Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Looking to November

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Looking to November

Article excerpt

Organizers plan to make a list of potential voters to help local causes

April may seem a long way from November, but for the organizers of the Millennium March on Washington, autumn is very much on their minds this spring. As part of the legacy they are hoping to leave from the march, planners will distribute voter pledge cards at the event. The information from the cards will be used to develop voter lists that will be distributed free to local and statewide gay organizations,

"The voting stuff is the real reason to do the march this year," says march executive director Dianne Hardy-Garcia, "We have to use this opportunity, We are getting close to declaring ourselves a bloc of voters. And that is substantive for politicians,"

Indeed, it is as much for politicians as it is for gays and lesbians that the cards are being distributed, says march cochairwoman Donna Red Wing. "It's important for candidates to see all those queer folks making their pledges,"

"Getting out the vote" (or GOTV, as insiders dub it) is hardly the most glamorous occupation for activists. But the ability to turn people out at the polls on election day is the surest sign of political clout, That depends on good lists of gay rights supporters, something that many local groups simply do not have,

"Lists are everything in politics," notes Hardy-Garcia, "Whether you can deliver a group of voters to the polls and whether you can say what percentage that group is makes you a bloc. …

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