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Old-Fashioned Grassroots Organizing Meets Smart Phone Technology

LOS ANGELES – Eighty grassroots organizers from California Calls, an alliance of 31 statewide grassroots organizations, will be knocking on doors in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties spreading the word about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, using a Smart Phone canvassing tool that eliminates the use of the traditional clipboard and paper and is designed to collect data at the doors while tracking responses in real time.

Four organizations from California Calls will use the devices and reach out to nearly 30,000 voters in both counties. The organizations include Inner City Struggle, Community Coalition and Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) in Los Angeles, and Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) in Ventura County.

The smart phone campaign is part of a larger outreach program designed to reach out 100,000 voters in a four-week period. Organizers can see the data that this is entered in real-time, sort those results into graphs and export them to other systems.

“Using smart phones is the obvious next step for us in making organizing more efficient,” said Karla Zombro, field director for California Calls. “Old-fashioned organizing, especially phone calls and face-to-face conversations, is most effective in building relationships with infrequent voters and inspiring them to become civically engaged. Technology, such as our high-speed phone system, microtargeting, and now smartphones allows us to maintain the grassroots personal touch with voters, but reach a much larger scale of people.”

The outreach campaign, one of the largest such coordinated activities in the state, consists of calling voters and knocking on doors in an effort to reach out to unlikely voters in rural, suburban and urban precincts in the Bay Area, Central Valley, Central Coast, Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire and San Diego County.

Enrollment for the new healthcare coverage plan began on October 1, 2013. California Calls, with additional funding from the California Endowment, is experimenting with new ways to make organizing smarter. Text messaging voters using cell phones collected during the campaign will also be used as a method of staying in contact with younger voters, in particular.

The alliance engages with voters two to three times a year around the premise that government is critical and benefits the lives of our base of supporters – working families, immigrants, youth and people of color.

Members of the media are invited to accompany volunteers on door-to-door walks.

WHAT: Door-to-door voter outreach to educate and encourage 29,112 voters to enroll into the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in neighborhoods in East and South Los Angeles and Oxnard in Ventura County using Smart Phones.

WHO: 80 grassroots leaders from SCOPE, InnerCity Struggle, Community Coalition and CAUSE, four of California Calls member organizations.

WHERE: Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.

WHEN: October 30 to November 10, 2013


 California Calls is a growing alliance of 31 grassroots, community-based organizations spanning urban, rural and suburban counties across the state. We engage, educate and motivate new and infrequent voters among young people, from communities of color, and from poor and working class neighborhoods to make California’s electorate reflect our state’s diverse population. Through our bottom-up approach, we are organizing voters most impacted by budget cuts and deteriorating public services in support of systemic, progressive solutions to our state’s fiscal crisis. Working together, and including those who are often left out of policy decisions, we believe we can reclaim the California Dream of equality, opportunity and prosperity for all Californians.