Our campaign to preserve and expand Democracy; one Senior Voter at a time.
In pursuit of CARA’s foundational goals, to ensure Californians are afforded the resources to age with dignity, grace, and independence, it is essential to elect leaders who will deliver bold policy and programmatic solutions to meet the urgency of California’s aging crises. Thankfully, the most consistent voting base in American Democracy is coincidentally the predominant population CARA represents – SENIORS! As a nonpartisan organization, CARA DOES NOT ENDORSE CANDIDATES for elected office; however, it is our mission to educate and empower senior voters on the issues that most impact their lives and that of their families.
To achieve this, CARA developed a campaign predicated on senior-to-senior contact, connecting CARA’s robust statewide volunteer network to senior voters identified as “NPP”, No Party Preference, in the most highly contested Congressional Districts in California. Our nonpartisan status helped to establish equity with voters who were tired, sometimes confused, and mostly frustrated with the hyperbolic, partisan, discourse surrounding the elections. Our goal was simple; bolster senior turnout for the 2022 midterm elections through a concentrated voter education campaign predicated on honest, fact-based, and persistent calls, postcards, candidate forums, and community outreach about the positions of the candidates.
Midterms 2022: Senior Vote in Action!
In 2022 CARA’s Executive Board approved a significant overhaul to the existing Senior Vote apparatus in response to the unprecedented and inflammatory rhetoric emanating from Washington DC threatening the safety and livelihood of millions of Americans, most notably communities of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ community. It was apparent that America’s democracy was in peril and California voters would have the opportunity to restore America’s governing institutions to “normalcy” or at least stifle the growing wave of extremism that threatened to upend Medicare, Social Security and nearly every federal program designed to support Seniors.
The additional investments approved by the Executive Board allowed CARA to significantly enhance the Senior Vote campaign. Listed below is the step-by-step framework of CARA’s most successful voter engagement campaign in the 20 year history of the organization:
Goal: Contact NPP (No Party Preference) Senior Voters (aged 65 and up) in highly contested Congressional Districts
- To achieve the maximal impact on a selected Congressional Race, the Senior Vote Committee selected districts that meet one or serveral of the listed conditions below:
- District is within the jurisdiction of, or close proximity to, a significant density of CARA members or a CARA Action Team (CAT)
- Race projection is within 2 points or less
- Voter Registration #’s include a substantial amount of NPPs, or neither party has an overwhelming edge in registration
- One or both candidates’ platform and or body of work closely align or severely misalign with CARA’s foundational goals to uplift seniors and people with disabilities
- CARA can successfully recruit a substantial amount of volunteers to fully implement the Senior Vote Campaign (calls, postcards, leafletting, forums, etc.)
- After weeks of deliberation, the Senior Vote Committee elected to target 5 Congressional Districts with the potential to expand to more regions based upon the available resources
- CD 9, Stockton – (Stockton CAT)
- CD 22, Bakersfield – (Bakersfield CAT)
- CD 27, Los Angeles – (LA CATs)
- CD 47, Orange – (Orange CAT)
- CD 49, San Diego (San Diego CAT)
Phase I: Postcarding + 1st Wave of Phone Calls
- CARA Volunteers hand-wrote 5,000 Postcards to NPP senior voters in each of the five targeted races inviting them to participate in the upcoming virtual candidate forum and to anticipate a phone call from one of our volunteers. In total, CARA volunteers wrote and mailed over 25,000 postcards in 2022.
- After the Postcards were mailed to prospective senior voters, CARA volunteers followed up for the first round of introductory phone calls. Each volunteer was assigned a call list of 100 senior voters in their respective district and was responsible for inviting the voter to the upcoming CARA candidate forum. In total, volunteers generated approximately 20,000 calls between Phases I-II
Phase II: Candidate Forums
- CARA hosted virtual candidate forums statewide in 2022 to provide an opportunity for CARA members, senior voters and the general public to engage directly with the candidates seeking their vote. Many of the individual forums included candidates for state and local offices in addition to the Senior Vote Congressional races.
Phase III: Leafletting + 2nd Wave of Phone Calls
- After the CARA Executive Board approved endorsements for the 2022 Ballot Initiatives, CARA produced digital and printed materials with the completed candidate questionnaires combined with the ballot initiative endorsements.
- CARA Volunteers distributed these materials within the five Senior Vote districts at community and Labor sponsored events in addition to leafletting in public spaces.
- 2nd Wave of Phone Calls to senior voters to inform them of CARA’s positions on ballot initiatives to remind them to vote.