Boosting Turnout

Who are the three people you will encourage to vote?

Vote tripling is a relational mobilization tactic to increase voter turnout, which asks supporters to commit to talking to three friends about voting. Vote tripling has been shown to be effective for GOTV mobilization to increase turnout, especially with voters who are not highly active in elections, politics, and/or activist causes. With limited time, money, and people in a campaign this technique is a cost-effective way to increase turnout. Once a supporter takes the initial step of pledging three names the campaign can move them up the ladder of engagement to increase their impact. The campaign can now make hard asks for specific actions that help the campaign.

Let’s look at how vote tripling can impact voter turnout in a campaign:

  • Hopefully, you are already talking to your targeted voters who are likely to support you and turn out to vote.
  • You’ve confirmed support, and your supporters have signed a virtual commit to vote form for your campaign.
  • Once you have confirmed supporters, ask them to commit to talking to three people who are not likely to vote (vote tripling).
    • Vote tripling applies social pressure to the voter as someone they personally know is holding them accountable for getting out to vote.
  • Record data on committed vote triplers so you can follow up!

To learn more about relational organizing programs, here is an instructional live training.

How it Happens

You can add vote tripling language into your campaign through emails and direct voter contact (currently phone banking or text banking, but also door-to-door canvassing when we’re not in a pandemic). While campaigns typically do vote tripling to ensure people vote on Election Day, you want to encourage people to vote in advance. Ask supporters to persuade three friends to vote by mail and follow up to ensure they’ve mailed their ballots back. If in-person Early Voting is available, have people name three friends who they will make sure vote early. You can track this data and follow up with supporters about their commitment to talk to friends about voting.

Email

In your email strategy, you want a strong call to action! Get supporters to commit to naming three people in their lives (family, friends, coworkers, connections in community groups) who they will make sure turn out to vote. This year, prioritize vote by mail if it is available in your state. Encourage folks to get and return their ballots, so vote tripling may also apply to your vote by mail ballot chase phase. Additionally, make sure folks vote by Election Day at the latest.

Direct Voter Contact

When spending time talking to voters, prioritize making sure they commit to voting for you and that they have made a plan to vote.

If you have the time and volunteer power, you should add a vote tripling pledge for supporters in your phone banking, text banking, or door-to-door canvassing script when we can knock doors again.

This year we’re encouraging folks to vote by mail if they can in their state so you may need to follow up with people a bit earlier to make sure they have requested ballots and they have mailed them back ahead of the Election! If you need more information on running a Vote by Mail program, please visit our on-demand course.

The Importance of Tracking Data

If you’re using a spreadsheet or NGP VAN/Votebuilder, you should record your supporter’s three “vote tripling” names. You want to record these three names for effective follow-up with the supporter and to-acknowledge another layer of accountability. Your campaign is counting on them to reach these individuals to increase turnout and make a difference in their community!

If you don’t record the data, you can’t follow up.

If you’re using Votebuilder, you can add your vote tripling activist code in VAN. Campaign volunteers can collect this data throughout the campaign, and then you can review the notes with the activist code as you get ready to get out the vote (more details here with NGP VAN).

The Key with Vote Tripling is Follow-Up

Follow up with your vote tripling supporters close to Election Day to turn out those votes. You may also follow up closer to the end of vote by mail ballot completion deadlines if you have asked people to make sure three friends vote by mail.

Here is an example of a vote tripling follow up conversation with a supporter:

How to Boost Your GOTV Email Strategy with Effective Calls to Action

Acknowledge the pledge the supporter committed to this year – reminding three people to vote. Additionally, see that your campaign adds accountability hereby explicitly repeating back the names pledged to the supporter

Vote Tripling Conversation Example 1

 

If the supporter has not gotten firm confirmations that their friends/family voted (or if the voters have additional questions), be sure to follow up with your supporter. Make sure your supporter knows to contact their three people again and has a plan to ensure their friends have mailed their ballot (or have firm plans to vote in person).

Vote Tripling Conversation Example 2

As always, thank your supporter for their commitment to getting out the vote and changing their community!

As you talk with the supporter, always keep in mind additional GOTV volunteer opportunities to suggest, which would further impact their community. Remember, someone who commits to vote tripling is already saying they are ready to do more. Don’t hesitate to make another hard ask! You need more volunteers to help you reach more targeted voters, and this follow up conversation is one step in further engagement!

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Collyn Warner

Since 2008, Collyn Warner has spent most of her time working on political and issue-based campaigns, community organizing, and training. She started her work in these areas in red (and primarily rural) areas in the regional South. In addition to these efforts, Collyn previously worked on event coordination, communication efforts, and logistics at the International Monetary Fund, as well as membership development with Business Forward. She has worked in communications and outreach for the Campaign for Southern Equality, Neighbors for Equality (a grassroots LGBTQ rights group), Amnesty International, and higher education institutions.

Collyn completed her M.A. in English (Composition and Rhetoric) at The University of Alabama, where she was awarded funding to research the digital tools of community organizing across LGBTQ advocacy efforts in North Carolina, and she has presented on activist literacy, digital organizing, and grassroots initiatives at national conferences.