Tuesday, September 4, 2012

72-hour push

With two months left until the election and the Democrats ready starting their national convention, the ground game is really firing up.  The most important part of the volunteer mobilization effort interestingly takes place during the last 72 hours of the election period.

Anyone who has ever organized a meeting or event should understand this principle.  The best time to remind people of an event is as near in time to the event as possible preferably the day before.  If you remind them even a week out many people will forget by the time the date arrives.

However, since the task is so large, campaigns generally allot about 72 hours to go through their voter lists.  They will call these voters, knock on their doors and leave printed reminders on their front door knobs.

Focuses on infrequent voters
Interestingly, this 72-hour push largely ignores people who vote every election.  Instead, it targets infrequent voters that the campaign believes are supporters.

In the months prior to election day, campaign teams prepare for this push by identifying these supporters who vote infrequently.  Other targets may include first time voters or first time mail-in voters.

The campaigns also hone their messages in an effort to select issues that will motivate supporters to take the time and vote.

While the 72-hour push is largely about reminding voters that it's election day, in the weeks prior to this time, the campaigns will prep voters by sending out messages that create the right atmosphere.  They want people to visualize the importance of the time and to see themselves as making a difference by voting.

Social media and the 72-hour push
The Internet and social media cannot replace traditional get out the vote methods simply because it is against "netiquette" to directly contact people that you do not personally know.

However, social media is a very cost-effective supplement to traditional techniques like phone banking, canvassing and literature drops.  Here are some tips that can help improve Internet get out the vote efforts:

  • Ask friends, followers, fans and others in our social network to not only vote themselves, but to check to see if their family and friends, both on and offline, are voting. 
  • Remind activists in your network that its time to participate in the big push.
  • Include calls to action that will encourage sharing of your posts like "Click Like and Share" of Facebook and "Retweet" on Twitter.
  • Post interesting content like videos, articles and images that share the same theme about fulfilling one's civic responsibility of voting. 

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