Vote for Equality (VFE) is the local, Los Angeles component of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s Leadership LAB. Through grassroots action, voter education, and leadership development, VFE works to advance marriage equality, reduce homophobia, and build the political power of LGBT people and allies in L.A County.
Specifically, VFE is conducting multiple experiments to figure out what works to change the hearts and minds of those who voted for Proposition 8, which stripped away the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples when it was passed by voters in California on Nov. 4, 2008.
VFE’s main focus is gaining insight on how to directly address voters’ concerns through having one-on-one conversations with voters at their doorsteps. Since Prop 8 passed, VFE has had over 8,000 conversations in Los Angeles County. Currently, to better stimulate what happens during an acutal campaign, VFE volunteers are proactively bring up our opposition’s messages about children & schools to see how voters respond and to test what can be said to clarify their misconceptions around the issue. Click here to see a recent converation.
WHY DO WE CANVASS?
Past experience and data points towards there being a huge amount of work to do if we are going to win marriage at the ballot box — both here in California, and in other states facing marriage battles throughout the country.
Whenever marriage is on the ballot again here, we cannot win without persuading hundreds of thousands of unsupportive or undecided voters to be with us. And since about 25% of all Yes on 8 voters were right here in L.A. County, we cannot win statewide if we don’t do this important work right here in our own backyards.
We’re going door-to-door to have these conversations because we are trying to have open-ended, honest talks with voters that help us:
- Explore what voters’ core concerns are with marriage equality;
- Test what messages begin to move voters to be more supportive of marriage equality;
- Bring up our opposition’s false messages about gay marriage enadangering children to gain insight into what voter’s specific concerns are and learn how to respond to them;
- Determine if certain types of voters are more movable than others;
- Talk to a critical number of voters in Los Angeles County.
WHO ARE WE TALKING TO?
VFE is canvassing in different areas of L.A. County, that contain precincts with 50%-75% unsupportive voters. We have knocked on over 30,000 doors and had over 8,000 conversations with voters through door-to-door canvasses in Northeast LA, South LA, East LA, and the San Fernando Valley.
On average, the canvasses have begun to move 25% of undecided and unsupportive voters to reconsider, or become more supportive of marriage equality. Additionally, a number of other organizations throughout the state are now using the canvassing tools developed at VFE.
WHAT ELSE DO WE DO?
VFE is actively studying messaging and polling. We conduct ongoing message training and analysis sessions that look at historical messages on both sides of marriage campaigns. The sessions foster and facilitate dialogue on how we can move forward in developing effective messages in future campaigns. We’re also actively studying polling data from past marriage campaigns, to gain insight on voter trends and polling accuracy.
VFE is also training volunteers in all steps of creating a pro-marriage equality country. We’re engaging an average of 80-100 volunteers a week in canvass prep, volunteer recruitment, and voter contact actions. Be we need a lot more help to take this work to scale!
I N T H E M E D I A
“Vote for Equality Prepares for Next Ballot Campaign”
–by Karen Ocamb | Frontiers in L.A.
“Norma Gay: Kathy Griffin Canvasses With VFE”
–from Bravo TV’s “My Life on the D-List”