Dear Friends of UpRise:
Greetings from Arizona! While the media are focused on Washington and the primary elections, we’re laying the groundwork for 2020 elections right here in Arizona – one of only 5 true toss-up states in the Presidential election! With 11 electoral college votes, there are almost no Presidential win scenarios that do not include Arizona.
Arizona will also have a critical Senate race, one in which the losing Republican candidate from 2018, Martha McSally, will be attempting to defend the seat for which she was appointed, not elected. We have a superb candidate in former astronaut, Mark Kelly.
In Congress, we will need to defend Districts 1, 2, and 9. Challenging Districts 6 and 8 will be tough, but win or lose, maximizing Democratic turnout in those districts will be essential for winning on a state and county level.
On the state level, we have a great chance of winning back one or both houses of the legislature and breaking the Republican “trifecta” of controlling both houses and the Governor’s office.
Finally, in Maricopa County, recorder Adrian Fontes will be up for re-election in 2020. Fontes has become a national innovator in expanding voting access. We can’t let Republicans take back this seat and bring back their voter suppression tactics.
What’s Going On?
UpRise has always been about the mission: to both promote low cost, grassroots campaigns, and to help progressives win by dramatically increasing volunteer and community engagement. The mechanism for this mission has had an active engagement component and a technology component.
Here in Arizona, we are working on a special project to build volunteer capacity for the 2020 campaigns and increase public awareness before campaigns get into high gear.
We saw the incredible impact that an office space had in the 2018 Special Election. Having spaces for people to gather creates a sense of community which brings new people into the process in droves! We are working to develop community centers with a variety of Democratic Party committees, campaigns and activist groups.
With physical gathering spaces, groups can grow their communities by hosting social events. People are motivated by the opportunity to build relationships. It is hard to do that at monthly meetings or while out knocking on doors. We can also lower entry barriers by providing easier, entry-level volunteer activities like writing postcards and organizing social events. Spaces will also make it easier for people to find us. We can bring new people in by promoting our community centers and social events at farmers markets and other public events.
Our uprise.org site has progressed to the point where it can be used by campaigns to post events, and by volunteers to register their preferred activities and sign up for specific events.
While working in the field, we also discovered a serious and currently unmet need for a new tech tool, which we are in the process of building.
Most volunteer activity happens in small groups at the level closest to the ground, in local Democratic Party committees and activist group chapters. Right now, those groups are using one tool for email, such as Gmail or Mail Chimp, another for discussions, like a Facebook Group or Google Group, and a third for event sign ups, like SignUp Genius or EventBrite. Each tool has a substantial learning curve, and managing contacts and engagement across the tools is daunting even for experienced tech users.
Our new platform will integrate an email service, a discussion group and an event management tool into a single super-simple platform. Even users with limited computer skills will be able to learn how to use it quickly and easily. This platform should be ready for beta testing by the end of the year.
We will have more about these activities as they develop in the coming months.
How Can You Help?
Our progress and that of the campaigns we work with is dependent on the actions of volunteers. If you have not already registered to volunteer on uprise.org, please do so — we will not share your information outside the platform. Explaining your interests and preferences will permit campaigns to search for help — then they will be able to contact you through us without seeing your contact details.
We also still need donations to continue with our effort. If you haven’t done so, please contribute (and if you have already, thanks!).
That will help us to move the UpRising forward without charging large amounts to campaigns, making it possible for us to help great candidates who don’t have connections to big money.
Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to help us and to help progressives get elected!
May all of you have a positive and rewarding 2020!
Antonia and Morgan