obama’s Mindset, May 2009 The Progressive)

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Oct 2008 KTA: Get Out the Vote

This month’s Kitchen Table Activism is to make your local group’s plan to Get Out The Vote (GOTV). Over 20 communities already have ballot measure forums scheduled with ROP – that is amazing! These forums are great ways to get in depth information to a smaller group of people that we hope will stay involved with our groups after election day, but we also need plans to reach large number of people with the compelling and concise information that is in the ROP STAND Voter Guide.

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ORGANIZE to End the War!

Sometimes it can seem like the threats to our democracy are too steep to overcome, but the only way to strengthen what we have is to exercise our voice, and organize. Yes, democracy is about voting, but it’s also about holding our elected representatives accountable to our beliefs and priorities year round. One of those issues that our representatives have NOT taken action on is the Unending War in Iraq.

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