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This blog will serve as a commentary that explores issues related to the intersection of American politics, race, and gender. Its focus is on the leadership of diverse women who served or currently serve in a role that contributes to shaping the outcome of political campaigns or civic engagement/voting efforts.... Read more

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How Can You Get Out the Vote?

Photo | Phil Fabrizio

Photo | Phil Fabrizio

What exactly does it mean to “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV)? For those who are new to campaigning, it simply means helping turnout votes during election time. The GOTV process involves field campaign staff targeting specific blocks of voters by precincts.  Most field strategies are based on election rules and primarily involve voter contact. Voter outreach efforts include making phone calls, knocking on doors, and mailing campaign fliers to households. Campaign volunteers play a major role in carrying out GOTV activities, but some political campaigns may have a budget to conduct a paid GOTV effort.  As the Presidential Primary draws near for Maryland on April 26, 2016, below are a few handy resources that will help you increase voter turnout.  These organizations provide information, training, and voter organizing efforts that will prepare you for GOTV during this election cycle. 


What to Expect When Doing GOTV

Already know which candidate you want to support, but don’t know what to expect when you stop by the campaign office?

  • For new volunteers: Get familiar with the format of the scripts you’ll receive from campaign staff before you begin knocking on doors and making phone calls. Wellstone provides campaigners with tips for effective voter contact scripts, which goes over terminology and explains the difference between the persuasion script and GOTV script.
  • GOTV volunteer managers: Support your ideal candidate by leading your own GOTV effort. Wellstone also provides tools on how to manage your own GOTV canvass or phone bank. Check out the sample plan with key action steps to carry out an effective GOTV effort.

Mobilize Voters Among Fellow Women Civic Leaders

Mobilize with the national organization rooted in the movement that secured women’s right to vote: The League of Women Voters (LWV). Founded in 1920, the LWV has made strides to foster civic engagement and increase access to the vote across the nation.  Their current work is focused on protecting voters’ rights, educating and engaging voters, reforming money in politics, and defending the environment. Find out how you can get involved with the LWV for the Montgomery County LWV here.

Get the Community You Serve on Board with GOTV

Are you currently working at a non-profit seeking ways to get the community to participate in civic engagement? Non-Profit VOTE makes it easy for non-profit organizations to integrate voter outreach plans into their community service efforts. Check out Non-Profit VOTE’s fact sheet, laying out the seven principals of GOTV. There’s also a webinar to help you get started!

Raise the Voice of Underrepresented Communities

Voter turnout among underrepresented communities is crucial in the upcoming elections. Several national organizations are currently dedicating their efforts to change the face of the American electorate. These organizations empower diverse populations with the tools, education, and networks that enable them to vote. Here are just a few key non-profit groups that serve ethnic communities:

  • Asian & Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) Vote – A national nonpartisan organization that works with partners to mobilize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in electoral and civic participation.
  • Voto Latino – A civic media organization that provides culturally relevant programs that engage, educate and empower Latinos to be agents of change through innovative digital campaigns, pop culture, and grassroots voices.
  • This Is My Vote, a project of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), provides information on the fight for voting rights and resources to get the vote out by state, including Maryland.

Which candidate will you support for GOTV in 2016? Let us know on Twitter: @abuoyedpath #politicswithin

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Tonia Bui

About Tonia Bui

Tonia Bui is currently a strategic communications consultant. Most recently, she served as treasurer for the Hoan Dang for County Council campaign in Montgomery County. Tonia previously served as the Communications Director for the Nguyen for Delegate Campaign (VA-67) in 2013 and led the Asian American voter outreach efforts for the Darcy Burner for Congress Campaign (WA-08) in 2008. Her efforts to build stakeholder engagement stems from her experiences serving as the Member Outreach Assistant to Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-34). She also previously worked for U.S. Senator Barack Obama (IL-13) and California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (CA-12). Her work has been published by the Harvard Asian American Policy Review and cited by scholars of the political science textbook, Campaigns on the Cutting Edge. Tonia holds a Master in Public Policy from American University and a B.A. in Mass Communications and Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Read more of Tonia's blog Politics Within Politics.


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