Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Measure 92 - Lessons Learned

Photo: Thank YOU! The Yes on Measure 92 campaign is ending its efforts. While we have accomplished much, Measure 92 will not emerge victorious in this election. But our growing movement to label genetically engineered foods is neither defeated nor discouraged.
On Tuesday we went to court in a final attempt to have 4,600 uncounted ballots opened and counted in this race. The judge agreed that leaving thousands of ballots uncounted in this election will cause irreparable harm to those voters and to the Measure 92 campaign. But he ultimately ruled that Oregon law didn’t allow him to issue the order to stop the count.We have examined all legal options and have found there are none that could succeed in getting the remaining votes counted before the election is certified. Challenging election results is permitted in Oregon, but a successful challenge doesn’t change the outcome of that election. It simply sets aside the results and orders a new election be held.
Given the razor-thin margin in this race, and the failure to count every valid ballot, we believe that Oregonians will never know for sure the true outcome of this race. That said, we intend to abide by the judge’s decision and will not pursue any further legal action. 
If this race proves anything, it’s that people from every county in Oregon and across the country care deeply about our right to know what’s in the food we eat – and while we didn’t win this election, we grew in strength and number and now hundreds of thousands of voters share our belief that genetically engineered food should be labeled.
Throughout this race, we have been awed by the deep commitment and unfailing hard work of the supporters and activists who believed in Measure 92. You always stepped up when we needed you, and we really can’t thank you enough.
We’ll be in touch over the coming weeks with more ways you can continue to help the labeling movement.

We’re not done. We’re just getting started! #LabelGMOs #yeson92 #righttoknow

What are the lessons learned working for the Yes On 92 campaign? 

We're having a debrief next Monday so the campaign hasn't officially figured this out yet. 

Here's my personal two cents.

I'd also not like to become part of any rumor mill. I don't want to contribute to a lot of the cannibalization that happens after we lose and we try to blame each other in a way that just creates strife and doesn't improve collaboration. 

We are only going to win if people recognize both the power of the unpaid grassroots and the power of funded campaign people all working together and counting on each other. 

I think what it basically comes down to is better coordination with volunteers (it was a marked improvement from WA but still, clearly room for more improvement). 

We need to keep educating voters constantly until next time, which, hopefully, will be 2016. 

With the higher turn out, higher level of educated voters and even more integrated and organized campaign I think winning will be hard, but definitely doable that year, there will also be funding (groups should be ready to go again by then). 

Another thing I would have done is utilized spokespeople (like farmers, moms, doctors, food company allies etc.) more and more effectively. 

Also: technically, if those 4,600 ballots had been counted we would have won this time. It was very close. We were winning two weeks out and then the opposition dumped an additional 8 million in almost one fell swoop. 

Competing against lies and a relatively uneducated electorate (people largely didn't know what a GMO was and so didn't have strong feelings on the issue and were therefore easily swayed by the oppositions compelling lies) is always going to be a really tough battle. 

And while it sucks to loose this campaign scared the shit out of the opposition and proved that it really is only a matter or time before we actually win. 

Every time we do this the voters are going to become harder to trick because they are actually learning about the issue. 

I'm not happy we lost and I think if we'd run a better campaign we could have won (perfection is hard to attain), it was always going to be close and it sucks to barely lose, but we definitely changed the game and created some progress, just not as much as we hoped. 

I don't want to (and no one on the campaign from what I can gather) make excuses, we will take a hard honest look at what could have been done better. 

But to flat out say the campaign fucked up and we lost feels super counterproductive and doesn't help anything get better. 

People, on every level of this campaign I can say with utter confidence had the absolute best intentions and did the best they could (this doesn't mean they were perfect, but they meant well and did their best and put in 110%). Everyone I've worked with is very open to admitting mistakes and making things better.

Lastly, I'd like to say that Colorado was what a 100% grassroots effort looks like and it wasn't pretty. A funded campaign with a powerful and organized grassroots, done well, is how we're going to win this thing.

Who is going to maintain the Yes On 92 social networks? The Yes On 522 website was deleted. Will this happen to the Yes On 92 website, too?

Not sure, I imagine this will be part of our debrief plans. From the beginning the campaign director said she wanted to make sure that what ever they build should go on to help keep the movement going. 

The thing about the website: everyone knows it's kinda crappy. Not the best tool anyway and who's going to pay to keep it updated and do the administration. Right? So we've got some figuring out to do. 

Also I was wrong about the date of the debrief. We're having a meeting next week to do some wrap up and to schedule a larger (hopefully in person) debrief as early as possible next year. As for the other social networks we'll have a discussion about that as well. We didn't plan this out up front though.

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