Adam and I sent about 5% of our spending budget to state level candidates and other voting-related efforts this year. We chose to go with a list of 40+ state level candidates, Democratic campaigns who have a good shot of winning and helping win house majorities in their states: the State Slate.
Why is sending money to state level candidates so useful?
This article on effective political giving talks about:
- Skipping intermediates (like PACs and non-profits) and giving directly to the candidates is giving money to people who want to turn out the votes the most.
- Don't get stuck trying to over-optimized - pick campaigns where you think your money will help, "but don't obsess about making mistakes."
- The section "give to downballot candidates" is worth reading entirely. Giving to underfunded Congressional, state and local candidates who are running in districts that Biden and bigger Senate campaigns need to win can help target groups of votes that might be invisible to bigger campaigns. Because in smaller state house campaigns, "the voter universe may be a few thousand people, it's not unheard of for the candidate to have met every voter individually." The low-propensity votes that the smaller campaign turns out with the money you give are likely to vote Democrat up the ticket too.
Here's another good article
How to actually make a difference if you're nervous about the election on Vox talks about:
- Number one thing you can do is give money directly to candidates, especially down-ballot ones who could tip control over Senate seats and state legislature majorities
- When you're donating below the legally allowable threshold (aka what regular people do), the money you send is "priviledged legally in a number of ways" including that campaigns are required to get the lowest rates on TV ads that stations can give.
- There's a lot of Senate seats that could possibly flip Democrat - more than we thought at first.
- It's not too late to give, campaigns still have time to use the money
- Statehouses and local legislatures (aka "down-ballot") can really help protect abortion rights, and healthcare.
- Giving money is more effective than giving time, if you don't have money do things with your friends to raise sums of money to give to down-ballot candidates. "Anyone can host a fundraiser, and people should do creative things that raise money for Democrats!"
- Voting is hard and intimidating, so helping people you know vote is really important. The article recommends thinking of people in your immediate circle and helping them make a plan to vote, checking in on the day-of.
- Becoming a poll worker if you can (in WA state where I live, they are set). Power to the Polls helps connect you.
- Write letters to strangers to encourage them to vote - which I've been doing - is effective for turnout. I've been using Vote Forward which gives you a pre-filled template letter, and the names and addresses of voters to write to. The "send the mail" date for that is coming up soon - October 17th!
Please join me and Adam in giving to some smaller-race Democratic candidates!
Your money will go far, and giving today helps the most.
If you don't want to do more research, here's the one we sent money to, via Act Blue: State Slate.