Too often, absentee and early vote strategies are put on the backburner until right before the convenience voting window opens.
If that’s the case, you’re often too late and will spend the push and chase convenience voting period playing catch up while reassuring donors, supporters, and leadership that everything is okay despite the negative headlines touting high Democrat turnout or lagging Republican enthusiasm.
The best approach is formulating an absentee and early voting plan early, setting clear goals and tactics, and using the primary season to test and refine your plans ahead of the general election.
To get started, you have to understand both the law and historical trends of your state. These laws often change; take for example New York, where the legislature enacted early voting for the first time in 2019, or Pennsylvania, where voters no longer need an excuse to vote absentee.
In a number of states, permanent absentee voters and/or voters who have previously voted absentee are automatically mailed a ballot. As of 2020, 5 states will conduct all elections by mail – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Hawaii – with every registered voter receiving a ballot in the mail. Absentee chase programs will be critical in these states.
Your absentee and early voting plan may include a combination of the following:
Absentee Ballot Applications (Direct Mail)
Mailed to all targeted households, absentee ballot applications are often larger direct mail pieces containing two absentee application forms for eligible voters at that household. The process is easy and convenient for voters, who can be motivated with messaging on an issue of concern to them.
Absentee Ballot Awareness & Persuasion (Digital)
From video to display to social media, reach your target audience of voters to build awareness of absentee voting, encourage them to learn more about how they can vote absentee, and persuade them to vote for you.
Absentee Chase (Direct Mail)
How do you reach voters within your target audience who have requested their absentee ballot? Direct mail. Absentee chase mail will be sent to these voters after their election authority mails them a ballot with messaging that focuses on you, the hot-button issues, and a strong call to action to complete their ballot and mail it back by the deadline.
Early Vote Push (Direct Mail)
Raise awareness of early voting through direct mail sent to those voters within your target audience who have not requested an absentee ballot. Be sure to list early voting sites in their county and hours to highlight the convenience of voting early over voting on Election Day.
Early Vote Push (Digital)
Search ads are a great way to reach voters who are looking for more information about early voting with persuasive messaging specific to you and your campaign.
Absentee Chase/Early Vote Push (P2P Texting)
Don’t forget about peer to peer (P2P) text messaging. P2P texting sends messages to cell phone numbers featuring text, images, or short videos. It’s a great medium for sending short reminder messages to absentee and early voters, reminding them to return their completed absentee ballot or where to vote early.
In close elections, every single vote can make a difference. Your absentee and early voting strategies should identify a target audience of voters you need to ensure cast a ballot.
Our strategists can help you identify your target audience and explain how repeatedly presenting a voter with the opportunity to cast their ballot ahead of Election Day is a proven and successful tactic.
The team at Majority Strategies has significant experience running highly-targeted, effective absentee and early voting programs with measurable results for our clients. Contact us today to learn more, view samples, and read case studies highlighting our absentee and early voting work.