Poll Striking, or Getting Out the Vote, should be a key part of your election strategy. Whether you're a big campaign, or a small one, it provides you with that edge to ensure that election day goes as well as it can.
The purpose of Poll Striking is to ensure that voters that you have identified as likely to vote for you, actually turn out to vote on election day. Whether or not your voters turnout in more, or less, than the average turnout, could be the deciding factor in your election! Ecanvasser makes rolling out such a process straightforward and easy.
Regardless of the resources available to you on polling day, you will be able to manage a GOTV operation
Deciding on your Polling Day Strategy:Polling day operation can be as detailed, and highly targeted as your resources will allow them to be. Even if you end up using the broadest, least resource consuming method, it is still worth engaging in, as even this can have a noticeable effect on the result once the votes are counted.
In the below infographic, you can see three general strategies we have outlined:
You may find yourself and your campaign fall somewhere between two strategies - you should feel free to adapt from the different strands to create a strategy that is optimal for you team.
With that in mind, below we will run through an overview of the strategies, as to what they would require, and what they hope to achieve. Below that, we will then run through the various aspects, elaborating on how they can be implemented and achieved.
This strategy will be least labour intensive, and as such is is often the best option for smaller campaigns with limited people power, or campaigns with a shorter lead in period, where time for data gathering is in short supply. That said, implementing this strategy will still give your campaign a major boost over those without an organized polling day operation!
You will be using the data gathered over the course of your campaign to identify the broad geographic regions that you felt were sympathetic to your policies over the course of the campaign. You might also be providing transport to the polls on an ad hoc basis.
This strategy builds upon the one outlined above, but takes advantage of a larger body of people power, as well as the greater and more detailed level of data that was gathered in the course of the canvass in the weeks and months leading up to polling day.
In this instance, you will have information to determine not only identify how broad areas view your campaign and policies, but to determine specific voters who take a positive of such. Your polling day operation will span a much greater geographic area, but will target those voters who you believe are going to voter for you if they get to the polls.
You might have greater transport options available to you, such as multiple vehicles, or min-buses, or buses. You might also have started considering scheduling pick ups with individuals or in areas in general.
The major difference in being able to implement a highly-targeted polling day operation as opposed to those already outlined is a matter of scale in people power, and other resources.
You will have identified individual voters in the same manner as outlined in the Targeted strategy, however, you will also be engaging in poll-striking to keep track of if they have actually voted. You will then be using the information gathered throughout the day on who has voted to target individuals via door-knocking, phone banks, sms, and email, encouraging them to get out and vote!
You may also be organizing transport on a large scale.
2. Identifying your VotersYou have a number of options to identify your voters for a GOTV operation.
The most straight forward is to use Ecanvassers dedicated 5 Star Reception Rating. You could opt for the following guideline, or key:
5* - Strong Supporter
4* - Weak Support
3* - Neutral Allegiance
2* - Weak Opposition
1* - Strong Opposition
The above works very well, particularly if you are operating in a two-party system, a candidate from one of those two parties, and are not overly concerned with third party, or independent candidates.
In a multi-party system, or if you happen to be a third party candidate (or indepdent), you could also use the reception rating in that manner; however, particularly in the long-term, it may be beneficial for you to identify not only are people opposition supports, but which opponent they support. For example, wherever the two main parties stand on the left right divide, it is likely as a third party candidate, that the supporters of a particular one of those parties is more open to your message than the other. This methodology may also appeal to a candidate of one of the two major parties, if they feel their flank is being challenged by a third party candidate.
If you fall into such a category, you may wish to consider using a custom field instead of the reception rating. You can find out how to set up a custom field here. The recommend parameters for such a field are:
Name: Supporter Level
Required Field: Yes
Custom Field Types: Multiples Choice
Allow more than one answer to this question: You may wish to consider ticking this, perhaps someone will indicate that they support one party, and another to a weaker degree (particularly relevant in elections where votes are cast preferentially)
Add Multiple Choice Option:
- Strong Party A
- Weak Party A
- Strong Party B
- Weak Party B
- Strong Party C
- Weak Party C
- Strong Party D
- Weak Party D
- Strong Independent
- Weak Independent
3. Polling Day CanvassYour strategy on this will reflect which of the three strategies outlined you have opted to implement.
Broad: Use filtering on the map page (based upon Reception/Supporter Level) to identify areas with the highest density of your supporters. It is worth noting also, that if you have not canvassed this area multiple times, you likely haven't spoken more than one occupant per household. As such, we are looking to identify an area, as opposed to specific people.
Work out what the largest area that is sympathetic to you that you can knock over the course of the day - and get out with your team to speak with people one last time, and encourage them to vote!
