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MoveOn's Regional Move

By Garance Franke-Ruta
When the antiwar group endorsed Barack Obama recently, that brought the insurgent-turned-front-runner more than just money or the imprimatur of one of the most visible institutions on the American left. It also brought forth a serious peer-to-peer get out the vote operation designed to bring MoveOn's activist members -- many of whom are intensely civically engaged already -- to the polls.

Since endorsing Obama on Feb. 1, the group says its members have sent more than 521,000 e-mails to their friends in upcoming primary and caucus states, encouraging them to vote for the Illinois senator and personally endorsing him. "All the studies show that the most effective get-out-the-vote mechanism is recommendations from friends and family members," says MoveOn communications director Ilyse Hogue. "We've been mobilizing our members since the endorsement in a sweep across the nation."

Launched last Wednesday, the "Endorse-O-Thon" (that being an "O" for Obama, of course) peer-to-peer e-mail drive first targeted the caucus and primary states that voted last weekend, then pivoted to focus on MoveOn members and their friends in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. MoveOn has 20,000 members in the District, 62,000 in Maryland, and 66,000 in Virginia, according to Hogue -- more than enough to provide a margin of victory in today's races.

"We made sure everyone of our members in the Chesapeake region had accurate information about their polling place," as well, says Hogue. District residents, for example, were sent e-mails today announcing "It's Time to Vote!" along with a clickable link to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics polling place locator search page. The e-mail also contained text for a sample letter endorsing Obama, for recipients to send out to their friends. "We have reason to believe they are very effective," says Hogue of these e-mails. "We're very confident that this is getting our members vote for Obama."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 12, 2008; 4:36 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Primaries , The Democrats , The Hidden Campaign  
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Next: Potomac Primary: Who's Been Focusing Where


I was a loyal moveon member, but I'm about ready to sever my ties. I believed in their campaigns and oppposite to the Bush administration, but I question the legitimacy of their decision to endorse Barack Obama. Who decided to poll members during the primary? Since when is less than 70000 out of 3.2 million a mandate? I question the timing of their member survey and the absurdly short period members had to respond. I believe that it was a foregone conclusion that the leadership would endorse Obama. I opted out of emails supporting the Obama campaign, but today I get a pitch about superdelegates that is designed only to help him...why now??...if Moveon had a problem with superdelegates, why wait until now, when it might impact Obama?? They claim it's undemocratic. What about the undemocratic nature of Democratic Party caucuses that effectively disenfranchise Democrats with an ungainly and easily manipulated process. What's Democratic about less than 2% of voters in Washington deciding a Democratic Caucus?? Obviously the leadership has an Obama agenda and will sacrifice everything for it. It's sickening.

Posted by: ginadentata | February 14, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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