GOTV or Get Out The Vote or GO – TV, what ever you call it, is like going to church in the old south.
It is just something you do and don’t question why you do it.
GOTV is something campaigns do on election day and often don’t question.
It is the Gospel to try and Get Out the Vote on election day and almost heresy to not.
But sometimes it is not always the best use of your resources.
Do You Even Need A GOTV Program? Know This Answer Early.
You may not even need a GOTV program depending on the cycle you are running in.
In high turnout elections, like a presidential cycle, it may not be worth your while.
In a presidential year, turnout will be high and marginal voters are likely to turn out.
State parties and presidential campaigns generally do a good job turning out any possible marginal voter.
During a high turnout election, where even the most causal voter is voting, it is often difficult to increase turnout.
In this situation there may be no reason for you to run a GOTV program.
The smart move may be to let your party do it for you.
You may want to spend your time working with undecided voters that are undecided but likely to vote.
If you have very limited resources, is a GOTV program a smart investment?
First, you may not have the resources to run an effective program.
GOTV sounds exciting, fun and important. But it takes resources.
You may just not have the people, money, or resources to effective implement a get out the vote effort.
A GOTV program should be focused not on those who always vote, but those that are less likely to vote.
If these folk are not people that always vote. it is not going to be easy to have them show up at the polls.
Resources in people, time and money that you may not have.
The return in GOTV resources investment is marginal. It is hard to get a not so likely or never voter to perform.
It may be more effective to work on persuasion. But that is a decision you will need to make.
Sure, Every Vote Counts.
This is not about not turning out voters.
It is about making the best use of your resources.
I have seen a lot of races won or lost by less than 100 votes.
In small local races this is actually fairly common.
Make an effort to identify voters and figure out who the undecided voters actually are.
It could be easier to persuade a handful of likely voters to vote for you then to get a handful of voters that almost never vote to change their habits overnight.
And there is absolutely no reason to run a GOTV program to high propensity voters.
Make sure you fully question and have thought out why your campaign is doing what it is doing.
Voter contact, especially GOTV needs to be considered in the context of the total election cycle.
Remember, your campaign does not exist in a vacuum.