get out the vote

FAQ: GOTV and The Final Stretch

As we continue down the final stretch before Election Day, you’re bound to have a few questions about GOTV and how to finish the home stretch of your campaign.

During the GOTV phase of your campaign, you may not have time to take a full course when you’re just looking for one specific piece of information.

To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the questions we most frequently hear in the last few months before a campaign. These are questions we hear all the time, no matter where we are in the country.

Why Do I Need Volunteers?

At this stage in your campaign, volunteers are everything. Volunteers help you knock on more doors, make more phone calls, and contact more voters than you could possibly dream of on your own. If you don’t believe us that volunteers are an essential part to our campaign, read what NDTC’s CEO, Kelly Dietrich had to say HERE.

How Do I Find Volunteers?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The easiest answer is this:

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Look for volunteers in your friends and family. Ask your donors, your social media followers, and everyone that interacts with your campaign about volunteering for you.

Contact your local Democratic Party and see what resources they have for volunteers.

This is a question that we found to be so important that we had to dedicate an entire blog post and course to it. To read the blog post, click HERE. To take the course, click HERE

How Do I Make Sure My Volunteers Show Up?

If you’ve found folks who are willing to volunteer for your campaign, now it’s time to make sure that they show up. The easiest way of doing this can be summed up in two words:

Confirmation calls.GOTV

Once someone has agreed to volunteer for you, do not just assume that they will show up. The reality is that they are actually likely to not show up. In the days leading up to an event, make confirmation calls to the folks who said they would be there.

Remind them when and where to meet, and that your campaign is counting on them to show up. Confirmation calls should happen in multiple passes, include voicemails, and be used as another shifting opportunity.

What is VoteBuilder and How Do I Use it?

If you have yet to use VoteBuilder in your campaign, it is a helpful tool for your campaign to figure out where Democrats are in your district.

VoteBuilder is the gold standard of political campaign software and helps your campaign to identify Democrats and track your voter contact efforts. We can’t explain how to use it in a short and quick answer. But, that’s why we’ve built a brand new course designed to teach you the basics of VoteBuilder

To take this course, click HERE. To read more about how VoteBuilder can help your campaign, click HERE.

How is the GOTV Phase of My Campaign Different Than Persuasion?

The GOTV phase of your campaign is notably different than the persuasion stage of your campaign.

Your field efforts to this point have been all about persuasion. DuringGOTV, we’re done identifying new supporters, and it’s time to turn out and make certain your identified voters actually vote. 

When you knock on doors during GOTV, your goal isn’t to persuade someone to vote for you. It’s to make a plan to vote with those who have already committed to vote for you. When you make a plan, you want to discuss when and how that person will vote.

Will it be on their way to work? On their lunch? How are they getting to their polling location? What day will they vote? Will they vote early?

All of these are questions you should talk through with a voter during the GOTV phase of your campaign.

When Do I Start GOTV?

We recommend that campaigns start the GOTV phase of their campaign as soon as Early Voting starts, or if your area does not have Early Voting, start the weekend before the election.GOTV

Once Early Voting begins, you have the opportunity to encourage your voters to vote before Election Day. In an ideal world, all of your identified voters would vote early (Note: There is virtually no chance that this will ever happen). The more voters you can get to vote early, the fewer people you have to worry about.

Why Do I Feel Like I Won’t Get Everything Done?

Don’t worry, you aren’t alone in feeling this. Even the most prepared and highest level campaigns end up feeling like they don’t have enough time to get everything done.

Take a deep breath. It’s okay to feel stressed about all of this. You made your plan and you’ve stuck to it (with some adaptations along the way). Believe in the work that you’ve done. Trust the voters you’ve contacted and the relationships that you built. Trust yourself.

Election Day is quickly approaching, and you’ve built an incredible team to get you across the finish line.

We believe in you. Keep up the hard work. It’ll all pay off on November 6th.

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Categories Campaign Fundamentals GOTV

Jacob is a Communications Associate for NDTC. Jacob was initially an intern for NDTC in 2016 before moving on to work for both a Chicago Alderman and an Illinois State Representative. After working in Parliament in the Republic of Ireland, Jacob joined NDTC in April of 2018. Jacob is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Political Science. Outside of politics, Jacob tries to forget the Chicago Cub's century of losing while enjoying their recent success.