GOTV: Planning The Final Push

For the first half of your campaign year, you’ll be canvassing – collecting and organizing voter data.  Over the summer and going into fall, the candidate, candidate’s wife and family and lots of volunteers will be knocking on doors, talking one on one with voters about the issues.  The last 4 or 5 weeks of the campaign, however, are what I call ‘the final push.’  It’s at this point that you want to start up the GOTV mindset.  There are 3 key components to the final push:

  • Phone banks
  • Targeted direct mail pieces
  • Literature distribution
There’s no one way to plan direct mail or literature distribution.  Phone banks will operate differently in different states depending on regulations.  Literature distribution may take the form of handing out flyers at targeted subway stations in an urban environment, and may mean driving door-to-door in rural districts, where houses are separated by acres of farmland.  Your direct mail strategy will be determined primarily by your communications plan, not your GOTV plan.  Whatever your situation, some form of each will take place in any campaign if you’re going to pull off an integrated and well-saturated get out the vote effort.  Since there’s no specific right or wrong way, here is a list of potential “to-do’s” for the final weeks of your voter contact activity:
  • Print walk/phone lists
  • Organize lists by precinct and priority
  • Finalize mail piece copy/design, send to print and schedule mail drops
  • Recruit and schedule extra volunteers
  • Plan weekend lit drops, followed by volunteer events
  • Coordinate lit distribution outside churches and synagogues Sunday and Saturday
  • Buy water, pencils for volunteer walkers
  • Buy/print lit drop materials (I love those little baggies you can hang on doors, but you have to plan time/volunteers to stuff them)
  • Buy cell phones or make special arrangements with the phone company for a ton of new lines
  • Secure an office space for phone banking
  • Organize yard sign distribution
Obviously, many of these items will need to be broken down into smaller action items.  I recommend finding leader-volunteers to handle each segment.  For example, designate a yard sign captain, and field coordinators by precinct (bonus if these folks have trucks or SUVs!).  Put one volunteer in charge of phone banking – this person will keep track of all the lists and distribute them to callers, and also oversee the data entry for the updating process.  Find lit drop coordinator to do the same thing for walk lists.
You can then help your leader-volunteers to break down their jobs into specific action items, then let them loose on the task.

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