Using Telephone Town Halls as a GOTV Tool by Marty Stone

By at October 16, 2013 | 11:39 am | Print

Using Telephone Town Halls as a GOTV Tool by Marty Stone

Marty Stone

As a young field organizer in Santa Barbara, I frantically was canvassing a neighborhood on Election Day looking for supporters who had not voted at 7 p.m. The polls closed at 8 p.m. One house was mostly dark, but I could tell someone was inside. After knocking and waiting for a few seconds, a woman answered the door in her housecoat. She admitted that she had not voted that day and the last place she looked like she was headed was to the polls. I made my quick pitch and begged her to please go and vote. She was hesitant—so I put the candidate on the phone with her. He got her to get into her car and go vote (in her housecoat)!

Mobilizing your supporters on Election Day is still key to victory, but there are other methods than having the candidate talk one on one with voters to help get the word about your campaign that are less time consuming and can yield proven results.

Most undecided voters make up their mind in the last week of the election, much to the chagrin of field directors and campaign operatives everywhere. It’s important that campaigns ramp up the persuasion on undecided voters and turn out supporters at the same time in the closing days.

Telephone Town Halls are one of the best tools for targeting those undecided or likely democratic voters during the last stretch of the campaign. Though simple, a message like, “stay on the line to ask your questions directly to the candidate before you vote” is quite powerful. Telephone Town Hall participants walk away from the event feeling like they’ve had a one-on-one conversation with the candidate, a feeling that will stick with them in the ballot booth.In addition to getting answers to their last minute policy questions, the Telephone Town Hall can also be used to help participants find their polling location or request a ride to the polls.

Throughout the event, poll questions can guide listeners to plan out when and how they’ll vote on Election Day, increasing turnout.

It’s no secret that a candidate’s time is pressed on Election Day. In 1994, I ran for Congress and like many other candidates, I spent Election Day on a massive tour of the district, stopping in small towns, shaking hands and kissing babies. In hindsight, my time probably would’ve been better spent making phone calls and having more conversations rather than racing across the large district, spending a majority of my time sitting in a car. With Telephone Town Halls, you can maximize time and resources but not sacrifice the personal connection of a one-on-one conversation.

We have used these types of creative campaign tactics in Senate, Congressional, State

House and State Senate races to help persuade those late deciders and get supporters to the polls. We know that door knocking and volunteer phone calls are essential and the base of a good campaign, but Telephone Town Halls are a new campaign tactic to help reach the last block of voters and should be a part of your field plan to ensure every supporter votes.

Marty Stone, Co-Partner with his brother Paul, Stones’ Phones;  providing affordable cutting edge phone solutions for political campaigns and progressive initiatives. Marty has a proven track record on winning when the turnout is low. He has more than 30 years of political experience in both the legislative and electoral fields. A former U.S. Congressional candidate himself, he brings demonstrated insights and deep experience to his clients’ electoral campaigns, strategizing for hundreds of candidates and causes over the years.

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