Edited by Anne Simmons.

Talking to Democrats with a sporadic voting history in an effective way to turn out the vote, according to Diane Neville, Chair of the LD10 Democrats. “We’re convinced,” she said. This is the way to go.” She spoke at the June 29, 2021, meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson.

LD10 volunteers and precinct committee persons targeted 6,479 sporadic voters in 2019, and of those they spoke to, 88% voted Democratic. When a caller had to leave a message, 82% voted. Among voters who could not be reached, only 76% voted. “We are trying to encourage voting as a habit,” she said. “We reach out to voters through formal, coordinated projects that target specific niches of voters.”

Having lived in Arizona for 45 years, Diane started out as an appointed precinct committee person, the Territory Lead for the Udall Territory, a member of the Operations Team, the Membership Chair, an elected PC, and finally, Chair.

LD10, which covers 49 precincts east of Campbell Avenue to Saguaro National Park, has 139,876 voters, of whom 56,260 are Democrats. The district has 155 precinct committeemen and 299 volunteers organized into 9 territories.

Each month, the territory leaders meet with the Operations Team, which itself meets for two hours every week. The Operations Team carries out specific projects, like organizing writing letters to the editor, and commenting before the Independent Redistricting Commission.

“The territory leads always have a chance to talk about what’s going on in their precincts, what’s happening, and what are the problems that we’ve got. So it’s a lot of give and take,” she said. “The territory system works because it builds a larger network of leaders in the LD because people are stepping up to take charge of different things and that helps that really matters.”

Listening project

To find out the issues that mattered to newly-registered voters, LD10 conducted a listening project. “Economic issues, to health care to voter suppression, was clearly the prime topics on people’s minds now,” said Michael Weingarten, the Data Team Lead for the LD10 Operations Committee.”

“Also was important getting them to open their eyes up and think a little bit more about what was going on around them,” he said. “We’re doing this all quite honestly with the eye toward 2022. These are people who may vote for sporadically, maybe they vote and just presidential elections and don’t normally come out from midterms. These are folks that we want to start building the relationships with now,” he said.

“There’s a lot of misinformation or just information that is getting missed by this group. It really points out the importance of keeping the attention on the voter outreach efforts. It’s not too early to start this,” he said. “It’s really important not to be judgmental, as you are talking to them about that, but just try to open the eyes a little bit.”

Results of the listening project will be released in August.