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10 Last-minute GOTV Tips to Increase Voter Turnout for Political Campaigns (Scripts Included)

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Published: Jun 22, 2022

The final stages of your election campaign can get really hectic with the clock ticking fast towards the election day. As a campaigner, this is the last chance for you to get your supporters to the polls, and doing it right is important.

The motto here should firmly be: ‘Focus only on getting supporters to the polls’. How exactly do you do that? What should you be doing in the final weeks of your campaign to increase voter turnout?

In this article, I’ve put down some of the most important GOTV tips to uplift your get out the vote efforts.

Important reminder: Make sure you follow all the laws throughout your GOTV campaign. Refer to your state’s electioneering laws to run compliant campaigns.

GOTV tips to improve voter turnout

Let’s see some most common and effective GOTV tips that campaigns have been using to get ahead of the game.

Use multiple channels

There are many things that can keep voters from the polls. Not having the basic information about the election like 

  • How to find the poll location if you’ve recently moved, 
  • When the election is, 
  • How to register, etc. can act as participation barriers. 

Not all your supporters will be available through a single channel of contact. 

Use canvassing, texting, and phone banking to reach your supporters. However, be strategic in your outreach as campaign resources are limited during GOTV campaigns. 

For example, if some areas are highly populated by your supporters, run a door-to-door canvass to reach them, as you will reach many supporters in a short timeframe. Use phone banking for the rest of the supporter base so your volunteers don’t waste time in commuting from one region to another. 

Leave a voicemail to those supporters who don’t answer your call. Then finally, run a peer-to-peer texting campaign right before the election day, as they are a proven method for increasing voter turnout. 

Re-engage supporters before election day

During the last few days before the election, don’t waste time trying to persuade voters. Instead, make sure every single one of your identified supporters gets to the polls and votes. 

You will have gathered supporter-level data during the earlier stages of the campaign. Use it to create walk lists or call lists to reach out to people who rank high on the level of support. 

These people are already your supporters, so all they need is a little nudge and the necessary information to get to the polls and vote. 

Here’s what a voter journey looks like in a GOTV campaign. Your outreach strategy can also be based on a timeline-oriented approach as shown in the image below.

gotv-tips-voter-journey-stages
Pro tip: Ask your voters to encourage their friends, family, and peers to vote. Research shows that people are more likely to participate in elections if the ask comes from someone they know personally. 

Help your supporters make a plan to vote

People are more likely to vote if they visualize their plan to do so. Your canvassing efforts, phone calls, or text messages should prompt your supporters to think about their plans. Ask people specifically when and how they plan to vote. 

Having volunteers walk them through the steps will help your supporters understand the process of getting to the polls and actually voting. All in all, get them to make a plan and stick to it.

Some questions you can ask them which will define the ‘plan’ 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?
  • What time will you reach the polling station?
Note: Leave out close-ended (yes/no) questions like ‘Are you planning to vote’, and focus on helping them make a plan for the election day. Remember, your focus here is to help them visualize the plan.

Make more phone calls

Phone banking is an important part of any campaign’s GOTV efforts because of the personal touch it offers, while also being a scalable medium. 

There are three important pieces of information you need to share with your volunteers to make effective get out the vote calls:

  • The voter’s polling location
  • Poll timings
  • The necessary identification needed (valid photo ID, voter registration card, driver’s license, etc) — depending on individual state laws

While making GOTV calls your aim should be to reach as many supporters as possible in the shortest duration. Manually dialing numbers can impede that. 

To handle higher call volume you’ll need an automated dialer as it skips bad numbers, busy signals, and voicemails; connecting your volunteers to only those who pick up the phone. 

On that note, there are some things you need to keep in mind to run an effective GOTV calling campaign. This list of dos and don’ts can help.

Dos:
– Get them to make a commitment to vote. You can use this to remind them to vote in your later touchpoints.
– Practice your conversation before starting the call, so you treat your call as a natural conversation rather than robotically reading from the script.
– Mention your candidate’s name during your conversation. This helps them remember your candidate’s name. 

Don’ts:
– Ask too many questions. This may lead them to not picking your calls in the future, and hang up the current one.
– Give too much information, leading to confusion.
– Keep the call going for too long. Remember that your voter’s time is valuable too. 

Here’s a GOTV phone script for your phone banking campaigns.

GOTV phone script sample

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?

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 them for their time.

If No: No need to worry. Your polling station is at <location>. Can I help you figure out when you can vote this Tuesday?
– If yes: Polling booths are open between <time>. Do you need information about public transportation?
– If no: Is there anything we can do to help you get to the vote? Do you need information about public transportation?

Explain the options they have if they aren’t sure of the commute, and thank them for their time.

Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to seeing you at the polls!

Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to seeing you at the polls!

For more such examples, check out our article on GOTV phone scripts.

Text your voters to remind them

Sending a text GOTV reminder can increase the chances of an individual turning up to vote by 1-8%

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 with minimal disruption to their daily activities. 

Also, with a text marketing software, your volunteers can easily interact with around 1500 supporters in an hour, thus optimizing your efforts.

When it comes to GOTV, send text reminders one or two days before and on election day. This helps you boost turnout and mobilize voters. 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. 

Here’s a script sample for the same.

GOTV text sample

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?

Use social pressure

Using social pressure in GOTV campaigns has shown to increase voter 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. 

Here are two types of messages that help you leverage social pressure:

  1. Showing voters the voting records of their neighbors
  2. Showing voters their own voting records

You can send texts to supporters thanking them for voting in past elections and urging them to vote this time.

Personalize your communication

Studies show that personalization is an effective way of mobilizing voters. So, look for opportunities to personalize your messages throughout your communications. 

For example, if you’re running calling and texting campaigns, using merge tags is one of the ways to personalize your messaging. Merge tags help you do this by adding dynamic fields such as the first name to your script, which get replaced by the real values.

Another way of using merge tags is to share polling booth information to contacts using the address tag. 

CallHub also lets you segment your list into smaller chunks based on a common pattern. This will help you better focus your efforts on potential voters and target your messaging.

Time it right

Designate a time for every one of your outreach calls or texts. You can decide on this time depending on your previous campaigns. Look at when people are most likely to answer your calls, open your texts, etc., and schedule them accordingly for your GOTV campaign.

Use positive messaging

Use positive messaging that encourages voters to vote by connecting the election results to a cause or an issue. 

Show them how their vote will have a high impact on protecting a community, promoting a cause, solving an issue, and so on. Show them what’s at stake by connecting the messaging with your organization’s mission. 

Send a reminder on the election day

Election day is the most important day in your GOTV campaign. Remind your supporters that it’s election day and encourage them to vote. Send your canvassers to areas that have a high number of supporters. To the other areas, continue sending text reminders.

Most importantly, don’t miss out on asking if they need help with any information. 

Get started!

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. 

Here’s a complete GOTV strategy guide to help you plan your campaign better.

Featured image: Photo by Element5 Digital

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