What is Canvassing?

  • “Political canvassing refers to the process of going out “in the field” to engage voters of a particular district. Frequently, this means going door-to-door to speak with voters at their homes. It can also involve interacting with voters in public gathering places, although home visits are the best way to confirm that the potential voter actually lives in the targeted district.” Excerpt from article linked below.
  • More specifically we are trying to accomplish two things.
    1. Gather information about issues of concern and political leanings for people for whom we do not yet have any information.
    2. Getting Out The Vote or GOTV when an election is close by sharing information on candidates and elections with people that are more likely to vote Democratic.
What it isn’t!
  • It is NOT knocking on doors of people that are already known to support the opposite party or candidate.
  • It is NOT arguing, debating, or trying to convince someone that already has strong opinions for the other party or candidate.
  • It is NOT knocking on every door. We are very strategic with our lists and efforts!
  • If someone says I always vote Republican, you say “Ok, thank you for your time.” You then mark that down so we do not send a canvasser to that person in the future.
Articles on why CANVASSING is the best way to reach voters
  • Political Canvassing Tips for your Door-to-Door Campaign – Developed from MoveOn
    • “In a study on MoveOn GOTV operations, researchers found that contact with MoveOn volunteers increased turnout by approximately 9 percentage points. Because, unlike a conversation on a social media platform, a face-to-face interaction is deeply personal. Two people having a respectful conversation on a doorstep are more likely to find common ground.”
  • What is Canvassing – Learn about the Campaign Technique – Link to Master Class taught by David Axelrod and Karl Rove! – note that if you go to this link, you can skip the intro survey and just click on “Continue reading article” at bottom of the screen
Testimonials from experienced NAT canvassers and newbies
  • From 2018 blog post by NAT Volunteer Jodi W. – “When I started volunteering with NAT, I would cringe, and perhaps even hide, anytime anyone mentioned canvassing. It was with extreme trepidation that I buddied last spring with NAT leader and long-time canvasser Nancy Dodge. She was excellent at sharing suggestions and support, but at the end of my shift I was still so leery of knocking on people’s doors. Doubts danced in my mind: “I don’t know all the answers to everyone’s questions,” “I don’t know all the facts about the candidates,” and “I might be bothering people.” – Read the rest of Jodi’s comments HERE
What If ?  Often when you are out canvassing you come across questions of how to handle some situations, so what if…
  1. There is a No Soliciting sign?
    • Canvassing is protected free speech and is not selling something. But use your own judgement on whether to go ahead and knock.
    • If there is a sign that says No Soliciting, Political Canvassing etc than respect their wishes and mark Inaccessible on your sheet.
  2. When are other times to mark Inaccessible?
    • Mark Inaccessible if you cannot find the address, there is a locked gate and you cannot even get to the door to knock.
    • Do not use this if it is a locked apartment building as someone else might try another time.
  3. The person on your list doesn’t live there anymore but someone else is willing to talk?
    • Mark the person on your list as Moved or Deceased. This is important information to update in the database.
    • If the new resident is willing to talk and they moved to this address from within Wisconsin, ask for their full name and go ahead and mark their answers. The data entry volunteers will search for that person and try to update their address in the Wisconsin database.
    • If the new person seems interested, tell them about NAT and encourage them to get involved. Leave a NAT blue card.
  4. One person at that address is on your list and another one is not?
    • Often this happens with spouses. A good response is just to say…
      • “This happens sometimes. Our lists are generated based on voting status and history so you may just have slightly different voting patterns or perhaps one of you was already surveyed recently. I’m happy to take down the replies for both of you.”
  5. One person that is willing to talk or Refuses tells you that another person on your list that isn’t home at the time would give you the same answers?  
    • Only record responses for the people that you actually talk to rather than taking someone else’s word for their views.
    • Mark the other person as Not Home.

Are you convinced to give it a try?

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