With Labor Day now behind us, the traditional political campaign season is upon us. Your free time will become more scarce as most of your waking hours should be dedicated to getting elected. A big chunk of your time should be dedicated to precinct walking. But when should you walk?
The short answer is this: Walk precincts all the time.
However, you and I both know that’s unrealistic. But if you really want to win your election, you should be walking precincts, knocking on doors, and converting voters into supporters as often as possible.
How often is possible though? For each candidate it varies.
A candidate with a regular 9 to 5 type job would have to make the most of their weekends and cram in walking in the hours after work.
A candidate who’s retired or owns a business that they can step away from, has much more time they can dedicate to walking precincts
And regardless of your employment status, you still need to dedicate time to fundraising, meeting with constituents, and participating in forums and debates.
That said, if you want to win your election, you must make precinct walking a top priority. You need to concentrate on what’s essential for you to do to win (fundraising and precinct walking should top your list). Then you must eliminate and/or delegate anything that is not as essential for you to be doing to win your race.
From Labor Day until Election Day a candidate should walk precincts every day of the week.
That may sound extreme, but this is not the time for moderation. This is the time to step it up and talk one-on-one with the voters.
If you can’t do seven days a week for whatever reason, then walk door to door at least six days a week. Your day off from walking should be Monday. It will be an earned day of rest after a serious weekend of precinct walking.
Under no circumstances should you take a Saturday or Sunday off from walking!
Those are the best days to walk precincts and actually meet voters who are home. If for religious reasons or a personal emergency of some sort, you can’t walk, that’s understandable. Just remember your opponent will be out there pounding the pavement, even if you aren’t.
What hours should you walk?
On Saturdays I advise candidates to knock on doors from 9am to 6pm. This will be your longest day. You can take an hour off for lunch, but try not to go longer. In fact, if you can keep lunch to a half hour, that’s even better.
On Sundays, you can start later. 10am or 11am are good times to start ringing doorbells. Again, walk until 6pm.
If you’re walking in a very religious community, adjust your times appropriately. Some people won’t like you knocking on their doors on Saturday and others won’t like it too early on Sunday. If you know your area and your voters, you’ll be aware of this. Even if you don’t share their religious views, these voters will appreciate that you respect them.
During the weekdays you should put in four hours of precinct walking per day. Monday through Thursday you should hit the doors between 4pm and 8pm. Don’t go past 8pm. Friday you can cut your walking off at 6pm as most people are out or don’t want to be bothered at the end of the week.
There are also precincts you can walk in the daytime hours. Find the ones where a large block of the voters are 65 years of age or older. These voters will typically be retired and home during the day. You can hit these precincts between 10 am and 2pm during the weekday and make a huge impact.
If you follow this schedule, you’ll get in a minimum of 30 hours of precinct walking in per week. In the last two months of the campaign, that’ll add up to 240 hours. That’s more than an entire week of going door-to-door talking directly with the voters.
Should you manage to do that (and I hope you will) in most areas you will have talked to enough voters to make a positive impact on the election. With the right story and mail program, that kind of an impact will likely propel you to victory on Election Night.
And that’s why you’re running for office, right? To win. Now get out there and start knocking on those doors.