Beyond voting, what else can you do to help get a candidate elected? After canvassing, phone banking for a candidate is one of the most effective ways to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) and increase turnout. This is something you can absolutely do. Here’s how.
Now, I know some of you feel like this when you think about making phone calls:
Let me put your mind at ease. Think about it this way: How would you feel if your calls led to your candidate winning and flipping a seat blue? Maybe a little like this?
Exactly! In so many races, the difference between winning and losing is turning out our voters. Plain and simple. And that’s where normal citizens like you and I fit in.
Democrats have a lot of registered voters. But, we haven’t been very good at turning them out especially in midterm elections. For example, look at what happened two years after President Obama was elected:
Yeah, it was bad. If our turnout had only decreased the same percentage as the Republicans, we would have won so many of those seats. Instead, we handed over Congress to the Republicans. We had the same thing happen in the midterm elections in 2014, too.
Back to what we can do about it. The research is clear. The most effective way to increase the number of people voting is to have a personal conversation with them right before an election. If you live in the district, go canvass. If you prefer not to canvass, or don’t live in the district, then phone banking is the way to have those personal conversations.
Phone banking is not about convincing anyone of anything — it’s about having brief chats with voters the campaign has already identified as being supportive.
Ok, on to the mechanics of how it works.
1 Your candidate’s campaign will connect you to the phone banking system they use, and will give you a script to follow. You’ll have time to review it and get comfortable with it. Some campaigns even have a video you can watch.
2 Once you’re ready, you’ll call a voter and let them know you’re volunteering with the campaign. You’ll ask them if the candidate can count on their vote.
3 After that, you’ll confirm with them where their polling place is. (Again, the campaign will provide you with that information.) Thank them, and then hang up.
Seriously, that’s it. You’ll get a lot of answering machines–the campaign folks will tell you how to deal with those. Most likely, they’ll direct you not to leave a message so that another phone banker can try again later.
TIPS: Smile as you make the call, as it will make you sound friendlier. Speak clearly, and treat everyone with respect.
Remember, the campaign will only give you numbers for voters they know are supportive. Those folks want a Democrat to win the election, too! And as a bonus, your call helps the voter hear, firsthand, that they are part of a larger community who also support the candidate.
Start with a couple of calls, then take a break. Then make a few more. There is no pressure to make a gazillion calls. But just like small donations can add up, a few calls to registered voters can add up, too.
So, take action! Go to the website of a candidate you want to help and sign up to volunteer. Find out when you can phone bank for them. If you’re social, ask if they have a phone banking event where you can be around a bunch of other volunteers doing the same thing!
Every voter you connect with will be meaningful. The more of us who do this = the more likely our candidate will win their election!