What is Elect 535?
Elect535 provides a single source to find, research, and support candidates for the US Senate and House of Representatives who reflect your values and priorities, enabling you to influence races throughout the country. Creating a“dream team” to support, with your dollars and your time, is as easy as booking a flight, all done conveniently from your desktop.
How Do I use the tool?
Find Candidates You Love
You can start with one of our “pre-canned” lists based upon your interests: Want to elect more women? Or perhaps you want to take out the House Freedom Caucus? We’ve got a filter for that! Want to support LGBTQ candidates? Latino? We’ve got those too. The 2020 cycle features Flip the Senate and hold the House targeted lists.
In addition to pre-canned lists, we have a set of intuitive filters similar to what you’d use in online shopping, to locate candidates and districts. For example, find all Republican held seats where Clinton won. Then instantly see democratic challengers in those districts and how much money each of them has raised.
It only makes sense to throw your support behind candidates that have a shot at winning. Our district and financial stats help you determine viability. For example, in order to be viable, the candidate needs to raise a reasonable minimum amount of contributions to be able to get out the word about her/his candidacy. The amount depends on what media market the district is in, and how much the incumbent has raised. But to give a sense of scale, the average congressional race costs over $2M.
For our pre-canned "themes" we only display candidates who have raised at least $100K, unless they have won their primary or recieved a national endorsement.
It is also unlikely that a democratic challenger will be able to flip a seat that is solidly Republican. (Any more than a Republican could take a seat that is solidly democratic). Our PVI and Trump Margin stats provide some insight into the Partisan state of the district. (Check out our definitions of PVI and Trump Margin in our Terminology guide if you are unfamiliar with the terms).
Our rule of thumb is that any district with a PVI over R+12 or D+10 is considered likely too partisan to flip. This is especially the case if the Trump Margin is over the PVI. That means the voters in that district REALLY like Trump. The reverse is true for Democratic seats. (Those where the Trump Margin is lower than the PVI indicate that although Republican, the voters there are less enthusiastic about the current white house occupant.)
Build Your Dream Team Portfolio
When you find candidates you love,simply add them to your portfolio, where you can manage them like you would a stock portfolio. Think of it as an investment protfolio for your country's future.
Support your portfolio with your dollars and your time. You can donate on the spot to your entire slate of candidates (or any part of it), or sign up with a single click for virtual volunteering opportunities. Examples include texting and phoning registered Democrats to let them know about the race. With the right tools and strategy, we can take back the congress from Big Money interests and build a representative government that reflects our values and priorities. Let’s Elect 535!
Who We Are
Elect 535 was founded by a team of concerned citizens turned activists after the 2016 elections. We met through an Indivisible group that formed in Lexington, MA, the birthplace of American Democracy. We concluded that if we truly wanted to improve the quality of government, we needed to change who represented us in Congress. We are researchers and analysts by training, so we researched candidates, not just in our own district, but across the country, and created tools to analyze races and candidates. We used these to help our groups select candidates to support and we decided we should make these tools and data available for everyone. We are united in the fervant desire to restore our democracy by building 21st century tools to educate and enable citizens about the candidates that will represent all of us.
The Founding Team
Michelle Olson (CEO) founded IA out of her fervent belief that in order to restore the health of our democracy the current composition of the US Congress must be changed. She co-founded Minuteman Indivisible in 2017 and is one of the lead organizers of the Indivisible MA coalition. Her focus has been on the 2018 electoral strategy including statewide electoral strategies workshops and working with other groups in developing their electoral efforts. Michelle is a former Wall Street strategist and entrepreneur, with an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School.
Rina Schneur (CIO) is a research lead at Minuteman Indivisible and launched a Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety group in 2017. Rina is a Data Scientist, was a director of Business Analytics at Verizon, and co-founded Emptoris, Inc. She is the former president of Informs, an analytics professional organization. She holds an MSc and PhD from MIT.
And a Team of Many! We have a team of over 20 volunteers: developers, product designers, writers, and researchers. They have generously donated their services to bring Elect535 to reality. They come to this project with impressive and diverse professional backgrounds. All are dedicated to restoring our democracy and generously give their time in that effort.
For more information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org