With less than a month to go in the 2018 election cycle, you’re finally in the home stretch – congrats on making it here! It’s time to Get Out the Vote.
By now, you know who your supporters are. You’ve met them at events, you’ve knocked on their doors, and you’ve called them at home. You’ve held valuable campaign meetings, hosted events, recruited volunteers, and worked with other groups and organizers in your district.
You’re doing a great job on the mechanics of a campaign. But, as we shift into the Get out the vote phase of your campaign, there’s a whole new set of responsibilities your campaign takes on in the last stretch. Knowing this, here are some boxes you should remember to tick to Get-Out-The-Vote on and before Election Day.
Get Out the Vote (GOTV)
This one may seem like common sense, but it is so important that we want to highlight it often.
You’d also be surprised how many campaigns let this slip through the cracks. It’s not enough if someone in your district is a registered Democrat or is a supporter of yours. They have to vote for you to make that count!
As we’ve said in prior articles, making sure you Get out the vote is the single most important aspect of a campaign. When all you need is one more vote than your opponent to win, every vote matters. At this point, your campaign should get ready (if it hasn’t yet) to bring Democrats and your supporters to the polls.
Educate Your Voters
If you want your supporters to vote for you, they have to be registered and educated first! Different states have different deadlines for registering to vote. Check with your local election authority about the rules in your state, and look to see if they offer Election Day registration.
Even if your voters are all educated about when to vote, that’s not always enough. Some of your supporters may be unable to vote on Election Day. Provide them with the necessary information vote early or absentee.
Others might be first-time voters and unsure how to fill out a ballot in your state. Some voters might not know where their polling place is located. If you provide this information to voters prior to Election Day, you can lift one of the biggest barriers to high turnout. Let voters know their deadlines to register and request ballots. You can find resources on voter registration here or on the websites of any state board of elections.
Make sure to reach out in this final stretch to your supporters to make sure they know how to vote for you and are registered to do so!
Recruit Your Election Day Team
It’s never too early to start building up your team of volunteers for Election Day! If you want to Get-Out-The-Vote, you’ll need some help.
You’ll need to delegate some of your team to work on visibility on Election Day. Have volunteers knock on doors, hold signs outside of polling locations, set up on busy intersections, wear T-shirts, and more to let voters know you have your district’s enthusiastic support.
You’ll also need volunteers to Get out the vote through phone banking on Election Day. Make sure that all your supporters Get out the vote and know how to do so (and if they have already by the time you call them, all the better!).
Other members of your team can be poll-watchers, which is a role whose importance is difficult to understate. At a time when hundreds of thousands of Democrats are being purged from voter rolls and some states pass laws making it easier to turn voters away on Election Day, make sure that your poll-watchers are onsite at polling stations and holding them accountable. See what poll-watcher certifications are needed in your state and county.
Make Sure Groups You Work With Mobilize
If organizing groups, unions, other local politicians, or other activists in your area have endorsed you or are working with you, make sure their volunteers contribute to your visibility and Get out the vote efforts!
Allies in your district can provide indispensable support to get your name out and build and demonstrate your enthusiasm. If they’re working with you, that means they want you to win and will be willing to help you out in these last few weeks.
Don’t Forget to Vote
And last but not least, make sure that your most reliable supporters – your campaign staff and volunteers – go vote.
If Early Voting is offered in your area, they should vote early. This will save valuable time on Election Day that can be spent on turning out voters. Make a plan for your staff to vote early — campaigns forget about this more often than you’d think!