Get Out the Vote Tips | National Democratic Training Committee

It’s the final push before Election Day! Through this blog, you will learn how you can plan a more effective campaign by checking out our four Get Out The Vote tips.

Improve Your Voter Contact Scripts

The first of our Get Out the Vote tips deals with your voter contact scripts.

Phone banking and canvassing are undeniably the most important elements of any GOTV effort. They’re cost-effective ways to speak directly to voters in your district and get them to vote for your campaign on and before Election Day.

The effectiveness of your GOTV efforts are largely dependent on your voter contact scripts. Recent political strategy studies found when campaigns ask voters questions regarding their logistical plans on Election Day such as: “How will you get to your polling place?” and “What time do you plan on voting?” they doubled the efficiency of their GOTV efforts.

This is because scripts which hold voters personally accountable have been found to successfully motivate more people to Get Out The Vote when compared to GOTV scripts that simply ask people if they intend to vote.

Since Election Day is so close, it is no longer wise to spend time persuading voters to support you. Rather, you want to focus your resources on getting your supporters to the polls and casting their ballots for you!

Follow These Rules for Voter Mobilization

  • Help voters make a plan for Election Day
  • De-prioritize Persuasion
  • Focus on voter mobilization

Additionally, make sure your team is armed with information about polling locations, hours of operation, and what people will need to bring with them when they go to vote. Some voters will be unsure about where their polling location is, so having that information on hand will make it a lot easier for people to plan out their Election Day.

Motivate Your Volunteers

Volunteers play a vital role in any campaign, and motivating them is one our most important Get Out the Vote tips.

They take time out of their days to talk directly with voters and now is the time to motivate them for the final stretch. In order to have a successful Get Out The Vote effort, it’s important to cultivate a sense of enthusiastic energy within all of your volunteers.

There are many ways to do this, but the ultimate goal is to make your volunteers feel part of the campaign and proud of the work they’re doing.

Remind them that the time they’re putting into your campaign is serving the community at large. Emphasize what an integral part of a team they serve. One that’s making real, positive change.

You can also prepare snacks and drinks for your volunteers. Everyone loves food, so buying some snacks and drinks is a great way to show your gratitude without creating a drastic dent in your campaign budget. Some warm cookies and hot chocolate can go a long way as the weather starts to get colder. Plus, making sure they are well fed and hydrated will keep their energy up for the long weeks ahead.

Ramp Up Your Digital Presence

In today’s age, online resources for your campaign are essential. From a Facebook page to a campaign website, these tools are some of the most important ways of amplifying information about your campaign with voters.

Increase your presence in these spaces as Election Day gets closer!

Reaching every voter over the phone or while canvassing is sometimes impossible. Putting vital campaign information online allows for voters to learn about you and your campaign on their own time.

Remember, running an effective digital program is never a replacement for direct voter contact on the phones and on the doors.

Don’t bombard the news feeds of your followers with a spamming of campaign posts, but instead consider posting one to two posts a day in the final weekend before the election.

For more information on how to improve your Facebook page, check out our blog on 6 Simple Steps to Improve your Facebook Page.

Have Volunteers’ Backs

The reality is, there will be times when your volunteers are met with a rude constituent or have a low contact rate during a voter contact shift. These experiences can be frustrating, but there are ways we can mitigate the bad feelings to make sure your volunteers are as effective as possible.

The most important thing your volunteers can do before any interaction with a voter is to enter every conversation with a fresh mindset. To do this, teach your volunteers these important lessons:

  • Have a short-term memory. If you experience a slip-up, wipe it clean from your mind and aim to do better on the next run.
  • Take a moment to breathe before and after each interaction. Taking a breath allows you to gather yourself and ward off any feelings of anxiety.
  • Remember the greater task at hand. Getting people out to the polls directly makes our democracy more effective because democracy works best when we all participate.
  • Be confident. Trust your abilities to effectively carry out your script and connect with voters. Believe in yourself!

These Get Out The Vote tips are meant to help volunteers who aren’t the most comfortable talking to voters. But everyone can use tips on how to deal with negative emotions, especially during a campaign when passions are high and energy is low.

Put simply, remind your volunteers they shouldn’t let one or two bad experiences distract them from being effective.

Now get out there and secure your victory!

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Rio Diaz

Rio was an intern on the Online Trainings team at NDTC. Originally from the north-west suburbs of Illinois, Rio now lives in Chicago and attends DePaul University where he studies political science. Along with working at NDTC, Rio is a member of the Obama Foundation's Community Leadership Corps, and he was awarded a research grant from DePaul to investigate social media manipulation in the 2016 U.S. elections.