Tell Your Montana Friends: We Care About Your Democratic Vote

The Montana Special Election on May 25th has national importance.  We have the power to  get out the vote whether or not we live in the state by informing our friends and encouraging them to vote.


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This seat in the House of Representatives became vacant when Ryan Zinke joined the new administration.  The Special Election to fill the seat  is this Thursday, May 25th.  It was expected to be a safe seat for the Republican, but Democrat Rob Quist, strongly backed by Bernie Sanders, is running close.  So far, there are only two questionable polls: one shows Quist leading, the other  Republican Greg Gianoforte.

An upset win here will empower Democrats in Georgia 6 and South Carolina 5 on June 20th.  And the momentum can carry into 2018 with stronger candidates and better fundraising.

And  it will send a clear message to the the Republicans in Congress in a language that politicians understand – votes.  Our simmering anger is not confined to blue states, and can produce substantial votes in their backyards. There are consequences for their action on Health Care and support for this administration.



It is easy to assume that because you vote, people in your circles of family and friends do too.  However, election results  indicate the opposite.  The early voting in Montana indicates a turnout on par with the midterm, with 47% of those eligible casting ballots.   Surveys show that there are substantial numbers of nonvoters in every demographic group, and consistently reveal that people over-report their intention to vote.

With over half the people not voting,  there is a good chance that some of your friends just aren’t that all connected to the election. Many people just don’t have the time or interest  to invest in following politics. However, showing that it is important enough to you to take the time to write them along with some information, as in this post can make all the difference.  A large scale study of Facebook users in 2010 demonstrated that our friend’s actions affect us a lot around voting.

And if your friends have voted or intend to vote, your show of concern can empower them to encourage voting  in their circles either with this link, or in day to day interactions with people that share their values.



On the search bar at the top of your Facebook page, type “My friends in Montana.” (You can also search your phone contacts for area code 406. )

It is likely that these friends share your political preference.  If you are not sure, you can check their profiles before writing.

If you have the time, starting  a conversation would be best.  Or you could just send the link to this post in a message with something like: “I wanted you to know that I really care about this election.”  Even better, you can start a conversation

Connecting with residents of the state is most important, but you can also use Facebook for finding friends that have friends in Montana.  Put “My friends from Montana”  in the search bar.   And you can also  put “Montana” in the search bar and scroll down to “ People connected to Montana.”  You could send them a  link with a note saying  d“I noticed that you know people in Montana. I thought this might be of interest.”

And of course, sharing the link to this article on your favorite social media always helps.

These actions may take you out of your comfort zone with your friends, but weigh that against the continual discomfort of feeling powerless as an enraged bystander.  My own experience has shown me that takings risks is important for political change.  In the early days of the gay movement, some of us took a big risk by coming out and breaking the existing norm. But it was well worth it.

I’d appreciate hearing whether whether you followed up or not on the suggestions.

Influencing Your Circle

The November election will likely be exciting until the end.  A Trump tailspin could give the Democrats control of the Senate and maybe even the House.  A  Trump recovery could ….

Circle Voting is a way to increase our impact on the election through our circles of family and friends.  You have much more power than you may think. Here’s why:


A few days before the November 2012 election, the CBS News poll found that 73% of those of  voting age said they would “definitely vote.”  However, among  thevoting age population,  only 54% actually voted.  Overstatements like this are common in all election polls.

Sure, some intended to vote, but didn’t get around to it.   However,  most of the 19% were feeling the social desirability of voting when answering.  If it is so strong among people talking to a stranger,  you can bet that most of your non-voting friends would want you to believe that they are regular voters.  There are substantial numbers of non-voters in every demographic group, yours is no exception.


Based on campaign expenditures and plans, it is likely the presidential outcome  will revolve around these states:  North Carolina,  Pennsylvania, Ohio,  Florida, and possibly Arizona.  If either campaign implodes, more states will be in play, but these states will become the firewall.

Control of the Senate will be decided in a few states.   The Democrats need to pick up 4 seats and the White House, or 5 seats without it.   Based on polls, etc, they are expected to pick up seats in  Illinois, Wisconsin,and Indiana, so the fulcrum of of Senate control is in these three close states:  Ohio, Pennsylvania, and  New Hampshire. And Florida is not far behind    Control of the House will come down to about 30 seats; more on this later.

For now,  think about your family and friends in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida  They might not realize just how important is THEIR VOTE.


Research on social networks show that people share similar beliefs with those in their circles.  And people are influenced by the actions of others in their networks in difficult changes like stopping smoking and losing weight..     Think about how you have been  influenced by others in talking actions around re-cycling, diet, use of pronouns….

Here are some possible actions:

  1. Learn how to  talk to friends about voting, so they can tell you their hesitations.  If your state or district is not contested now, it will be soon.  And if your friends are motivated voters, encourage them to spread their influence.
  2. Keep your eye out for friends in the battleground states.  Let them know how important their vote is.  Offer help them with registration, absentee voting. Remind them to vote.
  3. Share your experiences here and keep this going.

Hate the Choices? Here are Reasons to Register and Vote Anyway!!

register 1 in 4 graphic\

The registration deadlines are coming soon for the 1 in 4 nationally that are  not registered to vote. Many are in communities that want to change the system, but are turned off by electoral politics.  This is a fresh way to look at voting for them. And at the end is a section for motivated voters that want to influence the election outcome.

Here are some of the common reasons given for not voting along with a suggested response.

I don’t like the candidates. I’ll vote when there is someone I can trust. 

In each election, voting is a choice of the alternatives availCircleVoting_final__notext 4able.  One of these choices will be elected.  Elections have consequences.  If you don’t make the choice, you choose not to exercise your power in the situation.    There is a lot at stake in this election regarding our climate, our rights, and our safety.  The sides are very clear.  By not voting, you are by default choosing the winner.


