By Steve Pressman
Canvassing is the best way to convince people to vote. But it’s a lot of work! Here are some handy guidelines to make your canvassing a success:
- Dress appropriately and wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Take pens, clips, ziplock bag, snacks and water.
- Be polite, friendly and positive. It is more important that you leave a favorable impression than that you know all the issues.
- If you can’t answer a question, say “I don’t know” and offer to have campaign get back to them.
- Respect “No Trespassing” signs.
- Get all of the information you need.
- Spend no more than 3-4 minutes with a single voter.
- For Get Out The Vote, focus on their plan for voting.
- Expect most houses to not answer.
- Knock every door assigned, even if no sign they’re home.
- Knock and ring bell a few times, wait about 45 seconds.
- Be quick and just hand literature to a voter obviously busy with kids, phone call, etc.
- Legibly record results from each house.
- Expect to hit 12-25 doors per hour, less with a persuasion script, more with a GOTV script.
- Speak with sincerity about why you are volunteering and supporting the candidate.
- Finish by thanking them for talking with you.
- If no one is home, leave literature slid in or under door.
- Try to make duplicate copies of walk lists, so you can leapfrog houses or do opposite sides of street with your partner.
- Get cell phone numbers of canvass partners.
- Open screen/storm door or step into doorway until voter opens door.
- Enter voter’s home.
- Wear sunglasses at the door.
- Don’t initiate handshake or other physical contact.
- Argue with a voter.
- Be negative about opponent.
- Leave literature in mailboxes (illegal).
- Walk on lawns.
- Start by asking permission or time to talk.
- Give long, rambling speeches.
- Read every word of script or go off-message.
- Get bogged down in long conversation. Politely cut it off.
- Don’t make up information or an answer when you don’t know. Refer voter to campaign office.
- Skip a house with “No Soliciting” sign. You’re not selling anything.
- Waste time if voter never votes Democratic.
- Go back to doors that didn’t answer.
- Get discouraged if most houses don’t answer.