Swing Left/Swing Blue – Environmental Voter Project

Over the transom today from Alex Smullin and the local Swing Left organizers. The work is everywhere. Thanks to all who are participating to save our democracy!


Dear Swing Left North Shore/ Cape Ann – 

We sent about 10,000 postcards to VA – to encourage early voting, get out the vote for Virginia Beach House of Delegate candidates and test a message to motivate voters concerned about climate change to oust their Republican state Delegate who had voted against important climate measures.

Everyone is focused on VA for the next three weeks and there are a lot of great actions to join. While we will have one more postcard project before election day, possibly on the Freedom to Vote Act, please try to join in at least one of the activities below being conducted by the most effective grassroots organizations to make sure we win in VA:


Getting out the core voter is critical in low-turnout elections like Virginia’s upcoming elections on November 2nd. Republicans are working to win back the governor’s seat and the state legislature. Early voting has already started! Swing Blue Alliance is working with Sister District MA/RI to call voters to give them information about early mail-in and in-person voting and recruiting volunteers to canvass.

Join a Sister District MA/RI phone bank Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.


We have postcarded with the Center for Common Ground/Reclaim our Vote – this year in VA and in many places last year. They will end their postcarding for VA next week but will be phonebanking and texting right up to Election Day. If you’re interested in participating in either of those campaigns, you can find all the information you need to get started on the Phonebanking and Texting pages of their website. The platforms they use make both activities very easy to do. The Thursday briefing this week (Thursday, October 14) will include a demonstration of the phonebanking platform and possibly the texting one, in case you want to check it out. 


Here’s why the Environmental Voter Project is making a difference in Virginia:

  • Short-term Results: We’ve been working year-round in VA to turn over 500,000 low propensity environmental voters into consistent voters. Randomized controlled trials show we increased turnout of our targets by +0.7 percentage points in VA’s June 8 primary and we also boosted vote-by-mail sign-ups by +0.2.
  • Long-term Results: By the end of 2020, a stunning 37,225 of the non-voting and seldom-voting environmentalists we’d targeted since 2019 had become consistent voters who now vote in federal, state, and even local elections.
  • Our Targets are Already Voting Early!: Voter file updates show that a stunning 23,026 of the voters we’re targeting have already voted early for the upcoming Nov. 2 election. None of these environmentalists had ever voted in an odd year election before!

With just a few clicks you can make a difference by donating to help mobilize environmental voters in Virginia or signing up for a Get-Out-The-Vote shift


Glenn Youngkin’s extremism stands at stark opposition to the values of Virginia voters, but unless we’re able to increase voter turnout in the upcoming election, he has a chance of beating Terry McAuliffe!

Sign up now to help get out the vote in Virginia by calling or texting voters – the election is just a few weeks away! 

Let me know how it goes – if you send a brief report of your experience I can share them and hopefully that will encourage others to give it a try.   Let’s head in to 2022 with a big win in VA!!

Thanks! Alix


Rockport Democratic Town Committee Meeting, October 16th, 10am

How exciting!  We are going to meet in person on Saturday, October 16th!  😊

The Rockport Democratic Town Committee will gather at 10:00 AM in the Community Room of the Rockport Police Station, 168 Main Street, on Saturday, October 16th, to hear reports from the recent State Democratic Convention  and to plan for the next few months of 2021.

All Rockport residents registered as Democrats are encouraged to attend. 

(Please remember that mask wearing is currently required for those entering public buildings in Rockport.)

We look forward to seeing you then!

Suellen Wedmore, Communicating Secretary for RDTC

Swing Left Climate related Postcard event – Rockport, Sept 21

Our local Swing Left group is organizing another round of postcard writing. The Rockport event is on Sept 21st, but there are events around the Cape.

I will let the group explain in a letter that came over the transom this morning, from Swing Left.

… I think that most of our projects between now and November will be geared toward the VA state elections – to make sure we hold the VA House of Delegates and elect Democrats to statewide office.

Through our Swing Left Greater Boston (now Swing Blue Alliance) contacts, I have signed on to a project being conducted by Sister District Action Network.  The project is a well-designed experiment to determine if voters who have high scores in support of a specific issue and who don’t always vote will turn out in greater number (and hopefully in opposition) if they know that their Republican incumbent votes against their position on that issue. If this turns out to be effective it could be a great tool in 2022. If you want the details, go to the last section of these slides (the section entitled “Votes and Values):  Sister District Postcard Program training slides.  

