To elect Beto as our next governor, we are organizing the largest Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign in Texas history.
Knocking on a few doors and making a few calls on Election Day won’t be enough. To pull off the historic voter turnout we need to win this election, it’s going to take more.
It’s going to take disciplined, non-stop, and high-responsibility work from tens of thousands of volunteers across Texas in the last six weeks of the election.
That’s why we’re asking you to commit to being a volunteer organizer and trainer from October 3 all the way up to the moment polls close on November 8, Election Day. We’re counting on you to help us manage the massive flood of first-time volunteers who will soon join our campaign to knock on doors and make calls.
But first, we need to explain our plan to win.
Most campaigns will never share their campaign strategy beyond their most senior staff. Our campaign is different.
We need volunteers to take on high-responsibility roles in executing our plan to win – so we’re publishing our GOTV strategy in full detail here for anyone to read.
Before we get to how we’re going to win, let’s talk about why some people see us as underdogs. It starts with a bit of history.
The last Democratic presidential candidate to win Texas was Jimmy Carter in 1976.
The last Democratic governor elected in Texas was Ann Richards in 1990. And the last time any Democrat won statewide in Texas was 1994.
In 2002, Republicans took over the state legislature.
In 2014, Greg Abbott won the governorship by a 20 point margin.
And lastly, Donald Trump won Texas twice.
So the skeptics’ argument is simple: Texas is too red and Democrats don’t normally win here.
But this year isn’t normal. This year, three factors give us a unique opportunity.
First, Greg Abbott has failed Texas. Repeatedly.
Abbott has had 8 years to serve us, but he’s refused. Texas leads the country in the number of uninsured people, rural hospital closures, and school shootings.
Abbott signed the most extreme abortion ban in the country, outlawing abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
And on May 25, one day after 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered in their Uvalde classrooms, Abbott told the state “it could have been worse.”
Texans are noticing. A majority of Texans believe the state is heading in the wrong direction and disapprove of the job that Abbott is doing.
And a whopping 82% of Texans disagree with Abbott outlawing abortion beginning at conception with no exception for rape or incest. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all agree: we must restore women’s freedom to make their own decisions about their own body, health care, and future.
So, first, Greg Abbott has failed us. Second, Texas is changing.
It’s true that Republicans have been winning statewide in Texas for almost 30 years.
But the numbers tell a different story: in 2012, President Obama lost Texas by almost 16 points. Then, Hillary Clinton lost Texas by 9 points – even as she lost other states that had reliably voted for President Obama. And in 2020, President Biden lost Texas by only 6 points, without knocking a single door. The Republican margin of victory in Texas narrowed by 10 points in eight years. That’s huge.
People from all over the country are driving this shift in Texas’ politics by moving here. In particular, they’re moving to a handful of massive urban counties where the majority of our state population lives. Demographic change is driving it, too. Millennials are the most diverse, most progressive generation in American history – they make up a larger share of Texas’ electorate than they ever have before.
Greg Abbott has failed us. Texas is changing. And the third thing that makes this year different is us – all of us.
In 2018, Beto inspired thousands of Texans across the state to knock on more than 3 million doors, and make more than 20 million calls. In many cases, volunteers put their normal lives on hold and made real sacrifices to help Beto win. It was, without a doubt, the largest organizing program in Texas history.
This year, we’ve already knocked on almost twice as many doors, made twice as many calls, written millions of more letters, and sent four times as many texts as we had at the same point in 2018. We are on track to far eclipse the amount of voter contact we did in 2018 when we came within just 2.6 points of winning.
That’s why the third reason we believe we can win is all of us. If tens of thousands of volunteers across the state come together to do the hard work it takes to win in the last month of the election, we will overcome the odds and win.
To recap, we are living in a unique political moment in Texas and we have a unique candidate who has inspired thousands of people to volunteer at an unprecedented level. So, what do we have to do to win?
Very simply, we have to get more people to vote than we did in 2018. We have to increase voter turnout even more than we’ve seen in the last four years. And we can’t risk falling short.
Let’s unpack this:
There’s a common misconception that elections are mostly decided by “swing voters” – voters who can be persuaded to vote for one candidate or the other – and that campaigns should focus all of their energy on people who are likely to vote, but may or may not vote for your candidate unless you convince them to.
We hear this argument a lot. You’ve probably heard it from someone you know: “Sure, I’m excited about Beto, but there just aren’t enough swing voters in Texas for him to win.”
If you do the math, it turns out that’s not true.
The truth is that Texas is not a red state. It’s a non-voting state. The key to winning this election is increasing voter turnout. Getting people off the sidelines and in the game.
That definitely doesn’t mean writing anyone off. Beto is running to represent all Texans, and is making his case to everyone – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. It means that, as volunteers, we have to focus our energy and resources responsibly.
Consider some recent election results:
In 2016, Donald Trump won Texas by a 9 point margin. Just under 60% of registered voters went to the polls.
In 2020, Donald Trump won Texas by a smaller 6 point margin, and about 67% of registered voters went to the polls.
In midterm elections like the one we’re in right now, we see even lower turnout.
In 2014, less than 32% of registered voters went to the polls, and Greg Abbott won by 20 points.
In 2018, 53% of registered voters cast their ballots. Beto lost by just 2.6 points.
This represents a major opportunity.
As voter turnout goes up in Texas, especially in midterm elections, Democrats get closer to winning.
