TheVoicesOfAmerica.org

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Planning
  • Plan at least forty-five days ahead
  • Team up with ethnic or religious groups that maintain mailing lists of individuals who might serve as targets for campaign
  • Aim for about 3-4 contacts of targeted voters prior to Election Day. Of these, a minimum of 1-2 contacts should be door-to-door contacts with door hangers. Other contacts can be via phone.
  • Define expectations for the number of houses to visit and recruit volunteers, along with back up volunteers.
    • Volunteers can knock on 20 doors per hour.
    • With an expected 50% contact rate per pass, canvassers will end up talking with about 8-10 households per hour.
    • Older voters will be more likely to be home than young voters.
  • Provide a brief training session for volunteers.
    • Training does not need to be extensive – about half hour is sufficient.
    • Informal communication style works best.
    • Canvassers should use own speaking style
    • Experienced canvassers are only slightly more effective than newcomers.
  • Mobilize voters by making them feel wanted at the polls. Personal invitations convey the most warmth and work best. Phone calls in which the caller converses with the respondent is second best.
  • Building on voter’s preexisting level of motivation to vote is also important. Calling back a voter who indicated a previous interest to vote is a powerful mobilizing tactic.
  • Many nonvoters will vote if they think that others are watching. Remind that voting is a matter of public record, but do so carefully.
  • In “opposition” territory rely more on “stealth” campaign with more dependence on phone, e-mail, and meeting communications.
  • Other than getting out votes, canvassing can provide other “benefits”, such as:
    • Persuading voters to vote in a certain way
    • Canvassers receive useful feedback which can be leveraged
    • Campaign material handed out will publicize the campaign and communicate its message
    • Clean up the out-dated voter lists
    • Register new voters
    • Create database and flag voters for GOTV special attention
  • Other face-to-face opportunities which may also generate votes are: retirement homes, shopping centers, night schools, house parties, and religious centers
  • Prepare maps and street walk sheets prior to blockwalking dates
  • Plan to have coffee, pastry, and bottled water for volunteers on day of blockwalk
  • Blockwalk in pairs – one speaker and one data taker/navigator or split up sides of street
  • May need residents to Blockwalk within gated communities and apartments
  • Plan a time and place to meet after the blockwalk to collect updated voter records and to debrief
  • Provide blockwalk volunteers with precinct core team cell phone numbers, so can call if have questions and /or issues
  • Prepare door hangers, flyers, or sticky notes one week in advance
  • Record updated Voter Contact information as soon as possible
  • Send a thank-you note to your blockwalk volunteers
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