No On 9 Campaign Field Strategy

by Thalia Zepatos, Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon


In September 1992, we set a goal of identifying 100,000 Oregon voters' positions on Measure 9 through Voter Identification (Voter ID) phone banks. At a statewide training organized by OUTPAC in Eugene, we presented a plan and methodology that was adopted by many local campaigns around the state (although not all had the resources to take on the phone ID program).

We tested several phone scripts - we called high support areas of Portland and solicited contributions and volunteers from among our supporters; we also tested a persuasion script. After several trials, we adopted a simple three question ID script that did not identify the caller as being from the No on 9 campaign because our tests showed that skewed the results.

Voters were coded "1" - voting No on 9; "2" - Undecided; "3" voting Yes on 9. By election day, more than 138,000 total voters (including approximately 50,000 "1's") were identified in Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, Marion, Jackson, Tillamook, Hood River, Deschutes, Lane, Benton and Coos counties.



The next step of our program was to re-contact the "2's", the undecided voters. We felt the best strategy to counter the anonymous literature drops by the OCA was making personal contact between our supporters and undecided voters.

We organized a door-to-door canvass operation. In the Tri-county metropolitan area, volunteers from Portland were sent to augment local volunteer efforts to visit undecided voters in Washington and Clackamas Counties (both counties are largely suburban, and are the second and third most populous counties in Oregon). Volunteers carried voter lists with the names of "2's" and uncontacted voters highlighted. Voter lists were ordered in "walking order," used first on the phone bank, and then photocopied for volunteers to take door-to-door. More than 1100 volunteers working in pairs canvassed in the metropolitan area during the final four weekends; they carried a persuasion piece of literature that reinforced media messages currently showing on TV.

Literature was provided to regional campaigns for their canvass programs. We encouraged local activists unable to canvass rural districts to re-call the "2's" with a persuasion script.

Persuasion Mail:

As money became available, we decided to send some late mailings to targeted groups of swing voters ( identified in our polls).

Get Out The Vote

We made a strategic decision to continue persuading voters until the Sunday before election day, delaying most Get Out The Vote activities until Monday, for the following reasons: Regional GOTV strategies included: Tri-County GOTV strategies included: In Washington and Clackamas counties, poll checking activities during the day allowed us to cross names of "1's" off of lists before sending the lists to our 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. phone banks. (Note that alphabetical lists were ordered and names of "1's" manually highlighted by volunteers in order to facilitate the matching of alphabetical lists with poll books, which are organized in alphabetical order.)

In key precincts, we were able to track specific results of our efforts: overall turnout of voters was 67% by 1:00 pm in one sample precinct, in which 78% were No on 9 voters.

GOTV efforts were augmented by 20,000 free GOTV phone calls which were donated by Telemark Services. Calls were made into targeted precincts in Multnomah and Lane Counties. (Lane County is the 5th most populous county in Oregon.) Lawn Signs: 25,000 No on 9 lawn signs were printed and distributed during the campaign. Signs were sold for $3.00 in high support areas (Portland) in order to subsidize low-cost or free distribution of signs to other areas of the state. Signs were given out for free in targeted swing areas.

Recommendations For Future Campaigns:

For more information or to request a complete Fight the Right Action Kit, call NGLTF at 202-332-6483, TTY 202-332-6219.