In 2020, 5.2 million Texans voted for Joe Biden. Since then, over a million more Texans have registered to vote. A significant number of those Biden voters and new voters aren’t trying to decide which party to vote for – they’re deciding whether to vote at all.
If we can figure out who those likely non-voters are, and find some way to get them to the polls, we will win.
We have a plan to do just that: organize more volunteers to knock on more doors, make more phone calls, send more text messages, and talk to more voters than any campaign in the history of Texas, including Beto’s record-breaking campaign in 2018.
It’s not rocket science – but it is scientific. The research says this outreach is the most effective way to increase voter turnout.
Political scientists do experiments where they split voters into two randomized groups, a control group that they leave alone and a treatment group that they test a voter turnout tactic on. And after the election they check to see whether the treatment group voted at a higher rate than the control group.
We’ve learned three things from these experiments:
Since the beginning of the campaign, Beto supporters have talked to hundreds of thousands of voters across the state, asked them who they’re planning to vote for, and collected complete contact information for Beto supporters in order to prepare for that one-month sprint at the end.
We call this the “voter ID” phase of the campaign. The goal is to build a massive list of Beto supporters who, without a nudge in the final weeks, might not vote – but who we can count on to vote for Beto if we get them to the polls. That might be enough to put Beto over the top.
In the course of having these voter ID conversations, we’re collecting contact information – phone number, email address, and street address – so that we have multiple ways to follow up with our supporters during GOTV.
The voter ID phase of the campaign will continue until October 2. That’s when we stop collecting new IDs and start following up with people who have already told us they support Beto.
On October 3, we begin the final stage of the campaign – GOTV. Our entire organizing program – a year of work – has built up to those final weeks.
The difference between Beto being our next governor and another four years of Greg Abbott will come down to what we all choose to do in the last few weeks before Election Day. GOTV is make or break for this election and our state.
Beto is running to represent all Texans. His job is to make his case directly to Texas voters and win over support from everyone that he can.
As volunteers, we play a key role: making sure the people who support Beto get timely and accurate information about when and how to vote, and then reminding them to go to the polls during early voting.
There are about 7 million voters who we believe are likely to vote for Beto if they vote, but who might not vote unless we contact them. We want to contact them to make sure they do.
We call this list of Beto supporters who might not vote our “GOTV universe” – that just means a list of people who we want to follow up with during the GOTV phase of the campaign.
We’ll be fine tuning that universe up until the very end, so the numbers will change. But they’re pretty accurate right now, and we will definitely be reaching out to millions of people during GOTV.
The Texas Democratic Party gives candidates access to a database of voter records. That database currently contains 4.8 million cell phone numbers and about 5.5 million landline phone numbers associated with 7 million voters that we want to contact. So, if each texting volunteer sends 500 texts per volunteer shift and each calling volunteer calls for two straight hours per shift, we’d need to fill about 10,000 texting shifts and 20,000 calling shifts to call and text everyone once.
We’re confident we have enough volunteers to do a lot more than that. We’ve already called and texted more than 30 million Texans, and, while it’s going to take a ton of work, we’re feeling confident that we can do it again. We’ll need to.
But the research on voter turnout tells us that face-to-face conversations at a voter’s door are more powerful than any other tactic. If we want to maximize Beto’s chances of winning, we must knock on as many of those 7 million voters’ doors as possible.
Those 7 million people live in about 5 million households. Knocking on 5 million doors means recruiting volunteers to complete 100,000 block walking shifts.
Our GOTV goals might sound kind of daunting. They are. But we know it’s possible if absolutely everyone who wants to help Beto win pitches in.
And here’s the thing: The biggest challenge during GOTV isn’t recruiting enough volunteers. That’s a huge challenge, and we’ll need everyone to participate. But the biggest challenge we face isn’t actually recruitment – it’s training.
The vast majority of people who volunteer on campaigns get involved at the very end. We expect that if the election remains close, thousands of first-time volunteers will come pouring into the campaign in the final weeks.
We’ll have the volunteer capacity we need to knock on all of those doors. But if we can’t train people, direct them to the most valuable doors to knock on, and make sure they’re put to work productively, we’ll fall short.
Some campaigns get overwhelmed by the flood of volunteers at the end. We expect that there will be way more people volunteering during early vote than our staff will be able to train or direct: That’s where you come in.
We’re asking volunteers to commit now to being organizers and trainers during GOTV, and to help us manage the massive flood of first-time volunteers who show up in the final weeks.
Our plan is to launch more than 4,000 block walks across the state in the last month of the election. These block walks will be hosted by volunteers like you, meaning you’ll distribute materials like literature and clipboards that we will send to you, train the other volunteers that show up, and send us back the valuable data that you collect.
These 4,000 block walk locations have been chosen based on where our highest-priority voters live. Remember, our priority in GOTV is to turn out those who are likely to vote for Beto, but may not vote at all unless we have a conversation with them. For the last month, our organizing team has looked at maps of every county in Texas and determined, based on local knowledge and on historical voting data, where those high-priority, likely non-voters are.
So the commitment we need volunteers to make is to sign up to host as many of those block walks in their community as they possibly can. For some that will mean hosting one in the final month of the election, and for others that will mean hosting block walks every single day.
If you sign up to do that, here’s what you can expect from us:
We’ll make sure you have everything you need, even if you’ve never knocked on a door before.
So that’s the plan to win. Here are the next steps we need you to take.
This campaign is going to take all of us. It’s going to take everything we’ve got. And we’re going to win this election at a time when we really don’t have any other choice. Thank you for being a part of something so important for Texas and this country.