GOTV: Campaign Guide for Beginners and Experts

What is it

The phrase get out the vote wields the power to motivate the American public to register and turn out to vote in both their presidential elections and their local and state government elections. This includes the activities, tactics and strategies that the GOTV campaign performs to turn voters out on election day.

What is the purpose

The purpose of the get out the vote campaign is to identify who the supporters are, and get as many of them as possible to actually vote. GOTV is not focused on persuading people to support you or your candidate; that’s what the entire campaign was for. Instead, its focus is on those who have already been persuaded to support the candidate and then to motivate those supporters to go vote.

The GOTV effort should set a goal of ensuring that at least 10% of the voters one needs to win the election, actually get out and vote. For example, if your team has looked at past election figures and realized that it needed 2000 votes to win the election, the GOTV goal would be to make sure that 200 known supporters make it to the polls on Election Day.

What do we do

We are less than a month away from November 6. By now, the campaign team should have multiple support lists to utilize for GOTV. These include but are not limited to:

  • Phone numbers of supporters
  • Emails of supporters
  • Addresses of supporters
  • All volunteer contact information

Have this information ready for the campaign or marketing team so they can focus their efforts on contacting those supporters. The goal is to remind supporters of why they began supporting in the first place.

Try, Try Again

After sorting and gathering this information, the next step is to start motivating supporters to go to the polls. The point here is to make sure that every single person on those lists actually go to the polls on election day. The goal is 100%, however a realistic goal would be as many as possible.

How should you motivate? By contacting each supporter a couple weeks before the election through email, palm cards, texts and social media and reminding them when the election is, where their polling place is, and again asking for their support. You should contact each supporter at least once in the week leading up to the election. If possible, include canvassing, door-to-door visits, phone calls, yard sign delivery, etc.

Informing supporters of where they should register, how to send in early voting ballots, and how to check if they are already registered saves them time and energy. Supply them with the links they need to perform these actions.

Remind them

The final weeks leading up to November 6 are crucial for GOTV. Remind constituents of important deadlines such as the last day for early in-person voting, what times the polling places are open, etc. The more information you give them, the easier it will be for them to GOTV for you.

Remind supporters why they support you and give them reasons to go out and vote you into office. Encourage them to share their support on their social media accounts and by telling their friends and family to GOTV for you as well.

Now go GOTV!