One of the most effective forms of campaigning is GOTV – (get out the vote). You’ve worked hard to build a base of supporters. Now, in the final hours before the election, it’s time to make sure those supporters go out and vote for you. But how?

If you’ve already done your job as an active campaigner thus far, then you should have everything you need to conduct your GOTV efforts. In the early days of your campaign, you focused on educating voters about the candidate. Then, you did persuasion calls, door-knocking, volunteer recruitment, and fundraising on your website. Now, it’s just a matter of reaching out to your supporters to remind them about Election Day.

Here’s how to do it effectively:

1) Use walk lists
Don’t waste your time knocking on every door. Focus on existing lists of supporters and voters in your political party. Check with your local, county or state party committee about obtaining these voter lists.

2) Focus on dense voter neighborhoods
Chances are you don’t have enough volunteers to knock on every door on your lists. So in the meantime, focus on areas that have the densest number of supporters and voters, as shown in your lists. This will shorten your walking distance between houses and greatly increase the number of voters you’re able to reach.

3) Have Election Day information ready
The key to effective GOTV is reminding people when and where to vote. This is essentially the only information you need to provide to voters: the date of the election, the hours that polls are open, and most importantly: the location of their polling place. Since polling places are determined by district, make sure you have the correct polling place information for every voter on your walk list.

4) Keep issues to a minimum, if at all
GOTV is not for voter persuasion (other than persuading them to go vote). You shouldn’t need to speak at length about the candidate or their proposals. If necessary for recognition or to boost their incentive for voting, mention a hot-button issue as part of the appeal to go vote. For example, “Will you be voting for Joe Schmoe on February 9 to ensure that our local small businesses will be able to thrive for years to come?” If the answer is no, thank them for their time and move on to the next door. No persuasion needed – keep focusing on the voters who already support you.

5) Ask voters to visualize how and when they will vote
Research shows that GOTV is even more effective when voters can visualize themselves actually voting. Once a voter says they’ll be voting, campaigners should ask them if they have a plan for how they’ll get there, what time and during what part of day (“before going to work, after or during your lunch?”).

Suggested reading:
Guide to GOTV Canvassing (PDF,
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of GOTV
GOTV: 72-Hour Campaign Logistics

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