Getting Out The Vote: How to Campaign on Polling Day


By Iona Gaskell | 07 June 2017


If you've been out campaigning before, you're probably familiar with terms like canvassing and phonebanking, and you'll know all about leafleting. But maybe this is your first time campaigning on Election Day itself.

 

What exactly happens on polling day and what will you be asked to do?

 

There's a lot of vocab you'll hear bandied about - terms like "telling", "tea-time knock-up" and "delivering cards". Don't worry about the jargon. It all boils down to one thing.

 

Candidates and their teams try to GOTV: get out the vote.

 

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For months now, they've been identifying their supporters around the constituency - now it's time to make sure they actually get to the polls and vote.

 

Campaigns will start early in the morning - some as early as 5am - delivering leaflets and cards to constituents, reminding them that it's Election Day. They'll then spend the day knocking on their supporters' doors, calling them up, helping them get to polling stations by giving them lifts, and leaving reminder cards if people are out - all efforts to make sure that all the people who said they would vote for that candidate actually do.

 

There will probably be temporary campaign HQs in different wards of the constituency, often based out of a supporter's house. This is to provide a local meeting point so that the campaign can be more effective in getting out their vote. You might be asked to move around between wards during the day - this is good fun as it means you meet lots of new people.

 

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Alternatively, you might get asked to be a teller at a polling station. This just means asking people who've just voted if they mind giving you the number on their polling card. You don't need to canvass them as they've already voted - it's just so the candidate's team knows who still needs to be reminded.

 

If you have a car and want to help people get to polling stations, this is another offer that campaigns are very grateful for. For some people getting to the station is a hassle so the availability of a car for those who otherwise wouldn't have access to one can be a huge help. If you're able to do this, call the campaign office in advance and offer to help in this way.

 

If this all sounds totally unfamiliar, don't worry - the campaigns will give you all the instruction you need and you'll be working alongside other people. Don't be nervous and if this is your first time then tell them. They'll be so grateful for your help!

 

There are some busier periods during polling day, particularly late afternoon - "tea-time" - when people get home from work. This is when campaigns are at their busiest and you may see more supporters going out to knock on doors or phonebanking.

 

Campaigns run until just a few minutes before the polls close. If you can commit just one hour to help one of More United's candidates, even late in the evening, it could make a huge difference. 

 

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Find a campaign near you and help get More United candidates elected!

 

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