Yes, you need one
You’ve knocked on doors, you’ve persuaded voters, and shook strangers’ hands. As you enter early voting season, you can see Election Day right around the corner. It’s all in the voters’ hands now, right?
Wrong. There is still a ton of work you can do, and the most important of that is making sure your voters actually vote!
While Election Day is super important to the candidate — hey, it’s the culmination of a long (and hopefully enjoyable) journey — it’s just another over-scheduled day for most Americans. In the 2014 midterm elections, 35% of registered voters were unable to vote due to a conflict in their schedule, i.e. school, work, and other daily activities. They weren’t able to cast their vote because they did not have the foresight to make a plan for voting day.
And that’s where your campaign comes in. Part of your campaign field plan has to involve a way to help voters ensure they’re able to cast their vote.
Once your campaign enters the GOTV phase (Get-Out-the-Vote), your volunteers should start helping voters make a plan for when, where, and how they’re going to vote. Having someone walk them through these steps can be enormously helpful in understanding the process of getting to the polls and being able to actually vote. As a candidate or volunteer, you want to walk the voter through all the steps of voting: how they’re going to get there, where to park or what public transportation to take, how to schedule their day, where their polling place is, etc. Help them make a game plan for their day so that your campaign can actually count on their vote..
Remember, at this point in your campaign, you’re no longer persuading people to vote for you.
The exception to this if you’re in a state with early voting: in this case, you’re going to want to keep your persuasion campaign and your GOTV campaign separate.
(For the purposes of this blog, we are going to focus specifically on GOTV Make-a-Plan conversations.)
When your volunteers call your base voters and identified supporters, there are three crucial pieces of information you want to share with them:
- their specific polling place
- the hours the polling place is open
- proper identification (valid photo ID, voter registration card, etc) if necessary
Not all states require an ID to vote, but be aware that some states have strict laws regarding voting IDs. If you live in a state with voting ID laws, be sure to check what kinds of IDs qualify. Generally a driver’s license will work, and some states even accept student IDs and utility bills. Just be sure to check.
For a better idea of what a GOTV Make-a-Plan call script looks like, here’s a sample script from a volunteer to a base voter.
Hello! Is [voter’s name] available?
Hi, [voter’s name], my name is [your name] and I’m a volunteer with [candidate’s name] for [election position] in [CITY/NEIGHBORHOOD]. How are you today?
Great! I’m calling to see if we can still count on your vote for [candidate’s name] in the upcoming election for [election position]?
Great! I’m glad we can count on your support for [candidate’s name] on Tuesday. We are expecting high turnout. Do you know what time you are planning to vote: Morning, Afternoon, or Evening?
That sounds great! As a reminder, polls are open from ____ to ____. I have your Election Day polling place listed at ________________. Do you know where that is?
Great! Do you need a ride to vote, information on parking areas, or public transportation information?
Thank you so much for voting!
No need to worry. Can I help you figure out where and when you can vote this Tuesday?
If yes, jump up to help them plan to vote (i.e. time of day, where their polling place is, will they walk, drive, etc.).
Is there anything we can do to help you get to the vote? Do you need a ride to the polls or information about public transportation?
Thank you very much for your time. We would appreciate your vote on Tuesday. We are expecting incredibly high turnout and every vote will count.
Hi, this is [your name] calling for [voter’s name]. I’m a volunteer with [candidate’s name] for [election position] in [CITY/NEIGHBORHOOD].. I’m calling to remind you about Tuesday’s election. Turnout is expected to be high, so we are thankful for your support!
Polls will be open from ____ to ____ on Tuesday. You vote at ____________.
We look forward to seeing you at the polls!
***Record necessary responses, such as if the voter has already voted.
For a more in-depth look at what a GOTV Phone Script looks like, be sure to check out our sample script here. We have scripts for talking to base voters, identified supporters, and early voting.
And, as always, we at the National Democratic Training Committee are here to help. Happy campaigning!
How to Run for Office: GOTV Make-a-Plan Scripts was originally published in National Democratic Training Committee on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.