Last month, I discussed the importance of citizen activism as a part of a healthy democracy. It’s really important that people not only feel like their votes matter, but that their voices are heard and their participation is welcome! There are so many ways to participate in our democracy beyond the vote (although that is crucially important and I encourage everyone to use a website like the League of Women Voters’ Vote411 to make their voting plan for this election!). Organize NH is an example of an amazing organization that is motivating volunteers, reaching out to voters, and educating people on how and why it’s important to vote this November.
I learned about Organize NH through my experiences with Swing Blue Alliance. Organize NH is working with Swing Blue Alliance as well as many other activist organizations to create a “coordinated campaign,” which is a fancy way of saying to all these groups, “Hey, let’s stay on the same page, work together, and not reinvent the wheel or duplicate efforts unnecessarily.” Organize NH’s focus is on New Hampshire politics specifically, which has several important, toss-up races in this election cycle, on both the national and state levels. These races include a US Senate seat and both US House of Representative seats, and many state-specific races such as governor and the state legislature. The races in New Hampshire could very well decide which party controls one (or both!) houses of Congress. The US Senate race in particular, between incumbent Senator Maggie Hassan (Democrat) and challenger Don Bolduc (Republican) has been receiving national attention, money, and volunteer efforts on both sides, and in recent days, this Senate race has tightened even further.
I’ve been driving up to NH to canvass with Organize NH, and it has been a magical experience. I have a special place in my heart for the people of New Hampshire. I’m from Maine, and we have a very similar independent mindset to the “Live Free or Die” Granite Staters. I grew up with Republican US Senators, Democratic US House of Representatives, and an Independent governor (I still love you, Angus King!), and so I understand the mentality of judging a politician by their personal integrity, experience, and positions, and not just the party. What I love about canvassing is listening to other people—hearing their stories, concerns, and questions—and encouraging them to make their voices heard in this election. It’s truly been an honor and privilege to be invited into so many people’s homes just to listen and learn about the things that are most important to them and their families.
An exciting and unexpected treat was getting a motivational talk by US Senator Maggie Hassan herself after one of our canvassing sessions! In the video I took, Senator Hassan talks about the importance of deep canvassing, because it is a way of “letting people know we care, we’re here to listen, to talk about what’s important to Granite Staters, and it’s an important way to counter misinformation… just being you at the doors makes a huge difference in a democracy!” In 2016, Senator Hassan won by just 1,017 votes, what she calls a “field margin”—as in, the difference was made by volunteers canvassing “the field.” In New Hampshire elections, every voice and every vote matters, and individual volunteers and their efforts can make a difference!
Check out ways to get involved at Organize NH! There are in-person opportunities to canvass, at-home opportunities to man the voter protection hotlines, and training to be poll observers who will help ensure that all eligible voters can cast their votes this November! It’s a fulfilling and meaningful experience to help support democracy and your fellow citizens’ right to express their voices.
Thank you, Organize NH, for making the world a better place!