The Million Voters Project: The Next Frontier for Shifting the California Electorate

IMG_3149Demographics are not destiny.  While California leads the nation in demographic change, progressive policy reforms, and powerful organizing, demographic shifts can be interrupted, reversed, or move to the right without sustained outreach, education and mobilization.

The Million Voters Project, an alliance of 6 powerful state-based networks, is gearing up for their first step in strategically transforming the electorate by contacting over 1 million voters and mobilizing over 700,000 of them to the polls in the November 2016 General Election.

Building a Powerful Strategic Collaboration

The Million Voters Project unites California’s strongest state-based community networks with a proven track record of mobilizing the vote of the rising electorate, including African-Americans and Latinos, Asian Pacific Islanders, immigrants, faith-based constituencies, young voters and poor and working class communities.  Since the project was launched last fall, the alliance has grown to six organizations with the addition of CHIRLA, one of California’s most far-reaching immigrant rights’ organizations with a deep capacity and history of civic engagement.

Over the past several months, the 6 partners have developed a coordinated multi-year civic engagement plan that will be driven by the 47 local affiliates of the partner organizations to engage and mobilize new and infrequent voters in 19 counties across the state. This year’s plan includes turning out over 700,000 new and infrequent voters who would otherwise be unlikely to vote.

Million Voters Project Action Fund: Guaranteeing Progressive Choices in November

Voters may be asked to decide on up to 20 ballot initiatives in November. In such a crowded field of petitions, the traditional strategy of campaigns relying on paid signature gathering firms was insufficient on its own. Three proposition campaigns turned to the partners in the Million Voters Project Action Fund to engage communities that are most impacted by the proposed ballot initiatives, but the most often overlooked in the signature gathering process.

In just over one month, over 160,000 signatures were gathered to help three initiatives qualify for the November ballot that will continue the momentum of progressive change in California: the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016  the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, and the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act 

Closing the Voter Registration Gap

Being registered to vote is the first fundamental step in civic participation. There are 7.3 million Californians who are eligible but not registered to vote in California, and they are predominantly people of color, young people, low-income people, and immigrants. This summer, the Million Voters Project partners will launch a multi-year voter registration effort to enlist a quarter of a million voters (3.5% of the voters eligible but not registered to vote) into the electorate by 2018. For phase one of this effort, our goal is to register 75,000 new voters this summer to engage in the November 2016 general election.