Our postcards will be to voters who are strongly in favor of addressing climate change.

I have 100 packets of 25 postcards and hope to get them all out next week so we can do another round.  You will need to return them to the pickup host or me because they will be sent to a central location and mailed from VA. $2.50/packet to me and you will need 25 postcard stamps (and let me know if you want more than one packet in the convenient spot at the sign up link!).Pick up schedule and RSVP links:

SALEM:  Monday, Sept 20, 10am-6pm, at Chris Malstrom’s, 45 Essex St (Pick up on patio off Hardy Street), RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414108/

MARBLEHEAD: Tuesday, Sept 21, 10am-6pm, at Lynn Nadeau’s, 10 Surf St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414110/

ROCKPORT: Tuesday, Sept 21, 3pm-6pm, at Diane Vella’s, 17 King St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414284/

BEVERLY: Wednesday, Sept 22, 10am-6pm, at Ruth Rich’s, 63 Baker Ave, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414288/

MANCHESTER: Wednesday, Sept 22, 10am-6pm, at Sandy Bodmer-Turner’s , 89 School St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414289/

GLOUCESTER: Thursday, Sept 23, 10am-6pm, at Elizabeth Bish’s 18 Perkins St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414290/

SWAMPSCOTT: Thursday, Sept 23, 10am-6pm, at Alix Smullin’s, 22 Woodbine Ave, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/414294/

Thanks!!! Chris, Lynn, Diane, Ruth, Sandy, Elizabeth and Alix “

Martha Gach Trees & Climate Change

This is a great presentation about the value of trees in the fight to control the effects of climate change, that was given recently to the Rockport Garden Club https://rockportgardenclub.org/.

A big contribution to the future of your neighborhood, street and the world can be made simply by planting and nurturing the right trees and bushes in your own yard.

If you are a new homeowner in town, our local garden club is not just the group that makes the town properties look so fabulous, although they are that. They are also leaders in town efforts to combat climate change, preserve wetlands, and reduce contamination of our water table and runoff into the ocean.

And, they have a hardworking volunteer Invasive Species group that helps homeowners follow the proper process necessary to rid their property of invasive growth in a safe and legal manner and plant service providing trees and bushes in its wake.

INVEST in America Act – working its way through the Senate

The US Senate worked through the weekend to advance HR 3684, the INVEST in America Act. This page describes the current state of H.R. 3684, its Cosponsors, Text and Amendments.


Brief summary from congress.gov:

Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act or the INVEST in America Act

This bill addresses provisions related to federal-aid highway, transit, highway safety, motor carrier, research, hazardous materials, and rail programs of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Among other provisions, the bill

  • extends FY2021 enacted levels through FY2022 for federal-aid highway, transit, and safety programs;
  • reauthorizes for FY2023-FY2026 several surface transportation programs, including the federal-aid highway program, transit programs, highway safety, motor carrier safety, and rail programs;
  • addresses climate change, including strategies to reduce the climate change impacts of the surface transportation system and a vulnerability assessment to identify opportunities to enhance the resilience of the surface transportation system and ensure the efficient use of federal resources;
  • revises Buy America procurement requirements for highways, mass transit, and rail;
  • establishes a rebuild rural bridges program to improve the safety and state of good repair of bridges in rural communities;
  • implements new safety requirements across all transportation modes; and
  • directs DOT to establish a pilot program to demonstrate a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee to restore and maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and achieve and maintain a state of good repair in the surface transportation system.’

Postcards for early voting – multiple opportunities

From Swing Left North Shore/Cape Ann – 

I hope you are all having a great summer AND can find a little time for postcarding!!!

I was on a call with Andrea Miller at Reclaim our Vote last week and she projected that to maintain pro-voting rights statewide officer holders and House of Delegates in VA, turnout might have to be HIGHER than in the presidential race!!!!! With 45 days of early voting (starting Sept. 17) it is time to get started. (Remember, Reclaim our Vote is a non-profit. We will be writing to inconsistent voters in communities of color where they will disproportionately support the Democratic candidates.)  Mail date Sept. 1.

