News & Media

PICO mobilizes faith voters on the economy, racial justice

Land of Opportunity, Civic Participation

November 7, 2012

PICO National Network

Washington, D.C. – Over the past nine months, clergy and community leaders from PICO National Network, the largest network of faith-based community organizing groups in the country, reached out to more than 1.5 million faith voters in support of an agenda of racial and economic opportunity.

Last night, voters spoke – handily rejecting austerity politics in favor of increased funding for education and healthcare and shutting down efforts to making voting more difficult.

In three large and closely-watched states – California, Florida, and Minnesota – PICO federations played a key role in powering successful ballot fights to secure revenue for social safety net programs and to oppose voter restriction efforts.

PICO federations in ten other states – Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania –  registered voters and organized get-out-the-vote efforts through congregations

Across the network, PICO federations ran large-scale non-partisan campaigns to register voters, to inform and educate on economic and racial justice issues, and to get faith voters to the polls. Combined, PICO federations trained 3,200 grassroots volunteers, registered 54,000 new voters, knocked on 200,000 doors, had more than 600,000 face-to-face and on-the-phone conversations, and made 3.9 million phone calls.

On Election Day, more than 500 PICO-trained poll monitors observed election activities in eight states, offering non-partisan voting information and advocating for voters.

In the swing state of Ohio alone, PICO volunteers and staff made more than 400,000 phone calls and nearly 72,000 home visits, talking with Ohioans about jobs and economic justice.

In stark contrast to the billions of unregulated dollars that flowed into corporate-run campaigns for attack advertising, PICO federations relied on campaign basics:  Neighbors talking to neighbors about how election choices impact their lives and reflect their values.

“This is the first election cycle that PICO has run a network-wide voter program. We worked with state partners and leveraged new technology and best practices in order to have conversations with many voters as we could,” said Gordon Whitman, PICO National Network director of policy.

Everywhere, volunteers knocked on doors, staffed phone banks, arranged transportation to polls, and monitored voting locations. Community leaders put together education forums where whole neighborhoods could learn about requirements for voting and the impact of ballot measures. Clergy leaders urged people of faith to register to vote, show-up to vote, and then vote their values.

Election night brought celebration, as PICO leaders claimed victory on all three ballot measures.