Apr. 30, 2014 – PHILADELPHIA — POWER’s ambitious Voter Engagement Campaign is moving into high gear weeks before the May 20th primary AND the innovative community organizing model is now gaining national attention. Every day leading up to the primary, volunteers are gathering at individual POWER congregations and conducting phone banking and neighborhood canvassing campaigns in an effort to get voters to the polls.
The phone bankers are using a sophisticated voter targeting and engagement tactic used by successful political campaigns. It’s called the Voter Activation Network, or VAN, database and predictive dialer phone technology to target voters who do not vote frequently, but who are likely to support two of POWER’s areas of focus: school funding and boosts in minimum wage laws.
Then, one week before election day, on Tuesday May 13th at 10am and again at 4pm, clergy leaders from POWER congregations will host a prayer rally and door knocking campaign across Philadelphia. The rally and neighborhood canvass will begin at Harold O. Davis Baptist Church located at 4500 North 10th Street in Philadelphia’s Logan neighborhood. After the prayer vigil, the clergy leaders and members of their congregation will fan out in the neighborhood and knock on the doors of homes on and around Roosevelt Boulevard.
In addition to neighborhood canvasses and the new high tech VAN phone banking techniques, POWER volunteers are also taking part in more traditional community mobilization strategies including house meetings, congregational gatherings, and community forums. There have been announcements during worship services and faith leaders have delivered sermons emphasizing the importance of voting.
So far POWER congregations have connected with nearly 20,000 Philadelphians and have gotten commitments to vote from residents who don’t normally vote in primaries. POWER’s success has captured the attention of of it’s parent organization the PICO National Network. PICO is viewing POWER’s work on Voter Engagement as a model for other affiliates in the network. Next week, two teams of 5-10 PICO National staff members are coming to Philadelphia to study POWER’s voter engagement campaign and will use their observations to teach the 40+ other affiliates across the country about best voter outreach practices.
“We will not rest until we convince every unlikely voter in Philadelphia that their vote counts,” says Bishop Dwayne Royster, Executive Director of POWER. “As people of diverse faiths, races, and ethnic backgrounds, we are united to ensure our laws and policies and structures serve the poor, not hurt the poor. We do that through the voting booth.”
POWER is encouraging voter participation in general. However, POWER’s two areas of focus include making sure Pennsylvania’s new governor establishes a fair funding formula for our schools (#FullFairFunding). POWER is also campaigning to get voters to vote “yes” on referendum #1 to strengthen the City’s minimum wage law (#YesOnOne). POWER – along with labor local SEIU32BJ and other allies – have been pushing for expansion of the 21st Century Minimum Wage Standard, which requires a $10.88/hour wage to workers on city contracts. POWER and its partners argue that firms regularly, and unfairly, skirt that requirement by subcontracting out large parts of their contracts. If passed, the referendum would close that loophole and extend the higher wage standard to thousands of subcontracted city workers who now live in poverty despite working full time.
For more information about POWER’s voter engagement campaign go to http://powerphiladelphia.org or call POWER at (215) 215-232-7697. All media inquiries should be directed to Leslie Patterson-Tyler by calling (609) 247-2632 or email Leslie@TylerMadePR.com.