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E-Mail Used To Motivate Voters


November 3, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) — "GETTING OUT THE VOTE IS THE KEY!" wrote the Republican National Committee on e-mail sent Thursday. "LESS THAN ONE WEEK TO GO!" "PASS THIS E-MAIL ALONG AND HELP AL GORE WIN THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA'S WORKING FAMILIES," a "Gore mail" said.

The presidential campaigns - from Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore to Green candidate Ralph Nader and the Reform Party's Pat Buchanan - are sending breathless e-mails to inspire potential voters to go to the polls on Tuesday.

"PLEASE HELP MAKE CERTAIN WE HAVE THE POLLS COVERED ON ELECTION DAY," an e-mail for Buchanan said, asking for volunteers to hand out pamphlets.

After all, e-mail is cheap, fast and can reach thousands - and eventually millions - with the click of the mouse.

"We're now in the home stretch of our historic run to establish the Green Party as a permanent and prominent pro-democracy force on the national political stage," Nader wrote to supporters. "I'm writing to you with an appeal for support to make sure we accomplish all that we can, and must."

The Democrats plan to reach out to 30 million people by e-mail to get out the vote, through a 1.5 million-name database assembled by the Gore campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The campaign also has an instant messaging system, where supporters can organize by typing each other messages in real time.

For instance, a message could say, "My mom wants to vote for Gore, but I can't get to the poll, can you come and get her?" Gore spokesman Doug Hattaway said.

The Republican National Committee plans to counter using an e-mail database of 810,000 names and growing. If people forward the e-mail to friends, Republicans hope to reach "easily 5 to 10 million folks," said spokesman Larry Purpuro.

Some messages, particularly Buchanan's, are chatty notes with a get-out-the-vote punch line. Others are pleas to stop the opposition.

"Please join our team to ensure a Gore-Lieberman victory and prevent a return to the Bush-Quayle-Cheney era," a Gore e-mail said.

Others use capital letters and exclamation points when they want to shout at a reader. Still some just play it straight.

As a Bush message said Tuesday: "7 - Days until the election."

"1 - Chance to be the difference on November 7."

Katherine Pfleger, Associated Press Writer


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