By Tammy Beckett
Field representatives from the Progressive Turnout Project, a national grassroots get-out-the-vote organization, are expected to appear on many Democratic voters’ doorsteps in Flint in the next few weeks–and the organization is looking for local residents to be trained for those jobs.
Sylvia Brown, one of the organization’s Michigan district operations directors, joined in a recent Zoom meeting of Flint Neighborhoods United (FNU) to announce the Flint visits and describe the organization’s mission and goals. She also attended the May FNU meeting. While she is on the Michigan team, she lives in Arkansas.
According to its website, “The Progressive Turnout Project is a grassroots-funded organization that seeks to get as many Democrats as possible out to the polls.”
In a recent followup phone interview with East Village Magazine, Brown said the organization is proud of its success in connecting to communities by interacting at civic meetings such as Flint Neighborhoods United’s meetings, which have been via Zoom for the last two months, and building what she called “a ubiquitous canvassing contingency of community-sourced Field Representatives.” Field representatives are the face of Progressive Turnout representatives within their respective communities, she said.
Brown said during canvassing the field representatives will carefully adhere to safety precautions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic to protect the field representatives as well as the public.
Voters will be offered “Commit to Vote Cards” to fill out and return to the canvassers. However, this year, participants will use single-use pens and drop their cards into a bag, which will be “appropriately quarantined” before they are touched, Brown said.
The cards will be sent back to the voters as reminders of their commitment, she explained, and said no surveys are being taken.
Ordinarily, Turnout Project canvassers would have begun their work in May, Brown stated, but their efforts were postponed to ensure coronavirus standards were put into place across the nation. Field representative will wear masks and gloves and will use hand sanitizer. They will also observe social distancing guidelines, so there will be no handshaking.
The organization’s strategy is to target the inconsistent Democratic voters in competitive districts throughout the country. Since the organization began in 2015, it has “raised more than $32 million with a supporter base of over 3 million and invested in voter-turnout programs in 140 congressional races,” the website states.
Although several people have already begun training in appropriate canvassing protocols, PTP is still looking for additional canvassers, Brown said. She urged residents of Flint to apply for jobs as field representatives in the Flint area by visiting the website: https://careers-progressiveturnoutproject.icims.com/jobs/1049/field-representative-%28flint-metro-area%2c-michigan%29/job Salaries are “competitive,” she said.
EVM Staff Writer Tammy Beckett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.