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Courting the Women’s Vote

But this isn't just about courting the women's vote. It's also about those
21 million women who remain unregistered non-voters. It's the key to a Democratic
win every time, but also critical to winning the presidency and holding both houses of

So it's about time there was an article out there with this kind of headline:
courting non-voters
. That its focus is candidate Clinton doesn't
surprise me at all.

Obviously, the other candidates are working to get the women's
vote too. But let's be honest. No candidate has the the potential to move more
women than Clinton, for very obvious reasons. But Clinton also knows nothing could move
the election more than if she could tap into the 21 million unregistered female voters
that Democrats have not captured in years and years.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton includes a biographical section on her campaign
Web site titled “Mother and Advocate.” On the issues she is called
“A Champion for Women.” She also has a calculator for women to enter
their age, race, education level and home state to learn how much money they
are losing for want of an equal-pay law.

Those are but a few of the campaign's small tips of the hat to women, the
largest segment of the electorate and a crucial component of Clinton's strategy
to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency. “A big piece of
what we're working on is finding ways to reach women,” said Ann Lewis,
a senior adviser to the campaign.

But in addition to targeting women voters, her campaign is going after a
far more elusive goal: women who have not even registered to vote. Surveys
show the former first lady far outstrips her rivals among registered women
voters, but also among unregistered women, a substantial target that includes
21 million people under the age of 44. … ..

courting non-voters

The N.Y. Democrat's presidential campaign is going after a far more elusive
goal than female voters: Women who have not even registered, a target that
includes 21 million under age 44

Kudos to Clinton. There is nothing more important than getting these 21
million women to vote.

I've done significant research on independent female non-voters over many,
many years. One more recent project started out of Firedoglake, which I ran
for Jane Hamsher (with help from Pach and some FDL volunteers), but then I got
into it and ran with it on my own. I've learned a lot about the basics on why
independent single women don't vote.

Of course, Page Gardner and Anna Greenberg and the others at Women’s
Voices Women’s Votes,
a non-partisan, non-profit group, are the experts
on this stuff. They were incredible help. WVWV has pages and pages of invaluable research. Through conference calls and their
website, which provided source material and facts, among other
sources, I was able to put the basics together that is a jumping off point for
anyone who has never thought about the challenge of tapping those 21 million
independent single women (ISW) non-voters.

Oh, and just a word about the term “independent single women,” which
I use throughout the information below. The term most frequently used has always
been “unmarried single women.” When I began working with the FDL volunteers
and Pach there was a lot of talk about how to refer to these women. I have always
had a big problem with the old term, “unmarried single women.” As
if single women should only be referred to as “unmarried,” which in
itself connotes something negative and also “un” about a woman's life if she's not married. Some women actually happily choose to remain
“unmarried.” In the modern era women actually choose to remain independent and single.
I should know, because I was one of those “unmarried” women until
four years ago. So I decided on “independent single women” as having
just about the right tone. It includes unmarried women, divorced women, single
moms and everything in between, including all ages.

This is just a beginning, but it puts the obvious and the not so obvious together.
I don't claim to be an expert like the people over at WVWV,
but I am fully studied and equipped to dissect some of the problems, though
there are many more issues to address than what I've compiled below. Again,
this is just a jumping off point (formal pdf version of the info not included below), but it's invaluable information for those
people in the political world who have never given this subject a second thought.
Believe it or not there are a lot of those types of people out there even today.


Title: Independent Women Staying Informed

Many independent single women (ISW) say they don’t have enough information
to get involved or to be sure about the issues.

Independent, single women (ISW) often don’t seek out this information.

ISW receive their information passively from local news and local papers,
but they rarely go to news for political information.

Younger independent, single women use the web to get their news.


Title: Reaching Independent Single Women Through Media

Independent, single women (ISW) are cynical about the media.

