Let My People GOTV - Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking about joining our nationwide Let My People GOTV effort on October 30-31? See below for more information. If you have additional questions or would like to speak to someone directly, please reach out to our We’ve Seen This Before Campaign Coordinator, Lauren Goldman, at [email protected].

What is the #WeveSeenThisBefore Campaign all about?

We've Seen This Before is a campaign by Bend the Arc Jewish Action to mobilize American Jews to defeat Donald Trump and take a strong stand against the politics of fear, bigotry, hate and violence, and for an America of justice, democracy, and inclusion.

You can read more here.

Who is Bend the Arc Jewish Action?

Bend the Arc is building the power and passion of the progressive Jewish movement in America by bringing together Jews and allies from across the country to advocate and organize for a more just and equal society. We are the only national Jewish organization that is focused solely on promoting these values here in the U.S.

Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a 501(c)(4), is the political advocacy arm of the Bend the Arc family of organizations.

Why go to swing states instead of getting people to vote everywhere?

The swing states are the key to the Presidential election. Remember — it’s not the candidate with the most total votes who wins the presidency, but the candidate who wins the electoral college. Every state has a certain number of votes in the electoral college, and whichever candidate wins that state gets ALL of that state’s electoral votes. Certain states (often called “safe states”) have a much larger likelihood of electing one candidate or another.

That’s why to be strategic we are focusing our work in swing states, which are predicted to have a much tighter competition for electoral votes. In some of these states, the contest could come down to a margin of a few hundred votes — every conversation with a voter and every shift counts.  

If I get on a bus, what should I expect my experience will be like?

You will connect with others who are motivated to take action rooted in Jewish values, have your transportation and housing needs handled, and be put to work helping elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump.

All buses will be equipped with bathrooms, wireless internet, and temperature control (heat or AC as necessary) and be wheelchair accessible. Ride times are estimated on each state sign-up page (or if they haven’t, they will be soon!). When you get on the bus, you will be greeted by a bus captain, receive a t-shirt, a light snack and water. Please wear comfortable clothes so that you have a relaxing ride.

Once you get to the site where the canvassing will happen, you will be trained, so if you’ve never canvassed, or taken any political action to talk to voters before, worry not: we’ve got you covered!

The majority of our time will be spent “in the field”, meaning having 1:1 conversations with voters to let them know where their polling locations are, helping them get concrete about their plan to vote, and to remind them that election day is right around the corner and their voice and vote counts (there will be script to guide your conversation).

That night, we’ll come together to debrief our experiences that day, and there will be an evening activity. Hotels will be provided for volunteers on the bus trip (see more below). The following day, we’ll pack up all of our belongings, do a second shift, and then head back to home.

If I am joining a bus, where will be staying overnight?

We will be renting double-occupancy hotel rooms near our canvassing sites for each bus trip. The cost of the room is included in your bus ticket. Participants will be asked to self-select roommates on the bus. If you require a single room, please contact the organizer listed at the bottom of the page for each bus by Oct 25. Some additional cost may apply for single room requests.

If I am traveling by bus, will all meals be provided?

No. When possible we will arrange to eat together, and will make sure there are breaks for meals with restaurant options nearby (including vegetarian options when available), but you should plan to pay for your own meals. We will have some snacks and water on the bus for the long rides.

Will kosher food be available on the trip?

We will not be providing meals on the trip. If you have special dietary restrictions, please contact Campaign Coordinator Lauren Goldman at [email protected].

If I visit a field office, what will I be doing there?

Going to a field office to volunteer with the Bend the Arc GOTV program is a fantastic way to have a huge impact on the election. Every state’s field offices are in need of volunteers to go out and talk to voters about the upcoming election, let them know where their polling places are, help them envision their plan to vote and make sure they know where their polling location is!

When you get to the field office, you’ll be greeted by an organizer who will train you in canvassing best practices and can give you tips and additional information about the specific turf you’ll be canvassing. There will hopefully be a chance to meet up with fellow Bend the Arc volunteers. Once you are trained and have your turf on a clipboard or uploaded onto your Mini-Van app, you’ll be ready to set off and have key conversations about voting. When your shift is over, you’ll have a chance to debrief how it went with the regional organizer, and then you can participate in a region-wide Bend the Arc debrief call.

I don’t see a bus that’s departing from near where I live. How can I participate in Let My People GOTV?

Bend the Arc Jewish Action is setting up as many buses as possible for Let My People GOTV, but unfortunately we can’t cover every place.

If there isn’t an official bus near where you live, you can still participate in Let My People GOTV. In fact, we need your help to make this effort a success!

You can sign up to volunteer directly at a canvass site that you can travel to. If you need support to be able to travel to a swing state, there are travel scholarships available by request.

If you are willing to drive and want to carpool with friends, you can also request travel subsidies. If you are able to host a carpool and need financial support, please apply on the Request Travel Scholarships page.

I’m interested in driving to a swing state to canvass -- are there travel subsidies available?

Bend the Arc is committed to ensuring that people who want to carpool or travel to swing states, but need funds to support that travel, are able to do so. If you are able to host a carpool and need financial support, please apply on the Request Travel Scholarships page.

Ok. I’m awesome and I’m going canvassing. So what should I bring?

Thank you so much for volunteering! Every shift, every conversation with a voter counts. We are only sending you to the most critical districts to win this November, so thank you for your commitment to moving this country in the right direction. For your shift, get good rest the night before, because you’ll be moving and talking a lot!

Wear comfortable shoes (sneakers preferable), a hat and sunglasses. Have your cell phone fully charged and bring your phone charger and extra battery charger if you have it (in some regions, canvassing can be done via the MiniVan app so you’ll want to start the shift at 100% charge). Bring a backpack or tote bag that you can access easily to carry your belongings. A refillable water bottle, chapstick and sunscreen will also come in handy.

Lastly, carry the reason that you are doing this work and the fact you’ve come so far with you to every conversation. We need to be all in together in order to win this, so we have to bring heart!

Is this experience appropriate for children? All ages?

Many children have a great experience participating in a canvass, and children are welcome if accompanied by a parent. However, voter canvassing shifts do typically require traveling several blocks by foot. We will not be able to provide childcare, or special accommodations for participants with mobility restrictions on the bus trips or at canvass sites. If you are concerned about your ability to participate fully, or if you are signing up for a bus trip and would like to bring a child, please contact Campaign Coordinator Lauren Goldman at [email protected].

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