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.

WHY THIS ELECTION IS SO IMPORTANT

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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.

 

WHY YOUR MESSAGES TO YOUR FRIENDS MATTER

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.

 

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO

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.

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