As I get myself up to speed on the realities of recall, I understand now why only one person (Victor Head) has ever accomplished the task: MONEY! As the recall playbook is currently written, costs for recall campaigns can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Very few districts can fund that kind of expense. The frustration and desire of so many Coloradoans to recall our current Democratic legislators is at a level I've never seen in the 40 years I've lived here. Yet the costs to do so make the venture a virtual no-win situation.
But where there's a will, there's a way. In Star Trek lore that 'way' was known as 'The Kobayashi Maru Solution.' You'll have to look it up but basically the lesson was, "when the rules are stacked against you...change the rules." So that's what we've done. We've changed the recall rules by building a 'Pre-Register Your Recall Vote' tool on the Radical website.
If you read my Colorado Redprint article, I talked about the four steps business people usually go through when evaluating a new market opportunity. The fourth step was 'Get Your Checkbook or Line of Credit ready!' So last week I asked Ben Engen of Constellation Political Consulting to give me a detailed cost estimate for my House District 18 recall attempt.
I can't say enough about Ben and the professional help, guidance and education he's given me on recall campaigns. Ben came back with a detailed, soup to nuts, eight page breakdown of the estimated costs for the House District 18 recall attempt, under the current format that recalls are done.
I was stunned. I won't give you the exact number but let's just say it was a multiple 100K estimate. Here's what was even more eye opening: two thirds of the cost was earmarked to pay circulators to collect signatures. Going out into the public to collect signatures for a recall petition is not easy and I have a ton of respect for the people that do this work. But it's such a horrendously inefficient, time consuming and expensive way to collect signatures. If only there was a better way.
I believe there is. I'm hoping when my fellow Coloradoans see the plan, they'll agree. Up to now, getting petitions signed has always been a matter of circulators going out into the community, searching for signers. We know there's enough of you out there, Victor proved that by doing the near impossible, finding 13,000+ approved signatures, one at a time. A truly herculean effort on Victor and his team's part.
But what if instead of going out in a purely hit or miss fashion in search of signers, we instead asked you to digitally raise your hand, tell us who you are, where we can find you, and how to get in touch with you?
Welcome To 'Pre-Register Your Recall Vote.' Objective #1: 30 Seconds, 3 Clicks.
Our 'Pre-Register' feature can be a game changing way recalls are conducted. All we need is thirty seconds of your time. Follow the instructions in Objective #1 on the Home page and you've done your part to 'Kobayashi Maru' the current recall protocol for petition signing!
As pre-registrations come in, we'll now be able to parse people into their districts, geo-locate groups of people within those districts, and set up petition signing stations nearby. With the contact information you provided (email/text, both), we'll be able to let you know where and what times we'll be close by.
If successful, it will be a faster, more efficent, less stressful way to gather signatures. Most importantly, it will dramatically reduce the cost of a recall campaign. Our hope is to have tens of thousands of Coloradoans help us out by using our Pre-Register tool. The more that use it, the more powerful we become!
Sometimes the best solution is the one hiding in plain sight. The shock of that cost estimate Ben gave me was the precursor to the 'Pre-Register' idea that popped into my head 48 hours later. It's a beautifully simple, yet incredibly powerful concept. It was right there in front of me the whole time, but I didn't see it until the no-win cost scenario of Ben's proposal smacked me in the face.
Thank you Captain Kirk for the help in solving our Kobayashi Maru problem. I loved that show!