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  • Glenda Russell

The Power of Deep Canvassing

This is a guest post by Glenda Russell, LGBTQ+ historian and member of Rocky Mountain Equality's Advocacy and Public Policy Committee.

We’ve embarked on an election year. It probably comes as no surprise that LGBTQ+ people — especially trans and nonbinary folks — are the targets of one major political party’s efforts to stir up their base and get out the vote. What may surprise you is that we have a powerful tool for winning elections. But like most effective tools, we need to learn how to use this one.

Deep canvassing was developed by the Leadership LAB at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Led by Dave Fleischer, the group talked with more than 5,000 voters in an effort to figure out why the queer and trans communities rarely won elections, and, more importantly, what would it take for that to change. 

It’s not just our opinion that deep canvassing is an effective tool for winning campaigns, especially when controversial issues are at stake. Think queer and trans rights, reproductive rights, and immigration. Science Magazine, one of the top-tier peer-reviewed academic journals in the world, published a study using gold-standard science to examine the effect deep canvassing has on reducing anti-trans prejudice. The results were spectacular. You can read a brief report on the study here. More deep canvassing studies in other preeminent journals followed. Now, Coloradans — LGBTQ+ and allies alike — can learn how to deep canvas during a Boulder-based training session led by Dave Fleischer. Not only will participants hear about deep canvassing principles, they’ll also have the opportunity to practice how it works and get feedback from Dave and fellow trainees. The process will build a supportive and effective team that will work through the year to establish a base of LGBTQ+ supportive voters and make sure they actually vote.


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