Indivisible Michigan fights Republican voter suppression with relational organizing

5 mins read
Use relational organizing to fight Republican voter suppression.

Michigan GOP plans “shocking” scheme to ram through voting restrictions‘ – Salon

“Republicans state legislators in Michigan have already introduced 39 bills that restrict citizens’ voting rights and harm election administration. Republicans do not have the votes to override the veto but would instead pursue a scheme to use the state’s citizen initiative process to circumvent the veto.” – Salon

How does a grassroots group mobilize public outrage? How can more people be informed about how their right to vote is being stolen and organized to protest? How can this be done by volunteers spread across independent groups across a state?

State Wide Indivisible Michigan (SWIM) is a coalition of 50 Michigan Indivisible groups committed to protect, defend, and promote the principles and institutions of democracy for all people. SWIM uses relational organizing with the free VoteForce app to coordinate activities across different Indivisible chapters in Michigan and mobilize resistance to voter suppression.

Grassroots activism against voter suppression

Relational organizing helps with rapid response and mobilization to protest voter suppression.

VoteForce – free relational organizing app

VoteForce relational organizing app helps activists and volunteers oppose voter suppression bills.

Relational organizing fights voter suppression

“Republicans have already introduced 39 voting bills in the State Senate and dozens more in the House, three of which have already passed. Whitmer has vowed to veto the proposed restrictions. Senate Republican Leader Mike Shirkey told local news outlet JTV earlier this month that Republicans do not have the votes to override the veto but would instead pursue a scheme to use the state’s citizen initiative process to circumvent the veto.” – Salon

Activists are at a disadvantage against a well funded minority that would deny others their right to vote. Relational organizing is effective in galvanizing resistance because messages are sent by someone the recipient already knows. Grassroots groups can mobilize their supporters and quickly reach more people through their volunteers with the VoteForce app. This is how SWIM uses VoteForce:

Create subgroups so that volunteers can be messaged selectively
Have volunteers download the free VoteForce app from the Apple AppStore or Google Play
Supporters subscribe to the “SWIMMING WITH FRIENDS” channel so they only get messages from SWIM
Create messages that can be text, images, GIFs or videos
Choose which SubGroup or all Subgroups that should receive a message
The app beeps to alert volunteers when a new message is received
They can read, personalize and share that message with friends in the phone book
They can share the messages as a text, WhatsApp or Facebook Message with a few keystrokes
Volunteers do not have to share their friends’ information with SWIM
Volunteers can also post the message to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…
This creates a mini Tweetstorm on demand
SWIM can track how many volunteers have download the app and how many messages they have shared VOTEforce for iPhones

VoteForce for Android phone

How to use voteforce console (ENGLISH)

How to use VoteForce Console (SPANISH)

State Wide Indivisible Michigan

StateWide Indivisible Michigan (SWIM) formed in 2019 as a coalition to connect and support local Indivisible groups from across the state. It empowers the movement by:
Meeting with our statewide elected officials
Training members in Racial Equity, digital tools, and conversation framing
Connecting local leaders to national resources
Organizing statewide voter registration programs
Building an army of volunteers in support of progressive candidatesDONATE to S.W.I.M.

Organizing public pressure

“We’re going to face another test in 2022: a new wave of unprecedented voter suppression, and raw and sustained election subversion,”  explained President Biden in a major address on voting rights and democracy. “We have to prepare now. We are experiencing an unprecedented attack on voting, election administration and democracy — and we must all prepare now. It is, as the President warned, “the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War.”

The challenge to save our democracy is not a simple one. There is no one solution. There is no easy answer. It will require the skill and courage of millions of Americans to stand up against authoritarianism and for democracy. While there remains a central role for legislation, political organizing and public pressure, we cannot ignore the central role that our courts play in preserving and protecting our fundamental rights, including the right to vote.” – Marc Elias, Democracy Docket 

TakeAway: Support SWIM in their fight against voter suppression. Use relational organizing with the free VoteForce app to mobilize supporters and reach more people.


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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

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