COVID-19 has changed many things, and none of us know what the next few weeks or months will be like or what additional changes, cancellations, postponements, and closures may come, including rescheduled primary elections.
Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, governors across the U.S. are balancing the protection of public health with conducting critical primary elections.
Many states, including Ohio, Maryland, Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Connecticut, have already made the decision to postpone elections to later this year. Other states are weighing loosening restrictions on voting by mail or moving elections entirely to vote by mail.
With fears and uncertainties surrounding in-person voting, there is now an increased importance on having a vote-by-mail strategy.
How do you create one?
Step One: Understand the Law
When designing an effective absentee strategy, having a clear understanding of the absentee or vote-by-mail laws in your state and/or if those laws have changed in light of the current crisis is a critical first step.
In certain states, the Secretary of States have decided to mail out absentee ballot applications to either all voters or older voters. If this is the case, then efforts should be shifted to focus on the absentee push and chase efforts.
Step Two: Know the Dates
Know when your state’s window for absentee or vote-by-mail opens and closes so you can not only coordinate when your mail goes out but also clearly instruct voters about deadlines, creating a needed sense of urgency.
Step Three: Identify Your Target Audience
Who to talk to is just as important as what to say. Targeted audiences can be based on geography, demographics like veterans or seniors, or issues like immigration, values, or taxes and spending.
Once these critical elements have been outlined – your campaign has identified its target audience of primary voters, identified your campaign’s ideal timing, and has a clear understanding of the AB/EV laws – an absentee voting by mail plan may contain all or a combination of the following:
Absentee Ballot Applications (Direct Mail)
An absentee ballot application is mailed to all target households. Each mail piece typically contains two absentee application forms. The voter(s) writes in a small amount of information, affixes a stamp, and drops their completed application in the mail to their pre-addressed local election authority. Messaging will be hot-button issues designed to create an emotional response while also showcasing the ease and convenience of voting by mail.
Absentee Ballot Push (Digital: Display Ads)
These ads can build awareness about absentee voting. Majority Strategies delivers ads on over 200,000 different apps and millions of websites, which means the target audience will see the message more frequently.
Absentee Ballot Push (Digital (Social Media Ads)
One of the strongest platforms for engagement, Facebook advertising is great for pushing users to take a specific desired action. In this instance, we’ll drive your target voters to learn about how and where they can vote absentee.
Absentee Chase (Direct Mail)
The focus will be on ensuring individuals in your target universe that completed and mailed in an absentee application return their absentee ballot. These voters will be mailed an “absentee chase” piece after their election authority mails them a ballot. Messaging will include hot-button issues again, but mostly focus on the need to complete their ballot and mail it back in to ensure their vote is counted.
Absentee Chase (P2P Text Messaging)
Peer to peer (P2P) texting is a communication that sends messages to cell phone numbers featuring text, images or short videos. Texting is great for sending short reminder messages such as turning in an absentee ballot.
Throughout the course of your vote-by-mail campaign, we will monitor the number of absentee ballots requested and returned in your race and which of these voters fall in your target audience.
Ready to put together a winning plan? Contact our team of experienced state and national strategists here.
Learn more before you go:
Don’t Blow It: Be Ready When the Convenience Voting Window Opens
#MailMatters: How to Write a Winning Mail Plan
Who is Looking at Your Mail: The Scanner, the Glancer & the Reader