The final stages of your GOTV campaign can get really hectic with the clock ticking fast towards Election Day. As a campaigner, this is the last chance for you to push your supporters to the polls, and doing it right is all the more important.
The motto here should firmly be: ‘Focus only on getting supporters to the polls’. But what exactly is important here and what should you be doing in the last two weeks of your campaign?
In this article, I’ve put down last minute tips to get the most out of your get out the vote efforts.
Re-engage supporters before election day
During the last couple of days before the election, don’t waste time trying to persuade voters; instead, make sure every single one of your identified supporters gets to polls and votes for you. If you’ve gathered supporter level data during the earlier stages of the campaign use it to create walk lists or call lists to re-engage people who rank high on their level of support.
Instruct your GOTV volunteers that canvassing should be quick and to the point; that they should only focus on telling people to vote and provide information or resources they’d need to get to the polls. And if you get through the supporter list in the first couple of days, go through it again with a different channel of communication. Say, if you started with a door to door canvass follow up with a peer to peer texting campaign.
Help your supporters make a plan to vote
Your canvassing efforts, phone calls, or text messages should prompt your supporters to think about their voting plans. It’s not enough for them to make a verbal commitment to vote, you need them to make a plan and stick to it.
To improve turnout, help supporters make a plan for where, when and how they will vote. Having volunteers walk them through these steps will help supporters immensely in understanding the process of getting to the polls and actually voting. Some questions you can ask them are:
- Do you know where your polling location is?
- How are you getting to the polling station?
- Do you need a ride to the polls?
- How will you schedule your day to be able to vote?
Leave out close-ended (yes/no) questions like ‘Are you planning to vote’, and focus on helping them make a game plan for election day.
Make more phone calls
Phone banking is an important part of any campaign’s GOTV efforts because of the inherent personal touch it offers while also being a scalable medium.
There are three important pieces of information you’d want your volunteers to share with contacts:
- The voter’s polling location
- Poll timings
- The necessary identification needed (valid photo ID, voter registration card, drivers license, etc) — depending on individual state laws
While making GOTV calls your aim should be to reach as many supports as possible in the shortest duration. And manually dialing numbers can impede that. To handle higher call volume you can use an automated dialer as it skips bad numbers, busy signals, and voicemails; connecting your volunteers to only those who pick up the phone. Bear in mind to use automated dialers only while reaching out landlines. To reach out to cell phone use Collective Calling or VAN VPN.
[su_lightbox type=”inline” src=”#phone-script”][pivot_button text=”Sample Phone Script”] [/su_lightbox]
[su_lightbox_content id=”#phone-script” style=”text-align:left”]
GOTV Phone Script
Hello, may I speak with <name of voter>?
Hi <name of voter>, this is <your name> I’m a volunteer with <name of candidate> for <election position> in <city/neighborhood>. How are you today?
Great! I’m calling to remind you about the upcoming election and assist you with the same. Do you know where your polling station is?
IF YES: Great! I’m glad we can count on your support for <name of candidate> on Tuesday. Do you know what time you are planning to vote: morning, afternoon, or evening?
That sounds great! As a reminder, polls are open from <mention time>. Do you need a ride to vote, information on parking areas, or public transportation information?
If yes: Give them the information they need and thank them for their time.
If no: Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to seeing you at the polls!
IF NO: No need to worry. Can I help you figure out where and when you can vote this Tuesday?
If yes: Help them plan to vote (i.e. time of day, where their polling place is, will they walk, drive, etc.).
If no: Is there anything we can do to help you get to the vote? Do you need a ride to the polls or information about public transportation?
Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to seeing you at the polls! [/su_lightbox_content]
For more in-depth GOTV phone scripts check out our article here.
Text your Voters
Sometimes, all we need is a friendly reminder to make sure we stick to our commitment. And text messages do the trick by helping you start conversations with voters and reach them anytime, anywhere with minimal disruption to their lives.
Texting voters right before election day helps you boost turnout and mobilize voters. So, get your volunteers to send out short friendly texts reminding people to vote and telling them when, where, and how to vote in their precinct.
An example of a text would be:
Hi Alice! I’m Jesse, a volunteer with Naomi Clark for City Council. Your polling station is at 1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1, Oakland. Polls close at 7 pm. Do you need help to make it to the polls?
Send text reminders one or two days before and on election day. With texts, your volunteers can easily interact with around 1500 supporters in an hour, saving time and optimizing your efforts.
Use social pressure
Social pressure is very effective to increase voter turnout. Using it, positive or negative, in GOTV messages has shown to increase turnout by up to 24%. Your supporters are more likely to vote when they see their friends are doing the same or if you remind them that their voting activity is a matter of public record. You can use social media to deliver this message.
Two types of messages that help you leverage social pressure are:
- Showing voters the voting records of their neighbors
- Showing voters their own voting records
The test has shown to lift turnout by 2.5%. Remember, when it comes to voter participation vanity works.
You can also send emails or direct mail to supporters thanking them for voting in past elections and urging them to vote this time as well.
Use positive reinforcement to remind voters to hit the polls in areas with low-turnout. You should follow-up with them, at least twice, before election day.
Other Pro tips:
- Keep your voter contact personal- get peers, neighbors, and community-based agencies to spread your GOTV message. Rather than focusing on mass emails, look for opportunities to start conversations about voting.
- Get some of your volunteers to act as poll watchers (only if you have excess volunteers) to make sure every supporter on your list goes to the polls. Ideally, have at least two poll watchers at a polling station.
- In the early afternoon, you can get your volunteers to make calls to supporters who haven‘t hit the polls yet. And if you have excess volunteers get them to knock on doors in your district.
- Ask one or two volunteers to stand at the door (right outside the polling station) to hand out campaign literature and ask people to vote for your candidate. Check with your state laws before doing so.
- Help senior citizens or busy people to get to the polls by providing them with rides to their respective booths.
Remember, a strong GOTV effort can push your campaign to the top and help you win elections. Focus your message on the act of voting in the last two weeks of leading up to election day. Hopefully, this article has helped you with your get out the vote efforts.