Students For Sensible Drug Policy’s ‘Legalize Colorado’ Phonebank Was No Doubt The Most Valuable Technology Of The 2012 Election
I say it time and time again – Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) never ceases to amaze me. The individual chapters, and national organization as a whole, has done more to help end marijuana prohibition than most organizations could ever dream of. Example – Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s ‘Legalize Colorado’ phonebank. There were few things that brought a bigger smile to my face during Election 2012 than seeing pictures on Twitter of SSDP chapters across the nation making calls to Colorado voters. Let’s reward these hardworking activists by voting for the ‘Legalize Colorado’ phonebank for the ‘Most Valuable Technology’ over at RootsCamp. Below is information currently posted on RootsCamp:
How the nominee exhibited innovation
Using WordPress and Excel spreadsheets (we purchased a Colorado voter file), Drew built an online phonebanking system from scratch. We don’t have the money to hire a firm or purchase fancy software in order to create a functional, attractive online phonebanking tool, so earlier this summer, we tasked Drew with coming up with something. Our network of students spans the country, and the globe, and we needed a way to engage our supporters who did not live in Colorado with the campaign to pass Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana. We got around the problem of distance between our supporters and a campaign going on in one state by connecting anyone who used the system with Colorado voters under the age of 30. We provided phonebankers with a script to follow, FAQs, and a way to record the result of each call. The system even featured a dynamically updated leaderboard so that our supporters could see how they and their peers were doing.
How the nominee exhibited potential
This system gives tremendous power to any grassroots campaign by allowing anyone, anywhere to connect directly with decision makers (in this case, voters in Colorado) in a systemized format. It provides the possibility to turn any list of targets to contact into an online phonebank.
How the nominee exhibited courage
The system is easy to use and attractive (I encourage you to visit the site and “make a call” so that you can see the motions one would go through as they made real calls this year). Our only costs involved were a $500 voter file and a $15 domain name purchase (and of course, many, many hours of Drew’s time). We featured the phonebank prominently on our website and social networks, and did not restrict who could sign up and participate.
Drew managed to create this amazing system from scratch on top of his regular duties as an Outreach Director (maintaining, supporting, and growing half of our U.S. SSDP chapter network; serving as our de facto webmaster; organizing events; managing campaigns; etc.) on an extremely modest salary. Through this system, our students made nearly 15,000 calls to young voters in Colorado. And the campaign was successful with Colorado becoming the first state to legalize marijuana with a vote of 55%-45%. I couldn’t be prouder. :)
Nominee’s Personal Statement
- Check out the phonebank in action here: http://legalizecolorado.org/