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Early Voting Means Early GOTV

With only three Saturdays remain before Election Day, over 700,000 early and absentee ballots have already been cast. This includes votes in states that will likely decide who controls the Senate. The dynamics of GOTV efforts are changing as more and more states are allowing early voting, typically 15 to 30 days before Election Day.

I say this because 33 states in the U.S. allow for early voting. That old cliché, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush holds true. The more voters you can have locked in at the earliest possible moment, the better. Also, this means that your efforts can be focused and targeted only on those who have not yet voted. It saves campaigns time and money. As a senior Obama campaign aide said in 2012, “You stop sending them mail. You stop calling them. You don’t need to knock on their door anymore.” After all, well over 32 million ballots were cast before election day in 2012. That’s a lot of people campaigns didn’t have to contact, making their jobs immensely easier.

Some great ways to encourage early voting include holding rallies and events near early voting locations and encouraging attendees to go and vote before leaving the event. In 2012, Democrats pointed people to satellite voting stations on or near campuses and Republicans emphasized voting locations near mega-churches.

Social media campaigns have proven to be effective in GOTV efforts for normal voting. Such a campaign could just as easily be created to encourage early voting.

A number of voters don’t know where polling stations are located. Especially early voting stations, as they aren’t guaranteed to be the same as normal polling locations. Informing voters of polling locations, or of websites such as vote.gop.com, will remove obstacles, and excuses for voters to put off voting.

Add a “Vote Early” plug into your normal voter canvassing, so that those voters who are already supporting you are encouraged to go out early, so make sure you’re sending your canvassers out with early voting information to hand to voters. The more votes you get in the bag before Election Day, the fewer votes you’ll have to chase on that final day as the “game clock” winds down.