Press

Electoral Vote Initiative

Date: 
January 24, 1999

The Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) today launched a new training initiative to strengthen state and local gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender groups and prepare them to participate effectively in the electoral arena.

One key goal of the Leadership Training Initiative is to prepare state and local organizations to defeat legislative and ballot-based attacks from anti-gay extremists. In the November 1998 elections, right-wing forces won five out of six anti-gay measures on ballots across the country. In the next 15 months, California and at least six other jurisdictions will face similar anti-gay ballot measures.

"We can win these campaigns only if we shift strategies in two critical ways," argued Urvashi Vaid, director of the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "First, we must realize that campaigns are won by votes, not media advertising. The labor-intensive process of voter identification, constituency organizing, and public education are how we will win. Second, we must be well trained in our work. There is no better trainer in our movement than our new senior fellow, Dave Fleischer."

The Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is a think tank dedicated to research, strategic projects, and coalition building to advance the equality and understanding of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. To direct the electoral training initiative, the Policy Institute has named Dave Fleischer to be its second "senior fellow." Fleischer joins Policy Institute founder and senior fellow John D'Emilio.

In 1999, Fleischer will design and implement a series of innovative training interventions to address serious electoral weaknesses in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities across the country. The goal of these interventions is to develop electoral organizing models that will be able to be replicated for years to come. Houston, TX; Dade County, FL; Louisville, KY; Columbus, OH; New York State; and California are among the communities with which Fleischer may be working.

Fleischer is best known for his work at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation, where he created and ran an effective and highly regarded campaign leadership training program for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community from 1993 through 1998.

"Dave Fleischer - with his demonstrated track record of more than 15 years of electoral trainings - is an incredible addition to our Policy Institute," stated Kerry Lobel, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director. "This Leadership Training Initiative will be an invaluable ingredient in our community's efforts to defeat anti-gay initiatives and successfully and proactively organize in the electoral arena," she added.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.