Starting an Equal Vote Chapter

please email team@equal.vote and make sure to include your call back number

 

Equal Vote has chapters working on STAR Voting in Eugene and Portland, Oregon, but our base goes far beyond that with active volunteers throughout the state, all around the Pacific Northwest, and across the US and Canada. If you want to see STAR Voting used in your area, starting a chapter is the first step.

Chapter meetings can be as small or as elaborate as the organizer wants. Want to just meet with a couple of friends at a coffee shop and brainstorm? That counts! If you want to go bigger, here are some tips...

 

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,
in fact it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

 

STEP 1:

Plan your event. Find a location, decide what you'd like to cover in the meeting or meetup, and draft a rough agenda.

Location, location, location: Pick a space that's not too big or too small, where people will be comfortable and able to hear each other.

A good space will work with a handful of people but has room for up to a dozen or two. Somewhere inviting where you can get a few tables together or reserve a private room is ideal. Libraries often have spaces that are good for larger groups. People's homes are another option if possible.

Focus: Meetings can be focused and action oriented, or casual community building educational experiences. Know your audience and tailor your event's vibe based on the people you think are most likely to come. Make sure people know if food and drinks will be available or if the event is a potluck.

Pick a few agenda items from this list: Go around and get everyone to say their name and what inspired them to get involved, give an "Intro to STAR Voting" talk, show one of our videos, host a demo election using star.vote, offer t-shirts for sale, listen to guest speakers, talk about chapter goals, gauge interest around launching a ballot initiative, plan outreach efforts to local groups and politicians, decide if you'd like to make this a regular monthly or bi-weekly meeting. Make sure to take some pictures in the middle of your event when the most people are there!

 

STEP 2:

Create a facebook event for your first meeting. To ensure that your event shows up on our event listings make sure to select "STAR Voting" and "Equal Vote" as co-hosts. Represent.Us is a partner here in Oregon so make sure to list your local chapter as a co-host and reach out to their chapter organizers. 

 

STEP 3:

Find people to invite! Reach out to us (team@equal.vote) to see if we have people signed up in your area. Invite your friends, family, neighbors, and people from other local groups or organizations. When you invite people, ask them if they have ideas of where to find other like minded people. Build your network!

 

STEP 4:

Advertise! A good event is planned and advertised at least 2 weeks out. More is better.

Here's an ideal outreach schedule:

  • 1 month before: Share your event on social media and email people with the invite. Invite others to help organize or plan the event if needed. Talk to people you see in person and tell them about your event!
  • 2 weeks before: Share your event on social media and email people with a reminder. Hopefully other groups or organizers will also share your event. Tell people about your event in person!
  • 1 week before: Text, call or email people individually so you are sure you are getting through. People are so inundated with volunteer opportunities, make sure people know this one is a personal invitation and not a form letter. Post about your event. 
  • A day or 2 before: Text reminders. Ask your friends and co-hosts to come early and help you set up so that you aren't the only one there when your guests arrive.

Remember, more is more, but less is better than nothing!

 

Following up with another event

 

Events: Host a demo election, a candidate forum, a fundraiser, or a panel discussion.

Actions: Show up and raise the issue at a local town hall, city hall meeting, or at your public county meetings. Look for events with a public comment period on the agenda. Set up a table at another group's event, at a farmers market, or at a street fair and talk to people.

Meet ups: Host a potluck, steering committee meeting, film screening, or mini-zine social club!

What are mini-zines? Mini-zines are our core handout. To date we've passed out around 20k in one on one conversations. Mini-zines are about the size of a business card and are an 8 page mini-magazine with everything you need to know in a nutshell. Two pieces of paper, held together with a single staple, zines are fun to make, and fun to read. Messaging made with love!

In politics and meetings people often go away feeling like they didn't do anything that will actually make a difference. Never again! Any boring old meeting can easily become an engaging action where volunteers can show up and make a difference right away. Just break out the zine-making kit!

To order your own box of zine making supplies you'll need some seed money, so pass a hat or organize a fundraiser. We get our zines printed by the box at Printivity for a fraction the cost*, then we get them cut into quarters at our local print-shop. At our events we collate the pages, fold stacks of 6-8 pages in half, staple each zine down the middle, and rubber band them in bunches.

 

 

We order a 3000 page box at a time, which makes 6000 mini-zines, for $420. Once we get them cut locally (6 cuts: remove edges, then quarter,) it comes out to about $500 in total. Of course smaller orders are an option too.

Supplies for your Mini-Zine Social Club event:

  • A box of zines, printed, trimmed, and cut into quarters.
  • Staplers- More the better. At least 2. One per person is great.
  • Staples- Standard small is best.
  • Rubber bands- The thin kind that come in big bags at office supply stores. Thick staples bend the zines.
  • Cardboard boxes for stacks of pages in various stages of construction. (Collated, Folded, Stapled, Rubber banded in stacks.) Shoe boxes, beer boxes, and similar are a good size.
  • Music to listen to or a movie to watch. Ideally something that doesn't require your full undivided attention.
  • Snacks and drinks.

 

See images below for details on what options to select when you get your order printed.