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Political volunteering in a pandemic

Political organizing typically has relied on face-to-face interactions.

"Hit the doors"

"Debate watch parties"

"Turn out for rallies"

One of the (few) positive aspects of the #CovidPandemic is the shift to remotely-conducted political organizing. Face-to-face interactions may still offer more opportunity for personal connection and impact, but remote organizing provides an important advantage: campaigns and organizations can draw volunteers from across the country, or indeed, the world.

Observing the valiant work the South Carolina Democratic Party's Voter Protection Unit is doing to ensure SC voters get to cast their ballots is inspiring, and has allowed me from where I sit in Seattle, Washington to experience the benefits of re-imagined organizing.

Fair Fight, Stacey Abrams's brainchild, has co-ventured with the SC Dems to fund this voter protection team. Shaundra Young Scott, former Executive Director of the ACLU's South Carolina chapter, is the leader of the SCDVPU. Shaundra, former deputy political director for #KamalaHarris's South Carolina campaign, has in turn drawn on the ranks of other talented #SCHarrisCampaign alums like Philisea Matthews and Ryan Robidoux.

The SCDVPU trains volunteers like me to staff its hotline and provide other support. On both the primary day and the run-off election day, I helped answer hotline howcalls from voters facing challenges to casting their vote. Some were mundane; some were more troubling. Seeing how efficient and capable the staff and in-state volunteers at the polling locations were, was encouraging. We can make a difference. The work Fair Fight and the SCDVPU are doing make it more likely that voters across the country will be able to cast their vote in November.

In July, the SCDVPU included me among its featured volunteers; the generous appreciation of the SCDVPU team for my (minor) support touches me. Amidst all that is being lost in the pandemic, I'm trying to focus on the glimpses of what we gain. The chance to work with good people on an important cause is one of the wins.

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