Non-partisan organizations are seen as more trustworthy and unbiased because
they are simply dispensing information not cheerleading for one side or the

Highly partisan material is a turn off for ISW.

Any candidate information should present both people’s views.

Offering sources and web links to check information being given is seen as
crucial to ISW. Again, they are cynical about the media and don’t automatically
trust what they are being told.


Title: GOTWV Design has an Impact

How voting information is presented matters to ISW.

Women in all materials must look like average women and not super models.
This goes for single mom images too. Multi-tasking images also rings true
to women.

ISW are as moved by patriotic images as anyone else.

Images in voter information should be emotional and bring patriotic feelings
to the surface. Duty calls: vote.


Title: Reach ISW with Words

The word “guide” is likely to be effective on voter information
covers, according to WVWV studies.

Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote found that “guide” inspires
women to look inside voter pamphlets to find out more information on the candidates
or initiatives.

ISW want to have information so they can make their own choices and decisions.

When using wording it’s important to impart the voting is powerful.

ISW are smart, so you don’t have to hit them over the head with messaging.


Title: Sloganeering

WVWV offers some guidelines…

“You can’t change America if you don’t vote.”
“Make a change, make a difference, go vote.”
“Your voice matters, your vote makes them listen.”
“Make a choice. Make a difference. Vote.”
“Voting has never been more important.”
“Don’t let someone else make the choice for you. Vote.”

Slogans for single women regarding the duty to their children and the world
they will lead their children could also be effective. As WVWV
research has shown, independent single women are as moved by patriotic slogans
as anyone. That's why the slogans above work. They move through emotion, which
is the most powerful incentive.


Title: Reaching ISW Through Technology

Websites with voter registration links.

Websites with candidate links that offer both Rep. & Dem.

Blogs that post information about candidates vying for office offering contrasts
of records or viewpoints. Again, both views of candidates must be shown. ISW
want to make their own decisions.

Text messaging angles: On Dem mailers provide text message alerts to get
emails. ISW receiving these door knockers may be more likely to respond with
email addresses.

On Election Day, remind ISW it’s time to vote through text messaging.

They’re interested but very busy women. Reaching out could make the


Title: Helping Single Mothers Vote

Provide names of childcare opportunities in neighborhoods and cities.

Recruiting childcare businesses to help on Election Day. It’s good
advertising and a positive contribution to the community.


Title: Transportation to the Polls

Provide information re: local transportation to polls.

Hotline transportation

Help women find where their voting place is.


Title: ID Alert

ISW need to be educated about having an ID with them to vote.

Know your rights: If you do not have an ID you can sign an Affirmation of
Identity form stating that you are who you claim you are. You must then be
allowed to vote like everyone else.

If you are not on the lists you have a legal right to a provisional ballot.

Provide phone number to local Dem office if problems arise.


Title: Where Women Hang Out

Before election set up GOTWV booths to register women at bookstores.

Before election set up tables to hand out information on voting.


Title: Negative Ads and ISW

ISW are cynical about the media so negative ads may work for many people
but they likely turn off ISW.

They have the potential of driving turn out of ISW down.

When negative ads rule, other ways of reaching ISW are critical. Remember,
one-sided ads don’t reach ISW. They want both sides so they can make
their own decision, their own choices.

Democrats have got to find a way to reach ISW when negative ads are the norm
on airwaves.

Negative ads could cause ISW to tune out.


Title: Don’t Be Intimidated – Voter Suppression

You are the voter, so you have the power.

Look out for off duty police officers intimidating voters, especially in
minority zones, as well as police vehicles.

If the polling place is open and you are registered to vote, you have an
inalienable right to do so.

If the machines are down, officials are obligated to provide a paper ballot.

If you are in line by the time polls close, even if the line is halfway down
the street, officials are obligated to let you vote.

Any irregularities should be reported immediately. There is always a national

Make sure local legal number is available so women can report intimidation,
for instance: 1-888-DEM-VOTE, which was used in 2006.

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