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Sample Scripts for Deep Canvassing: Signature Gathering and Voter Research

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Published: Mar 23, 2022

A field experiment on deep canvassing conducted in 2016 shows that a 10-minute conversation can reduce prejudice for three months.

This 10-minute conversation is what we call deep canvassing.

In deep canvassing, the conversation starts with exploring voters’ opinions on the issue. Canvassers listen at first and then begin exploring personal experiences to get the voter to connect with the problem. In the process, canvassers share their personal experiences or of someone they know.

An excellent deep canvassing script sounds like a natural conversation and includes all the elements in the correct order. In this article, let’s see the basic format of the same and a few samples.

Basic components of a deep canvassing script

deep canvassing script basic components

Here are the most common and essential elements of a deep canvassing script:

  1. Introduce yourself, ask the voter’s opinion on the issue and explore it. For example, “Hi, I am <name>. How’re you doing today?…” The introduction is what impacts your voter’s decisions because it sets the stage for the rest of the conversation.
  2. Ask the voter about their personal experiences around the issue at hand. 
  3. Connect this personal experience to the voter’s opinion and find a common value to connect with your candidate.
  4. Address their concerns and help them realize why it’s essential to take a specific action.
  5. Ask the voter’s final opinion of the issue. This helps you gauge the impact you made.

Deep canvassing script samples for different use cases

Let’s see the sample deep canvassing scripts for the two common use cases: signature gathering and voter research or canvassing for votes. These scripts can be modified and used for different use cases for your political campaigns.

Deep canvassing script for signature gathering

Introduction

Hi, <voter_name>! I’m a volunteer with <organization_name>. We’re talking to voters in your area about a law protecting transgender people from discrimination in schools. This law was passed last year. However, we’ve observed violations of the law in multiple neighborhoods. 

What are your views on this issue?

Voter shares their views.

With your knowledge on this issue, what’s your opinion on introducing stricter measures in the event of violations of the law?

If they are against it,

A year ago, I was exactly where you are right now. It can be challenging to put yourself in their shoes. I met a couple of other people who were against this law. 

I request you to watch this short clip of a transgender kid sharing one of the experiences they had with the people of <area>.

If they support it,

It’s great to know that you’re with us.

Personal experiences

I just want to know if you know anyone personally who is transgender? Or at least interacted with one? 

If they say ‘Yes’, ask the following questions:

  1. How do you know them? 
  2. What did you think when you learned that this person is transgender?
  3. What are this person’s hobbies?

If they say ‘No’, ask the following questions:

  1. What came to your mind when you saw <transgender_person_name_from_the_video> share their experience? 
  2. How does this compare with what you’ve heard about transgender people?

I know someone who is transgender. Their name is <name>. <name> was born as a boy but realized was a girl at a very young age. This one time…  

<Explain why being included was important to <name>. Ask the voter what their thoughts are after you share your story.> 

Connect the personal experience to the voter’s opinion

Can you tell me about a time when you were treated unfairly or even differently, including your race, financial status, body type, language fluency, etc.?

After they share their experience,

How did you feel about that?

If they haven’t had such an experience,

Have you ever witnessed this kind of judgment with anyone you know? What do you think about that?

They share their thoughts.

This one time… <share a personal story>

This law is essential because it gives every citizen a chance to live with dignity and respect. This could help someone we know personally someday.

What do you think about that?

Address their concerns

Earlier, you rated a <rate> regarding your support. What is your stance on the issue now? What do you think you would do if you were in the place of <name of the person from the video/story you shared>? 

If they still seem doubtful, 

Let me share a harsh truth with you. <percentage> of children in America drop out of school because of the discrimination and abuse they face.

<number> countries have implemented this practice to stop the verbal and physical abuse and discrimination of transgender people. There are very few transgender people who have completed their education. 

I support this law because… <Add your personal reason>

Ask the voter’s final opinion

Now that you know about this issue much better, will you sign this petition in support of introducing stricter measures and penalties for discrimination against transgender kids in schools? 

If they say yes,

That’s amazing! Thank you so much! I would love to understand your views on this in further detail. What’s the best number to reach you?

If they say no,

That’s okay. Would it be okay if I contact you to understand your views on this in further detail? What’s the best number to reach you?

Deep canvassing script for voter research or election canvassing

Introduction

Hi, my name is <volunteer_name>. I’m a volunteer at <organization_name>. We’re talking about the upcoming election on <date> with voters in your neighborhood. I’d like to know your views and thoughts on the upcoming election so that we can make your experience better. 

How likely are you to vote for <candidate>?

Voter answers with a positive or negative response.

If positive,

That’s great to know, <voter_name>. Could you tell me why?

Voter answers.

I see; thank you for sharing. Who did you vote for in the last election?

If negative,

I see. Could you tell me why?

Voter answers.

I understand; thank you for sharing. Who did you vote for in the last election?

Voter answers. If the voter voted,

What was your reason for voting <candidate>?

If the voter did not vote,

Could you tell me why you did not vote?

Personal views

With <your_candidate> as our representative,

<Ask the following questions one by one>

  1. How do you like the progress our county/district/state/nation is making? 
  2. How do you hope for the county/district/state/nation to change?
  3. What do you think we, as a nation, need to focus on the most?

Connect the personal views to the voter’s opinion

Share a personal experience or your views on your candidate that align with what the voter is looking for in a leader.

Address their concerns

<candidate>’s manifesto has <concern> in his/her list of priorities. I have also made a note of your concern and will share it with the concerned members. 

Ask the voter’s final opinion

It was wonderful talking to you. Now that you know about <candidate> and their plan well, how likely are you to vote for <candidate>?

If there is progress,

That’s amazing! I would love to understand your views on this in further detail. What’s the best number to reach you?

So, those were two sample scripts for deep canvassing, which you can modify and use for multiple use cases.

Can you do deep canvassing through phone?

Studies show that deep canvassing is effective when done in person through door-to-door canvassing and over the phone. With people going to work and active on their phones with 5.11 billion unique mobile users worldwide, you may have better chances of reaching them on the phone than at their door.

Here are some other advantages of deep canvassing through the phone:

  • Your voters have the freedom to talk on their own terms and reschedule the call if necessary.
  • You can use volunteers from any geographic area with a reduced time and effort.
  • You don’t have to restrict your canvassing efforts to only evenings and weekends.

The scripts you see in this article are also suitable for phone canvassing. Here’s a complete guide on phone canvassing.

Featured image: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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