Targeted: As we have a decent amount of intelligence with regards to voting intentions, we are going to target specific voters. Create Groups via the dashboard, and assign to your team members as appropriate - you and your team should be going door to door across a reasonably large section of your area, specifically encouraging those people you've identified as sympathetic to you, to get out and vote.
Highly Targeted: Engage in a targeted canvass as outlined in the Targeted above. However, you will also develop a strategy for reaching out to your voters via email, phone banking, and sms (as Ecanvasser does not contain dedicated sms functionality, you would have to Export the desired data for use in an ancillary service). The targeting aspect of this strategy should be linked with poll-striking, as discussed below, with back office staff regularly updating groups to contain the latest and most accurate information.
4. TransportThe reason for providing transport to polling stations is an extension of that for your get out the vote operation in general - you want to make it as easy as possible for those you've identified as sympathetic to your message, to vote. Of particular note here, would be voters who might have mobility issues, or if you are aware that you are in an area with limited car ownership (information often freely available from your countries central statistics/census organisation).
As usual, the scale of this operation will vary based upon you campaign resources, and the general scale of your campaign. At that smallest level, you might simply have a friend with a car, and while on your broad canvass your canvassers might be directing this person to houses where voters have indicated transport is required. In a campaign with greater resources, you might have multiple cars, or perhaps a mini-bus, but will likely still be organizing this transport on a somewhat ad hoc basis on polling day.
However, once you move beyond the smaller campaigns, you may wish to consider putting a little bit more organisation in to this. You can begin to do this by through recording, in the weeks and months leading up to an election, which voters require transport. If you wish to do so, the best way to record this information would be via Custom Field. Consider the following set up:
Name: Transport Required
Required Field: Yes
Custom Field Types: Yes/No
Depending on your level of organisation, and the resources available which you can dedicate to transport, you might want to consider scheduling the pick-up times for individual people; though this might be less feasible with larger scale campaigns. That said, perhaps you might ask people to indicate blocks of hours that would work for them, be it morning, early afternoon, evening, etc.
If you are using mini-buses, or if you have a significantly greater fleet with which to provide transport; you may wish to provide a more regular service on the day. Perhaps you might want to provide a set number of scheduled pickups in various areas - in such a case broadly advertising pick up times might be an an appropriate course of action you might want to consider.
You may also wish to consider asking people for email/phone details; so as that you can reach out to people on the day to advise them as to your plan of action regarding their transport.
5. Poll-StrikingPoll-striking is the process whereby members of your campaign team, on an ongoing basis throughout polling day, record who has voted. This allows you to increase your targeting throughout the day; and will generally only be used by those adopting the highly-targeted approach outlined above.
It should first be noted that your ability to carry out poll-striking may vary from country to country, depending on local legislation, and the type of access a political candidate, and their campaign team, is entitled to regarding the electoral process.
If you are in a position to do so, it is advisable to use an Ecanvasser Custom Field to assist you in this process. Ideally, you will set this up during the Voter File import process (or prior to syncing your NationBuilder account with Ecanvasser). Create a column in your Voter File titled Poll-Strike, and fill the full length of the column with False. Assign this a Custom Field heading during the import, and use the following critera:
Required Field: No
Custom Field Types: True/False
On the day of voting, you can then change the Required Field option to Required, to bring it front and center.
You would then assign Voters to your Team Members via Groups, in the same manner that you would have during your canvass operations. Having made the Custom Field required, it would now be front and center, and your Poll-strikers would canvass the person, and update their Poll-Strike Custom Field to True. This would allow your back office team to have a near live up date of who had, and had not, voted at any particular time. You could then feed this data back into those people who are out in the field canvassing to get out the vote, as well as for those carrying out your email, phone banking, and sms, GOTV operations.
6. Non-Canvass GOTV OutreachAside from your canvass operation, you may well engage in a few other processes to assist your GOTV operation.
Ecanvasser can be used to assist with your phone-banking operations. Our dedicated phone-banking article outlines the recommended methodology for doing so.
If you have a dedicated service provider for sending text messages, you can export segments of your database from Ecanvasser. In this instance, you would simply need to export a persons, name, and their phone number. If you wished, and had gathered the relevant data, perhaps you might also consider breaking the database as a whole up by topics which the voter considers important, so as to tailor your message.
Ecanvasser also contains an Email Blast feature. Similarly to the above outlined options, by creating a Group you can tailor messages to any segment of your database - consider sending different segments of your database tailored messages based upon their interests and concerns.
Remember when carrying out any of the above options, that you can tailor it to only send to those people who have yet to vote if you're carrying out a poll-striking operation - otherwise, you may want to consider a broader strategy; perhaps an email the day before, a text in the morning followed by phone-banking into the afternoon?
Finally, also remember when targeting people via your non-canvass outreach, just as with your canvass, you'll want to cross reference not just with poll-striking, but also via their Supporter Level/Reception Rating!