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The most effective way to get more votes is to canvass by making phone calls, texting, and knocking on doors.
We need to reach as many voters as possible to inform them
Direct contact puts a human face/voice to the process of voting and to the issues. All these methods have been proven to work to turn out more voters than TV and internet ads.
Some people don’t know about the election, or they do but they aren’t super clear on who the candidates are! Not everyone pays attention to or understands the news. Some people have 2 or 3 jobs! There are a ton of high potential and low information voters who, with just a phone call, could be looped into everything going on.
Often people are aware of things, but they view it from a distance as a horse race, a spectacle. Reaching out to them pulls them in and makes them feel involved and feel like they have influence.
Some people are pretty informed and will vote Democrat, but don’t know where their polling place is, or how to vote by mail etc.
Some people are informed and feel certain they will vote, but don’t have what we call in canvassing “a plan”. They might assume it’s easy to find where their polling place is, but then on election day they can’t figure it out. They might assume what time the polling location is open but be wrong. They might not have a plan for when to vote (before vs. after work, etc).
Some people feel pretty sure they will vote, but when election day comes around they might get busy, assume their vote isn’t that consequential, etc.
We call them to give them information and encouragement. This is proven to turn out more voters!
Mostly Democrats, sometimes independents or other interesting subgroups. Don’t worry, we aren’t calling up hardcore Trump supporters and trying to convince them to switch. Different campaigns target different groups at different times.
A common example of the group that is targeted is “registered Democrats who are unlikely to vote”. Campaigns know who these people are because, you might be amazed to learn, they can request voting records of when people voted (but not who they voted for of course)! Weird, I know. So, these people are likely to vote for Democrats if they do vote, but are also likely to not vote. So if we help them get out and vote, it’s a good investment of effort!
Short answer: Every vote counts! The entire VA legislature was lost to Republicans by ONE VOTE in 2017! 😢
Long answer: All those drops in the bucket add up! When we canvass, do phone calls, or text, we are reaching out to voters and gaining some votes. Additionally, we are also collecting data for the campaign to use later for various purposes, such as deciding whom to reach out to via phone on election day to remind them to vote. Additionally, getting voters engaged and feeling like they have an impact makes them more likely to talk to their own friends and family, so they might be bringingin in additional votes themselves.
Another answer: Starting in 2018, the GOTV effort is massive, we have changed outcomes and we are going to keep doing it! JOIN US!
I’ve been involved on and off with this group since 2018 and I think it’s the best and most impactful group of folks there is!
Thanks for reading! — John