Because the 2022 midterm featured an unprecedented number of open seats for both Cape Cod and the Lower Cape, we developed a new strategy to take advantage of this opportunity.
The main open seats:
Democrats on the Cape recruited three strong contenders for these offices, including a woman (unprecedented!) for Sheriff. In addition, 3 Democratic incumbents, all of whom faced opponents in the November election, were running for the offices of: Cape Cod Commissioner; State Senator, Cape and the Islands; and State Senator, Plymouth and Barnstable. The outcomes of all 6 elections would powerfully support progress for LCI values -- or result in setbacks.
In order to use LCI resources to support electoral candidates, LCI must comply with Massachusetts Campaign Finance laws. LCI was advised that the MA Office of Campaign and Political Finance could require that whenever LCI mentions a candidate's name (whether in good or bad light) and it is within 90 days of election, LCI would need to file an electioneering report because it counts as an in-kind donation.
Further research revealed that these laws exempt membership organizations such as LCI:
Communications from a membership organization ...to its members and their families on any subject shall not be deemed to be a contribution or expenditure. M.G.L. c. 55, s. 1. [The touchstone for determining membership is that] [a] person may be considered a member if the organization requires some affirmative action by the person ...in order to become a member. 970 CMR 2.02. See also AO-02-23, AO-97-09
LCI is an organization whose members have elected to participate based on the organization's mission: to mobilize for social, economic, and environmental justice, promote universal participation in the democratic process, and resist agendas that subvert American democratic values. Each member had to submit an email to enroll, and each Newsletter provides a button for a recipient to unsubscribe. In addition, LCI developed and distributed a survey to each subscriber in the Fall of 2021 that reviewed LCI's values and asked whether the subscriber wanted to continue or unsubscribe.
To identify which local 2022 candidates supported LCI's values, LCI developed and sent a survey to each candidate in the 6 races. The candidates were asked whether they would support the following if they were elected to the office for which they were running:
Six candidates responded that they would support these values if elected: Donna Buckley (Sheriff), Rob Galibois (DA), Ron Bergstrom (Cape Cod Commissioner), Julian Cyr (Senator, Cape and Islands), Su Moran (Senator, Plymouth and Barnstable), and Chris Flanagan (Representative, First Barnstable District).
National data show that young voters are more likely to vote for Democrats but are less likely to vote, particularly in local elections. LCI targeted these voters as follows: first we obtained lists of registered Democrats and Unenrolleds from the three towns -- Brewster, Dennis, and Yarmouth – that compose the First Barnstable District. The Town Clerks were quite accommodating, but the number of voters was staggering: a total of 4634. (Brewster - 831 voters, Dennis - 1261 voters, Yarmouth - 2542 voters.) To target young voters and trim the lists to a manageable number, LCI sorted them by birthdate and selected only those voters born in 1997 or after.
The LCI Team procured stamped postcards from the Post Office. We learned that local post offices didn't have on hand the volume of cards needed to reach the targeted voters – a lesson for any future efforts: plan ahead. To catch the attention of voters, LCI designed and had printed large colorful stamps that could be affixed to the cards.
Then LCI used its well-honed distribution process to send 2040 postcards to young local voters. All six candidates won!