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summarize purpose of a get out the vote campaign

get out the vote campaign

There is nothing depressing in all of politics than to see a well-organized and well-run campaign to be unsuccessful because it let get out the vote activities to break apart under pressure. A times you may think you have support from the public and don’t need to work hard on Election Day to get out the vote and later get disappointed. Each candidate and campaign manager is supposed to have this sentence printed on a plaque hanging on his or her wall. Therefore, you should know that an organized get out the vote campaign is for success of every campaign.

What is Get Out the Vote?

Get out the vote campaign (GOTV) are those legal activities and awareness created to turn voters out on Election Day – these tactics and strategies will strengthen the supporters to get up, go out, and vote on Election Day.

Most importantly, get out the vote campaigns need to be targeted – that is to say you need to make sure you are getting your supporters, and only your supporters, to go to the polls and vote for your party. Therefore, GOTV operations can be a total waste if you are trying to bring out voters that will go to the polls and vote for your opponents’.

Including all campaign, whether it is for the city council or for president, can and should implement a get out the vote effort.

GOTV Goals

The purpose of your get out the vote campaign is strictly be to identify who your supporters are, and get as many of them as possible to actually go vote.  The GOTV team is not responsible for convincing people to vote for your candidate – that should be the job of the rest of your campaign team.  The get out the vote campaign only should be identifying who has ALREADY been persuaded to support your candidate, and then convince those supporters to go vote.

Moreover, GOTV effort should be set to get least 10 percent of the voters you need to win the election actually go vote.  For instance, if your campaign has examined at past election figures and finds out the needed 5000 votes to win the election, your GOTV goal should be to make sure that 500 known supporters gets to the polls on Election Day.

When to Get Started

You should start planning your get out the vote strategy well in advance of Election Day.  Some weeks before the big day, you should have your get out the vote team in place and have your materials and systems ready. You’ll need to select a “GOTV Chairman.”  This person should over see your get out the vote activities in conjunction with the campaign manager.  Most of your GOTV team can be volunteers also members of your precinct, ward, and regional organizations and block heads.

The Two Phases

Get out the vote campaigns is made up of two phases. The first is the identification phase. In this phase, your campaign should seek out and get supporters. This list will the main goal in the second phase, the motivation phase (also called “The Voter Blitz.”) At the time of motivation phase, which happens in few before the election, your team will try to convince the supports you identified to go to the polls and vote for your candidate.

Identification Phase

The identification phase continues throughout the campaign period, excluding the few days before the election. During the election campaign, being part of every activity, you must be keeping a list of supporters gotten from campaign – along with some relevant information such as phone numbers and addresses.

Your list should begin with your own volunteers and staff – the people who are working to make sure your campaign yields fruits. Add to that list anyone who partakes in the campaign, people who always come to your events, people you meet going door to door who assured that they are for you. In short, add everyone who says that they support you.

You can equally add more people to your list of supporters by using classic voter identification methods.  By using voter ID (example, calling voters to ask who they plan to support), you make adding names to your list an objective also.

Your aim is to build a list that contains a number of supporters equal to at least 10% of the total votes you will need to win the election.

Contact and Re-contact

Few days before the election, you are ready to begin motivating your list of supporters to proceed to the polls.  Your main aim is to ensure that every single person on that list really goes to the polls on Election Day.

The week before the election, you should call each supporter to remind them when and venue of the election. where their polling place is, and again ask for their support. You should get to each supporter at least once. And if possible, reach each supporter several times. You can also use several different methods to contact your supporters.

Election Day

All Election Day activities needs proper organization, and more organization.  Again, your major aim is to make sure every supporter on your list goes to the polls. For this to be successful, you have to have someone at each and every polling place in your district (called “poll watchers.”)

Check your local laws. There are various regulations about what your poll watchers can and can’t do.  Generally, they are allowed to sit close to the election judges at the polling place to gently observe the voters as they come forward. Usually, they are not allowed to partake in any electioneering, or wear any campaign buttons or hats. In some areas, poll watchers are required to get “poll watcher permit” from the board of elections before going to the polls – verify with the board of elections in your state or county.

Because your poll watchers won’t be able to electioneer, they won’t be able to get your message out one last time to the voters arriving at the polls.  Many voters decide who they will vote for in lower profile races when they walk into the polls.  Your campaign needs to have someone at the door handing out literature and asking people to vote for your candidate.  This means that you’ll need to have at least two people at every polling place (one poll watcher, and one person outside communicating with the voters).

You’ll also need to have a staff back at headquarters who can make phone calls and keep a master list of who has voted and who has not.

Once your team is in place (and they should be in place before the polls open, with each position staffed until polls close), you’re ready to put your GOTV operation into Election Day mode.  Here’s how it works:

Every time someone comes into vote, they say their name for the election judges, who determine if they are registered and eligible to vote. In many cases, the election judges will repeat their name loudly for the benefit of the poll watchers.  Each poll watcher should have a list of supporters that your campaign has identified and who are registered to vote at that polling place.  Every time a voter comes in, the poll watcher should look for the person’s name to see if they are on the list, and if they are, cross them off.

As time goes on, someone from the campaign should move around with a master list and write down the names of those who have voted by crossing them off. This comprehensive list should then be returned to headquarters. The cycle should continue all day, with poll watchers crossing off names and campaign staff marking them off periodically on master lists.

Additionally, calling supporters who haven’t voted to remind them that it is Election Day and they need to be in the venue won’t be a bad idea. And if transportation tries to be an issue, the campaign should offer rides to the polls without charge. If the campaign is flush with volunteers, it can also send volunteers out knocking on supporters’ doors in targeted districts to get them to vote. If the person isn’t home, they should leave a note on the door drawing his or her attention to the polling uni – to getout and vote.  The cycle should continue into the night, with the campaign making phone calls and going from door to door until the last minute trying to get supporters to go vote.

Of course, while this is in progress, the campaign should have a worker outside of every poll handing out literature, trying to get out votes, and getting the candidate’s name in front of the voters.

The Grand Finale

Finally, the GOTV operation is the grand finale of the campaign. It needs thoughtful planning, a lots of leg work, and well-built grassroots organization.  Time taken and effort to handle the get out the vote operations take are worth it, though. A well organized GOTV effort can put your campaign over the top, getting voters to the polls that would never have gone if left to their own volition. Study and find out best way to create strong GOTV drive for your campaign.

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