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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 7, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 36
Approve R-74 campaign expands phone banking
Section One
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Approve R-74 campaign expands phone banking

Second Capitol Hill voter contact center now open

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Washington United for Marriage, the coalition working to defend Washington's bipartisan marriage law by Approving Referendum 74, has significantly expanded its 'persuasion' phone banking efforts. The campaign opened a location at Lifelong AIDS Alliance early this week (1002 E. Seneca St.), one of several it has opened citywide.

'It gives us the opportunity to talk to a lot of voters,' said Maggie Thompson, the campaign's regional field director for West King County. She added that it's absolutely needed because the opposition invested more than one million dollars in advertising last week alone.

Persuasion phone banking means having conversations with undecided voters about the freedom to marry. Thompson said that this kind of contact gives the campaign an opportunity to connect with voters on a personal level - much more personal than, say, a 30-second TV ad.

CONVENIENT FOR LOCALS
The LLAA-based phone bank is one of two locations where Capitol Hill residents can be part of the Approve R-74 campaign without having to leave their neighborhood. The other is the campaign's action center housed at Gay City Health Project (517 E. Pike St.), which opened in early July.

'The fact that we can build a campaign community out of an existing community is fantastic for us,' Thompson told SGN.

Now the campaign has locations all around Seattle - downtown, Wallingford, Pioneer Square, West Seattle - and soon will be opening one in the University District.

More locations mean more volunteers. More volunteers mean more conversations.

CONVERSATIONS MATTER
Washington United for Marriage has data that shows that two-thirds of people who have had a conversation about marriage equality support it, which is why it's stepping up its phone banks.

The data are from a poll that independent pollster Alison Peters conducted last year. Over the course of the poll, Peters found that simply talking about same-sex marriage with someone greatly increased that person's chances of supporting it. Although this may sound obvious to some, it's the numbers backing it up that makes it imperative.

Peters found that 34% of voters who had never had a conversation about same-sex marriage supported it, while 56% of voters who had had such a conversation with a straight person supported it. Additionally, 69% of voters who had a conversation about same-sex marriage with a Gay or Lesbian person supported the freedom to marry.

'I think that it's a really heavy statistic,' Thompson told SGN. 'It's evidence these conversations can really swing voters.'

Thompson said that even when people get off the phone unconvinced, those conversations are still just as important as any other.

'People respond with 'I'll think about it,' Thompson told SGN. 'We've really planted a seed.'

To volunteer, visit www.waunited.org and click the 'Get Engaged' tab.

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