Voter Turnout + Exposure With A Short Message: GET OUT THE VOTE

May 2nd, 2019

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A great campaign is only as powerful as the voters who are aware of it.  If we were to ask you at the beginning of your campaign, “How are you going to get all of the votes you need to win,” you would probably tell us that you need to convince every voter in your city, county or state to vote for you.  What if we told you there was another way?

GOTV or “get out the vote” is the core political strategy for a candidate or organization to make sure that not only do the current registered voters support their campaign, but also can be a vehicle to register new voters and attain their vote!  Did you know that in some districts, cities, counties and states, a citizen can register to vote AND vote in the same day?  Find out the rules and regulations in your campaign before you start a get out the vote campaign so that you can craft the most strategic messages.

When Should You Start A Get Out The Vote Campaign?

Compared to a persuasion campaign which is typically ongoing through the months leading up to November and tells voters who to vote for, the last 2-3 weeks leading up to your election are the most important for a get out the vote campaign.  During the final week and on election day, get out the vote efforts should have doubled from the initial 1-2 weeks.  Some elections will offer early voting or vote by mail, in this case you would want to start your get out the vote campaign a little earlier.

What should your get out the vote message say?

Most people don’t vote simply because they don’t know where, for who, or how to vote. Your message should be clear and informative on those details. Include your election date, how to register, what times the polls open or close and any other important info that pertains to voting for you.

  • If your state offers same-day voter registration, make sure to let people know that it’s NOT TOO LATE to register and vote for you!
  • Let the voters know a thing or two about you and the ballot issues that you support or oppose.
  • Keep it short and simple. Too much information could overwhelm the voters, so capitalize on what is most important – them voting. A quick 30 second get out the vote robocall would be a great method.

Every election is different, not all races will be able to use the same get out the vote message. Some messages will need to be informative, while others will need to be encouraging and motivational.

  • What is the impact that their vote will have, what issues are at stake, and what is the value of having their votes cast?
  • Showcase an issue or a ballot measure to encourage the voters. Their vote may affect the lives of everyone, even children who can’t vote.
  • Remind voters that their voice is valuable in shaping the future, and it must be heard.

How Can You Make Sure That Your Efforts Are Working?

If you’re running for office then you likely know how many voters participated in previous elections.  It’s no secret that you can research that information, so why not use it to your advantage.  Knowing how many voters typically vote, and how many actual registered voters there are is useful in knowing how many other voters you can leverage and get to the polls.  Use your team to work out a plan to mobilize voters; have volunteers ready to assist people in getting to the polls if they need help.  get a list of the voters who requested an absentee ballot, and send them your information.  Rather than telling people to vote for you, tell them where to vote and ask if they need any assistance with the process…  people will respond more kind to your assistant than you asking them for something.

GOTV strategies are definitely things that will wrap up your campaign for office.  A strong grassroots operation, lots of manpower and strategic planning is what an effective GOTV campaign consists of.  There is nothing worse than seeing a well planned out campaign fall through the cracks because it lacked a stellar GOTV campaign to push their efforts and exposure over the top.  Getting supporters to the polls takes time and creative services, but it will be well worth it when you drive your campaign to a win.

Hunter Lamirande