BY EDWARD YUTKOWITZ | As they have in past years, New York City political clubs and other progressive organizations have joined forces to help elect Democrats in New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Vote Blue 2022 coalition is sending buses of volunteers to encourage registered Democrats in swing districts in a 100-mile radius of New York City to vote for their party’s candidates for Congress — and, in Pennsylvania, to “vote blue” up and down the ticket. The buses, which generally leave from 24 Union Square East (between 15th and 16th Streets), will run every weekend from now till Election Day, Tues., Nov. 8.
“The goal is to defend and expand Democratic majorities in Congress, and in Pennsylvania to replace a Republican senator with a Democrat and maintain Democratic control of the governorship,” said Kate Linker, a principal organizer of Vote Blue 2022. “The Republicans are extremists who threaten American democracy. To win, we have to get out the vote, and that entails in-person canvassing in swing districts, as well as phone- and text-banking.”
No prior experience is required to join the canvassing effort. Volunteers will be trained on the buses and at campaign field offices. Vote Blue will provide lunch. Since significant walking will be involved, volunteers should wear comfortable shoes and bring fully charged cell phones. They’re encouraged to become familiar with the candidates for whom they’ll be campaigning.
To help pay for the buses, volunteers are being asked for a $10 contribution but the fee can be waived for students and those who can’t afford it. Vote Blue 2022 is also asking
organizations and individuals for contributions to help sustain the campaign effort.
Last weekend, Vote Blue’s inaugural bus went to a competitive and crucial district in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to campaign for Democratic congressional candidate Ashley Ehasz, U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro.
This coming Saturday, Sept. 24, at 8 a.m., Vote Blue will send two buses of volunteers to canvass for Susan Wild in Pennsylvania’s CD-7 and Pat Ryan in New York’s CD-18, respectively.
More information about Vote Blue, the full schedule of buses and how to volunteer can be found at votebluenyc.org.
“The country is at a critical juncture. There are threats to the heart of our democracy,” said Melissa Carty, a leader of the out-of-district campaign effort for Village Independent Democrats, one of New York City’s most prestigious progressive political clubs. “Critical issues surrounding our voting rights, a woman’s right to choose, the rights of the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community, commonsense gun control, healthcare and education are on the ballot. It’s imperative that Democrats decisively win both the House and the Senate, so that the message is clear that democracy and our rights will be protected.”
Carty is the organizer of “Winning Wednesdays,” the V.I.D. program of weekly text- and phone-banking sessions. Each week’s session begins with a Zoom meeting with a congressional candidate from swing districts in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The sessions take place every Wednesday evening, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., from now till Election Day.
Following the meetings, V.I.D. will phone and text registered Democrats in the congressional districts represented by the evenings’ speakers. Phoning and texting are proven methods to encourage registered voters to commit to going to the polls on election days. V.I.D. will train volunteers before each session.
Scheduled speakers include:
Sept. 14. – Jackie Gordon, NY-2, Long Island
Sept. 21. – Josh Riley, NY-19, Hudson Valley (note: program starts at 6 p.m.)
Sept. 28. – Max Rose, NY-11, Staten Island
Oct. 5. – Matt Cartwright, PA-8, Pennsylvania
Oct. 12. – Tom Malinowski, NJ-7, New Jersey
Oct. 19. – Pat Ryan, NY-18, Hudson Valley
Oct. 26. – Not yet scheduled
Nov. 2. – Robert Zimmerman, NY-3, Long Island (tentative)
To learn more about V.I.D.’s “Winning Wednesday” programs, visit VillageDemocrats.org or e-mail Melissa Carty at firstname.lastname@example.org.