I agree with Angie in WA State Old School that 'old school' is an excellent GOTV method. I wrote about my pilot project in 2012 Getting Out the Vote. My only reservation is that, unless voting patterns are very different in Washington than what I found in Ohio, you may be talking to the wrong people.
When I examined voting in mid-term elections in Allen County I found that both registered Dems and registered Reps voted about 80% of the time. However the undeclared voters, which are close to two-thirds of the registered voters, vote only about 20% of the time. Now in Ohio you become a registered voter by voting in a partisan primary. If Washington handles things differently, the pattern may be very different. However it would be worthwhile to look at the data from your BOE and make sure that you're talking to the right people.
Below the fold I'll talk about what I am doing to implement what I have found out in the pilot project to fit the patterns of voting in Ohio.
My first diary was a report on my idea for a different kind of get out the vote effort. It was aimed at forming a multi-year effort rather than the usual presidential election spasm. The idea was to require a low enough effort of my volunteers that they would be willing to repeat the effort and do so even in non-presidential years.
I now have the final results of the vote in my precinct and was able to run an analysis on how well my block captains did. First let me say that I had talked about my plans with the local Obama staffer and she thought it was a great idea and agreed to coordinate with me so we could make a real test of the concept. I gave her a list of the blocks where I had been able to recruit block captains and she kept her people out of those blocks and worked the other blocks as normal.
Thus the test was between the block captain concept and the Obama campaign's very effective get out the vote effort. In analyzing the results I looked at the voter turnout of non-Republicans (Democrats and undeclared) in both the area of my precinct covered by my block captains and the area which wasn't covered. I deliberately set my goal high--to meet or exceed the turnout in 2008.
In the area of the precinct which was not covered, the turnout was 10% less in 2012 than the turnout in 2008. In the area of the precinct which was covered by my block captains, the turnout was 6% greater in 2012 than it was in 2008. In effect that is a 16% swing.
I am convinced that the block captain model is a success and I would urge others to adopt it--particularly for the upcoming tough 2014 election. More after the elegant apostrophe.
I think I have read some talk of this problem before but it seemed to me to be overblown. However one paragraph of Scalia's remarks reported by Mark Sherman in an Oct. 5th A.P. story makes the problem abundantly clear and shows how wrong I was. It isn't overblown; it is Scalia hoisting himself on his own petard.
Scalia calls himself a ‘‘textualist’’ and, as he related to a few hundred people who came to buy his new book and hear him speak in Washington the other day, that means he applies the words in the Constitution as they were understood by the people who wrote and adopted them.
If the word 'Arms' in "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." is to be interpreted "as they were understood by the people who wrote and adopted them" then modern weapons are not covered by the amendment.
Assault weapons are certainly not what the people who wrote those words were thinking of when they wrote them, nor were revolvers, nor any gun using cartridges. Would they have approved the amendment if they had dreamed that "arms' could spew out death at the rates modern weapons can? Who knows? But if Scalia means what he says he can't assume that they would. The word "Arms' in the amendment can only mean what it meant to those who wrote and adopted it and suggesting that it applies to more than that violates his "textualist’’ views. What a hypocrite!
Today is the start on in-person early voting in Ohio. In my first diary (Getting Out the Vote) I described my GOTV plan for my precinct. I was able to recruit 20 Block Captains to collect phone numbers of registered voters on their blocks. This past weekend my Block Captains have been calling the voters on their block (Neighbors calling Neighbors) to remind them that early voting starts today and giving them the times and location to vote. They also offer people rides, remind them of the Democratic candidates (particularly the Supreme Court Justices who are not identified on the ballot by partisan affiliation) and explain the redistricting amendment on the ballot which the Republicans are doing everything they can to kill.
Of course my suggested script for my Captains had to include a different script for each week since the times ordered by Husted (SOS) are different by week and offices are closed on Columbus Day and open later on the last day for registration. We also still don’t know what will happen on the last weekend since the Federal Court ruling to allow voting then has been appealed and the appeal has not been ruled on yet. More on what has gone right and what has not below the elegant apostrophe.
My first diary described my efforts in organizing my precinct for GOTV. I've recruited Block Captains to get phone numbers for voters in their block and then call those voters to remind them when early voting starts and urge them to vote. I was encouraged to give updates on the process (and to link to the original diary which I haven't figured out how to do, help.)
I had asked my Block Captains to call me when they had completed their surveys so I could pick up their notes and enter the information my database and print out calling lists for them. My experience with giving house parties for Obama and Sherrod Brown is that too many fail to show despite their promises. I therefore expected to spend time on the phone pushing and prodding.
My first surprise was that four of my Block Captains actually called to have me pick up their lists with no prodding. My second surprise was that when I called six were ready to have me pick up their lists, two volunteered to do an extra block, three were still working, and in five cases I had to leave a message on the answering machine. Not only that but the reasons those still working hadn't completed were solid. One had just returned from vacation, another had had surgery on his hand, and the third was having trouble getting an answer at one of his houses.
If anyone wants to duplicate what I'm doing (and I really wish people would,) use a list of faithful Democratic voters to recruit your Block Captains as I did. It was my hope that the fact that they voted in every election would mean that they would take their job seriously and that seems to be borne out here. More than half of my volunteers are done with no pushing from me. Only a quarter couldn't be reached directly in one phone call in one evening. We'll see what happens when I connect with them, but I am more than pleasantly surprised about how well things are going.
More after the elegant apostrophe.
The Teapublican efforts at blocking the vote and the consequences if it succeeds have finally moved me to stop lurking and write. I have organized a GOTV effort that I would like to see copied. I call it "Neighbors calling Neighbors."
I got a CD from the Board of Elections of all registered voters and the last ten times they voted. I divided my precinct into blocks and printed out a list of all addresses in that block with a registered voter, the names and voting records of each of those registered voters. I made a folder for each block with the list, some Voter Registration forms, and my card (which I had printed up with my self appointed title of Precinct Organizer.)
Then I printed out a list of faithful democrats (people who when they voted in a primary election always took a Democratic ballot and who voted every year.) This was my hunting list. I went to them and asked them to be a Block Captain. The key was to make the Block Captain's duties as light as possible and to go to people who understood the importance of voting.
The Block Captain is asked only to visit each house on his/her block, check that those on the list haven't moved or died since the list was made, register any unregistered voters, and (most important) get a current phone number.
I pick up the corrected lists and take any new registrations to the Board of Elections. I correct my master list for the precinct and then print out a phone list for each Block Captain. When early voting starts the Block Captains call their neighbors, tell them the hours and location for early voting, ask them if they need a ride, and urge them to vote early.
At the end of the week I collect the names of those in my precinct who have voted, contact my Block Captains and tell them to mark them as having voted and call those who haven't and urge them again. This continues until early voting ends. The weekend before election day another call is made reminding those who haven't voted that election day is their last chance.
On election day I will strike the polls for my precinct at 11:00 and 4:00, tell my Block Captains who has voted, and ask them to make two more calls to get people to the polls. More on my experiences and reasoning after the elegant apostrophe.