Early voting has become much more prominent in elections than it has ever been. As a candidate, it is essential that you factor this into your winning mail program.
When Should You Start Mailing to Early Voters?
There is no longer one Election Day in politics these days. There are two.
You should view the start of early voting as literally a second Election Day.
Actually it’s the first Election Day. The actual day the polls are open are the second.
Find out from your local elections official what date early voting starts.
Mark that as the first Election Day and work back ward on your calendar from there.
When you are four weeks back from the start of early voting, you’ve found the beginning of your mail program to early voters.
Your first piece of mail to early voters should be sent about 30 days before they can vote.
If you have a well funded campaign, you could even go back further and start six week/45 days ahead of the start for early voting.
You want to do is be the first candidate to reach the voters, defining yourself and the issues of the campaign.
How Many Mailers Should You Send to Early Voters?
The simple answer to this question is this:
Send as many mail pieces as your campaign can afford to send.
At a minimum I recommend sending 4 to 5 pieces to these voters before early voting begins.
That’s one piece a week for four weeks.
And if you can send out a fifth, I’d send that right after the start of early voting.
Of course if you are starting five or six weeks before early voting, then you’re adding a mailer for each extra week you’ve put into your early voter mail program.
A good piece of mail to start your mail program to early voters is the personal introduction letter.
It’s a good piece to connect one-on-one with voters, plus it can help you pick up local endorsements.
Additionally, if you have the funds to send three or more pieces each week to the early voters, then by all means please do so.
When Should You Stop Mailing to Early Voters?
The answer to this question is a bit tricky.
First, just because a voter is identified as an early voter, it does not mean they vote early.
That probably sounds confusing. Like I said, this is a bit tricky.
You see, some early voters vote as soon as they can.
Others wait until the last few days before the Election.
A good voter data vendor should be able to provide this information to you on your voters. If they can’t, you might need to find another data vendor.
When you know that an early voter always or usually casts their ballot as soon as possible, your mail program should definitely be focused on getting to them before early voting begins.
Based on their previous voting pattern, you can remove these voters from your mail program after the seven to ten days of the early voting.
You don’t want to do this with the early voters who don’t vote right away.
You want to keep them in your mail program with the people who vote on the actual Election Day.
They need to keep hearing from you until they vote.
On that note, many elections officials now provide lists of voters who have cast their ballots before Election Day.
Get those lists daily if they exist in your jurisdiction.
Remove any of the voters from your mailing universe if they are on the list as having already voted.
This will save your campaign some money, money that can be used to connect with voters who still haven’t cast their ballots.
If you want to have an impact with the early voters, remember this simple motto:
Mail early and mail often.
Those early voters may indeed be the key to you winning on the actual Election Day.