I’ll occasionally be posting on basic election tactics, and the mechanics of winning elections. I know this will be repetitive for many experienced Green Party Campaigners, and most election volunteers from the other Party’s will laugh at how simple we Greens are. The fact is though, that many Green Party Campaigns are made up of volunteers who care passionately about our policies, but have never worked on a political campaign before. So long as there are a few seasoned pro’s in your riding who can teach you, that’s fine, BUT if you are in one of the smaller EDA’s, you might not even know where to start.
The most basic campaign activity is Canvassing. There are many reasons to Canvass, but the most basic is to Identify your’ supporters. (ID the vote). You Identify the vote so that you can get out the vote, (GOTV) for the advance polls, and on election day itself. Congratulations! You now know what everybody is talking about when they say ID-GOTV. They go hand in glove.
At the outset of the campaign, Elections Canada will provide paper, and electronic versions of the preliminary list of electors for your’ entire riding. The lists will be sorted into seperate polls, and further sorted within the poll by street address. Your’ campaign manager will need to assign priority to those polls where the largest number of Green votes are expected to come from. Your’ campaign will NOT have the resources to do the whole riding, so you must pluck the low hanging fruit. By the same token, far more homeowners vote than renters, so, unless you have a compelling reason, you will probably be focusing on homeowners.
The job of your’ volunteers is primarily to canvass door to door, or by telephone, (If you have
secured telephone numbers). You are basically asking people who they are going to vote for, and if they are willing to take a lawn sign. You record their answers, make sure you’ve got your’ supporters phone number, and move on to the next household. If somebody is leaning towards supporting the Green Party, you can spend a minute or so with them explaining the policy they are most interested in, but remember that you have about 40,000 households to visit, and only 30 days or so to do it in!
At the end of a long day’s canvassing, you return your canvas sheets to the campaign headquarters, where they are transcribed, (or scanned if you’re lucky), to the supporters list for the GOTV.
When the advance polls are about to open, you telephone the entire list of your’ known supporters, and ask them to go out and vote at the advance polls. Going door to door of known supporters is best, but will take a whack of volunteers. This is IMPORTANT! The Green Party voters will be under attack by the Liberals, and NDP over the whole campaign, and the other Party’s will have good computerized lists of all the Greens. They will be giving all kinds of silly, but effective stories to get them to change their votes. Every voter you get to the advance polls will not be able to change their minds over the last weekend before the vote. Since that is the weekend where a good chunk of our voters do exactly that, change their minds, every Green who goes to the advance polls is worth 1.5 greens who wait until eday to vote.
If you have ever wondered why the Green Party polls maybe 35% higher than their actual share of the vote on election day, the answer lies largely with the ID-GOTV cycle. Forget about all the pollsters, and pundits and their nonsense about ‘soft support’ and ‘bleeding away’. It’s all a load of crap. A good GOTV organization will increase the vote by up to 25%. It boils down to organization at the Poll level. The other Party’s have it. The Green Party doesn’t. therefore our support collapses on election day due to lack of effective reminders to get out and vote.