PERE Publications

Moments, Movements, and Momentum: Engaging Voters, Scaling Power, Making Change

By Manuel Pastor, Gihan Perera, and Madeline Wander

March 2013

While many have commented on the dynamics at play in the 2012 presidential election – from the changing electorate to voter suppression to micro-targeting – one important story has been under-told: how an emerging grassroots organizing strategy called “Integrated Voter Engagement” (IVE) built on the moment of the elections to create momentum for larger and lasting change.

Moments, Movements, and Momentum: Engaging Voters, Scaling Power, Making Change lifts up this story by focusing on how IVE played out in the battleground state of Florida (with a nod towards similar efforts in California, Ohio, and Virginia) through an unprecedented partnership between Florida New Majority (FNM) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). It draws on over 40 interviews as well as the on-the-ground knowledge and experience of co-author and FNM co-founder Gihan Perera.

With the elections behind us, why does this story matter? Unlike traditional electoral organizing, IVE does not stop once the votes are counted. This recent iteration of IVE – IVE 2.0 – is about building state-level power – a strategic scale that matters for both deepening grassroots engagement and building towards national impact. It requires year-round resources for continued innovation and maturation, and the report makes a series of recommendations for the field and for philanthropy.

One key recommendation: protect the vote itself. That every voice is equal and everyone should stand and be counted has always been a radical idea – and the efforts in Florida, California, Ohio, and elsewhere are an attempt to make real the often-unfulfilled promise that has been at the heart of the American experiment. 

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Recommended reading

“The Lesson of 2012? It Was Never About Obama, It Was About Us.”

By Gihan Perera and Manuel Pastor
December 20, 2012

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