Pick up packets of 30 postcards ($3 – cash, check or Venmo @Alix-Smullin) and you’ll need 30 36-cent stamps (you may want to order a bunch postal rates increase August 29). Smaller packets than the last few projects – but more writing.

SALEM Monday, August 9, 10am-6pm, home of Chris M, 45 Essex St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405246/

ROCKPORT Tuesday, August 10, 3-6pm, home of Diane V, 17 King St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405247/

MANCHESTER Wednesday, August 11, 4-7pm, home of Sandy B-T, 89 School St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405251/

MARBLEHEAD Wednesday, August 11, 10am-6pm, home of Lynn N, 10 Surf St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405250/

GLOUCESTER Thursday, August 12, 10am-6pm, home of Liz B, 18 Perkins St, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405256/

SWAMPSCOTT Thursday, August 12, 10am-6pm, home of Alix S, 22 Woodbine Ave, RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/405255/

IF YOU SEE A PACKET MARKED S1 – NH OR DE – and you could get it right out please feel free to take it instead or in addition – we have a few to finish up sooner rather than later. The Reclaim our Vote don’t need to be mailed until Sept 1 (and not earlier).

Thanks!!!! Alix, Chris, Diane, Liz, Lynn, and Sandy

S1 – Swing Left Postcard event July 20th

Swing Left North Shore/Cape Ann is working again with Common Cause and Swing Blue Alliance on S1 – this time writing to activists in Delaware and asking them to call Sen. Coons and make sure he is doing EVERYTHING to pass *S1. Sen. Coons is a good friend of Pres. Biden so his enthusiastic support for S1 and doing what has to be done with regard to the filibuster to get it passed is one more important step in this process!  

ROCKPORT, Tuesday, July 20, 3-6pm, Diane Vella’s

RSVP https://www.mobilize.us/swingleftnorthshore/event/401597/

Packets of 50 cards with address labels and very short message – $5 to me for the postcards (cash, check or Venmo @Alix-Smullin) – and of course you will need 50 36-cent postcard stamps.

Please use the links above to RSVP – for other questions email alix.smullin@gmail.com or text 781-696-6188.

Thanks, Alix, Ruth, Diane, Sandy, Chris, Liz, and Lynn

*NOTE:  S1

Introduced in Senate (03/17/2021)

For the People Act of 2021

This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government. 

Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.

The bill requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting.

Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including sharing intelligence information with state election officials, supporting states in securing their election systems, developing a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions, establishing in the legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions, and other provisions to improve the cybersecurity of election systems.

Further, the bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.

The bill addresses ethics in all three branches of government, including by requiring a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, prohibiting Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity, and establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for federal employees and the White House.

The bill requires the President, the Vice President, and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.

RDTC Caucus and Meeting July 24

The Rockport Democratic Town Committee will gather at 10:00 AM in the Community Room of the Rockport Police Station, 168 Main Street, on Saturday, July 24th, to caucus to elect delegates to the State Democratic Convention in Lowell on September 25th.  Sign-in will begin at 10:00 AM with the caucus beginning promptly at 10:30. 

Co-chairs Mary Francis and Tom Delaney propose devoting time in the general meeting that will follow the caucus, to share our concerns as well as our hopes for the future of the RDTC. 

All Rockport residents currently registered as Democrats are invited to attend both caucus and general meeting.  

We hope to see you there!

Big Data in Small Slices w/ Dianne Finch-Claydon

Democracy depends on good storytelling. Getting your facts right is always important, but in a democratic government, we need more than good data. We need to be able to organize, explore, and convey complex information in ways that humans understand, retain and can use to make predictions from. We need to be able to convince normal non-data trained voters to make the best decisions for the future of our town, our state, our nation and our world.

Luckily, humans are very good at grasping and retaining visual images. So if your story has compelling and informative accompanying images, it has a much better chance of being remembered. Politicians, marketers and religious organizations have known this for a long time.

Rockporter Dianne Finch-Clayton Spoke recently to the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library on her new book Big Data in Small Slices and its accompanying website.

This presentation introduces data visualization itself in nice chewable pieces and serves as a great introduction to a field that has more importance every day.

If you want to learn more about data visualization and how to tell stories from data, this youtube playlist might be a good start.