WASHINGTON - September 14 - The Sierra Club announced today that it has launched the most ambitious voter education program in the 112-year-old environmental organization's history, and is on track to have direct conversations with nearly half a million voters in key states by November 2.
The 527 voter education program, called "Sierra Club Votes," is now operating in 10 key metropolitan areas and statewide in New Hampshire. The cities, all located in battleground states, include: Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM; Columbus, OH; Las Vegas, NV; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Reno, NV; and Tampa Bay, FL.
"Between now and Election Day, the Sierra Club will be contacting an average of 40,000 environmental voters in each of our sites at least eight times to educate them about the environmental records of George Bush and John Kerry," National Political Director Greg Haegele said.
"They'll hear from the Sierra Club at their doors, through the mail and on the phone at least eight times. It's an ambitious program, but we know these are people who care about the environment and we're committed to making sure they vote on November 2."
"The Sierra Club is targeting infrequent environmental voters - people who are known to care about the environment but don't always vote," Haegele said. "Our polling and research has found that there are hundreds of thousands of registered voters who rank the environment as one of the top issues affecting their ballot decisions, but for many reasons they don't always feel their votes will make a difference. We're letting them know their votes do count."
The Sierra Club's New Hampshire voter education program began during primary season in January and the other sites were added in August and September, culminating with the launch of the New Mexico program last week. Haegele said more than 300 staff members have been deployed and the Sierra Club expects to spend $8 million to $10 million by Election Day.
Sierra Club staff and volunteers have already knocked on more than 215,000 doors, begun making 400,000 phone calls, and launched an eight-week direct mail program. In addition, more than 2,200 people have volunteered to assist the Sierra Club's efforts. Haegele predicted the numbers will continue to rise each week, culminating in repeated direct conversations with more than 400,000 people before the election.
Begun in 1996, the Sierra Club's 527 voter education campaign previously focused on airing paid media in battleground states. However, the program was refocused on direct contact this year because research and experience indicated voters increasingly ignore and are not motivated to vote by television and radio advertising, Haegele explained.
"We've learned that voters like to get information from more personal conversations with friends and people in their communities," said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. "As a 750,000-member grassroots organization with activists in all 50 states, we are uniquely well-positioned to take an environmental voter education campaign to the streets."
Sierra Club members will launch a massive program dubbed "Road to Somewhere" this coming weekend, September 18-19, Pope said. "Volunteers from non-battleground states plan to travel to all of our targeted sites to help our staff with door-to-door canvassing and phone banks."
In conjunction with its Road to Somewhere events, the Sierra Club also will participate in America Votes "50 Million Women Count" rallies on Saturday, September 18. America Votes and its 33 member organizations, including Sierra Club, are conducting a nationwide get-out-the-vote effort targeting single women, the largest block of infrequent voters in general elections. Many of the environmental voters being targeted by the Sierra Club are single women.
For more information, visit http://www.SierraClubVotes.org