My vote doesn’t matter; it won’t change the election.

Actually one vote has decided the outcome in some local elections.   Also, the presidential  election in 2000 was decided by a few hundred votes in Florida.

More importantly, think of voting as an action you are taking with your friends and your community. Your voting will encourage others to vote, and all of our votes can make the difference. 

In our country’s history, the women’s movement and civil rights movements have fought at great cost for the right to vote.   Today, the Republican party under the guise of protecting the vote from virtually non-existent fraud, has passed laws to make it harder for minorities to vote.

None of this would be happening if your vote didn’t matter.

I don’t want to get jury dutyThat is only an issue in Alabama and Mississippi.  It used to be that jurors were chosen from he voting lists.  Now each state merges many lists including voter registration, driver’s licenses, state id’s, ….. This means that registering to vote won’t increase your chances.

If more people didn’t vote, the system would have to change 

In 2000, George W. Bush won with just 25% of the eligible voters. He lost the popular vote, but won the electoral vote  by winning Florida by a few votes.  Certainly that is not a landslide or a mandate. Yet, that didn’t stop him from enacting a large tax cut to benefit the wealthy, nor getting  us into an unnecessary war that continues to cost money and lives.

They system is rigged; my vote won’t get counted

A truly rigged election would be near impossible.  Each state controls its own election and has its own unique system.  And within the states, the votes are counted at the county level.  A lot of people would need to be involved in this rCircleVoting_final_notext 1igging and they would have to keep the secret.  The professional spying agencies couldn’t even control the fact that they were spying on us from coming out. (Thank you Edward Snowden).

And why bother to rig it when our passive electorate  can be controlled by just money?   Check out this video.   There have been many efforts to change that, e.g. Circle Voting, but they all need people to step into the power they could have as voters.

My state is not close. My vote won’t matter.

The media is obsessed with the presidential contest, but there are many more races  down on the ballot where your vote can make a difference. And many states have vital referenda.

Your vote now also influences future elections.  Before running, potential candidates look to past elections results to determine if they would have a chance.

If the race in your state isn’t close, apps are available to help you trade your vote with a friend in a close state that wants to support a third party. Search “trading votes.”

It is too much trouble to vote

Think of the amount of time you spend recycling.   Registering and voting may take up to an hour, depending on the state, and  you are taking a much more important action toward reducing the major polluters,…. as well as many other issues.

Depending who wins, you could be spending many many hours protesting the policies of the winner, let alone the cost to our lives and to future generations.

Think of this as taking a little time to support your values and like-minded friends.  We are identifying with an independent movement  to elect politicians that  really serve the people.

And by holding this vision and taking action, we are helping it manifest. Check out Put a Little Magic in your vote.


Click here to register.   Most states require only 30 days of residence in the state prior to Election Day and some states even less.  If you’ve moved recently you need to re-register.

In most states the minimum Voter ID requirement for proof of residency is   just one of  the following with a current address:   bank statement, utility bill, pay check,  or government document,…  In some states that is needed for registration and in others for voting.

You can find each state’s rules here:

A good site for registering, verifying your registering, and obtaining an absentee ballot is:


And if you are a motivated voter, spread the word, and consider sharing this directly with  your like-minded friends that live in the key states for President and control of the Senate, especially Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina,  Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

On Facebook, you can discover your friends in Pennsylvania by entering in the top search bare “Friends in Pennsylvania,” and then click on “see all” below the first few.

To keep connected on FB, “like” Circle Voting and join the Circle Voting group.

About Murray

This blog is written by Murray Edelman.

  • Currently consults with media clients on politics and surveys
  • President of the Board of the Naraya Cultural Preservation Council 
  • Visiting Distinguished Professor at Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University (2005-6)
  • Head of exit poll and projections for a pool of ABC,CBS,CNN,FOX, NBC, and the AP (1993-2003)
  • Past President (2000-01) of the American Association of Public Opinion
  • NYAAPOR Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Co-founder of the Faerie Circle (1975-8) and part of  the Radical Faeries that followed.
  • Inductee  in Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame (2008) for co-founding and leading the city of Chicago Gay Liberation Movement (1969-72)
  • Doctorate from University of Chicago

Put a Little Magic in Your Vote

This video was made in 2012.  I was exploring the role of intention in voting.

The role of intention is important in manifesting changes in our life.  This is the basis of many spiritual practices and also visualization practices in psychology.  The video uses these ideas.

Given the state of modern campaigning, it is hard to see voting as a positive act.  But the constitution is very clear what “we the people” elect our government; we just don’t feel that power.   But if we start feeling that power and acting from it,……

We have great stories of personal recovery from the depths of despair. They all start from taking some level of responsibility for their condition and then changing their behavior.  As a people we need to break this addiction to our victimhood.

Anyway, the video is about that, but without the rant. – Circle Voting in San Francisco in 2011

I conceived, funded and hired software developer, Jesse Oliver Sanford, to create an Independent Grassroots Voter Guide for the 2011 San Francisco Municipal Election for all races on the ballot.   We were not able to get enough adoption prior to the election to justify doing procedure again.

Brigade, financed by Sean Parker with several million dollars, followed in these footsteps for the 2015 SF election.

You can see the site at

Below is the home page.

VoteSF home

Each candidate for each race on the ballot had a page for comments by friends.


Using Social Media to Transform Politics — Video

This video lays out the vision of Circle Voting as of 2011. It talks of Citizens United and the way that money influences campaigns.  And it suggests how people can come together and counteract the power of money.  You can also see this analyst is the comic that we did earlier.

Transforming politics with Circle Voting –Comic

CV Political Comic