You will always win more votes if you make the effort to reach high propensity voters who mail in their ballots before most others vote.
We call these voters who return their ballots by mail Postal Voters. You may also hear them referred to their votes as, Absentee, Vote By Mail, or Mail-In Ballot voters.
Postal Voters are a growing portion of the voting population.
Vote by mail turnout can exceed fifty percent of an election’s turnout.
In some counties, postal votes can be as high as two thirds of the total voter turnout.
People that cast their ballots by mail are not necessarily early voters.
According to a study produced by the California based firm, Political Data Inc., that specializes in providing voter data to political campaigns, nearly eighty percent of postal voters, cast their votes in the last few days of the Election.
Only small group, about ten percent, vote early.
Another ten percent of these postal votes will trickle in through the last twenty five days before the Election.
Like traditional balloting, the majority of postal votes arrive on or near Election Day.
In California if a ballot is post marked by the close of polls on Election Day but received within three days (Friday) it will be counted.
Early Voters are a small but important group of voters.
Early voters are serious people. Early voters know who and what they are voting for before they receive their ballot. Early voters have a lot of influence on election day outcomes.
They vote in every Election and they mail their marked ballot in as soon as they receive it.
If you have not made the effort to build a relationship with these voters they will not vote for you.
They will not even know you are on the ballot or they will not take you seriously.
Not winning early voters will likely put you at a disadvantage on Election Day.
Early voters tend to be older.
Frequently they are people that have been in the community for a long time.
They are often educated, read the newspaper, and closely follow local issues.
They are also people that are likely influencing less informed voters in their community.
A good data firm can provide your campaign a list of people that are high propensity absentee voters.
An even better political data firm can actually provide you a list built around the time frames specific voters have historically returned their ballots.
Such data gives you an opportunity and an advantage to win more votes long before Election Day.
Win More Votes by Building a Relationship with Early Voters. But do it Early.
Several years ago I consulted for a candidate that was running for School Board in a small district in Los Angeles County. From an early point, he worked hard on his campaign.
He walked precincts early and mailed to postal voters about two weeks before the first ballots were even mailed.
Despite running strong, he faltered in the last week of the campaign.
It was made public that his kids did not attend public school and he did not perform well in a few debates.
Additionally, his main opponent suddenly realized an election was on and really came on full bore.
On Election Day we won by only thirty five votes.
We lost in the Election Day by about one half a percent.
But we made up for it in absentee voters.
Had he not worked hard early to communicate directly with the early high propensity postal voters he would have lost his election.
Recently, I observed a local election where a candidate won overwhelmingly on Election Day but lost overwhelmingly with early absentee voters.
This person lost their election by twenty eight votes.
The candidate did not send out any early mail.
The candidate did not walk precincts early.
Telephone calls were not made to the early voters.
This close loss underscores the importance of these early high propensity postal voters.
Had they been targeted and communicated with before their ballots arrived, instead of losing a close race on Election Day, the candidate would have won a close race.
Winning early votes is like putting money in the bank.
Once they are cast you don’t need to worry about them. They can’t change their minds at the last minute.
You should be able to get a list from your data vendor showing you who has voted.
If you are running a well-organized field operation that properly identifies and tracks your supporters, you can easily compare the two lists and have good idea of how many votes you have already earned.
If you positively identified an absentee voter as a YES vote and you see that they voted, you can bet they cast their ballot for you.
To Win More Votes you Must Start Campaigning Early.
To win more votes you must start communicating to early voters seven to fourteen days before their absentee ballots arrive.
In some cases you may want to start a month or even several months before Election Day.
Your budget will dictate the type of communication and frequency of connecting with these voters.
A good consultant experienced at elections can craft an effective plan for targeting these early postal voters so that you win more votes and the office you are seeking on Election Day