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Encyclopedia > Get out the vote

"Get out the vote," sometimes "GOTV," is a term used to describe two categories of political activity, both aimed at increasing the number of votes cast in one or more elections.

Contents


Impartial contexts

In impartial contexts "Get out the vote" is a slogan (and "get out the vote" is a generic grammatical predicate) used by non-partisan organizations, such as the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote, that are nominally or sincerely motivated by the belief that failure of any eligible voter to vote in any election entails a loss to society, rather than by a desire to assist a particular party, candidate or campaign. The League of Women Voters is a United States non-partisan political organization founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt during a meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. ... Founded in 1990, Rock the Vote is a non-profit,organization which encourages young Americans to vote. ...


Campaign contexts

In contexts of the efforts of candidates, party activities and ballot measure campaigns, "get-out-the-vote" (or GOTV) is an adjective indicating having the effect of increasing the number of the campaign's supporters who will vote in the immediately approaching election. (As a noun, "get out the vote" or GOTV is shorthand for either "get-out-the-vote activities" or "the previously planned get-out-the-vote portion of our campaign".)


GOTV generally is distinguished from preliminary activities necessary to carrying it out. That is, GOTV includes telephoning known supporters on the day of the election (or occasionally in the last few days before it to remind them to vote, and providing rides to the polls to known supporters), but the process of identifying those supporters is generally described as a separate part of the campaign, voter identification ("ID-ing") -- the major focus of canvassing. In an election canvassing is a method used by a political campaign to directly speak to large numbers of voters. ...


Other GOTV activities include literature drops early on election day or the evening before and an active tracking of eligible voters who have already voted.


The terminology reflects a distinction of GOTV from the complementary strategy of suppressing turnout among likely opposition voters. Political consultants are reputed to privately advise some candidates to "go negative" (attack an opponent), without any intent to sway voters toward them: this plan is to instead increase the number of eligible voters who fail to vote, because their tendency to believe "politics is inherently corrupt" has so recently been reinforced. Such turnout suppression can be advantageous where any combination of three conditions apply: Political consulting is the business which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns, primarily in the United States. ... A consultant is a professional that provides expert advice in a particular domain or area of expertise such as accountancy, information technology, the law, human resources, marketing, medicine, finance or more esoteric areas of knowledge, for example engineering and scientific specialties such as materials science, instrumentation, avionics, and stress analysis. ... Negative campaigning is trying to win an election by attacking an opponent rather than emphasizing ones own positive attributes or policies. ...

  1. The negative campaigning is targeted (by direct mail, telephone "push polls," or the like) on likely opposing voters, reducing the collateral damage to supporters morale.
  2. The side going negative has an advantage in its supporters being steadier voters than those of its opponent.
  3. The side going negative has an advantage in doing effective GOTV, so that its campaign workers can get a GOTV "antidote" to more supporters "poisoned" by the negative campaign, than the opposing campaign can of their own supporters.

The importance of get out the vote efforts increases as the total percentage of the population voting decreases. For instance, with only two thirds of the population voting in a Canadian election it is often far easier and more cost effective to ensure that a hundred supporters show up on polling day than it is to convince a hundred voters to switch support from one party to the other. This has also tended to polarize electoral politics. A 90% turnout from a party's radical base is often better than a 50 percent turnout from both radical and moderate supporters. A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. ...


GOTV can also be extremely important in high turn-out elections when they are extremely close. In these elections turnout can be critical in determing the election results.


See also

Politics is the process and method of gaining or maintaining support for public or common action: the conduct of decision-making for groups. ... PIG is an electoral technique commonly employed in the United Kingdom, consisting of three steps: Persuade — in which the organisation concerned convinces the public to support them—usually a political party attempting to solicit votes. ... Ratfucking is a political term, brought to public attention by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their Pulitzer Prize winning book, All The Presidents Men. ...

External links

  • GOTV Techniques
  • GOTV Software Vendors
  • Tilting the Playing Field: Voter ID & Turnout

  Results from FactBites:
 
Get out the vote - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (464 words)
GOTV generally is distinguished from preliminary activities necessary to carrying it out.
The importance of get out the vote efforts increases as the total percentage of the population voting decreases.
For instance, with only two thirds of the population voting in a Canadian election it is often far easier and more cost effective to ensure that a hundred supporters show up on polling day than it is to convince a hundred voters to switch support from one party to the other.
Political Get Out the Vote (454 words)
Get out the vote operations (sometimes called GOTV) are those activities that the campaign performs to turn voters out on Election Day – those tactics and strategies the campaign will use to get supporters to get up, go out, and vote on Election Day.
Get out the vote campaigns need to be targeted – that is, you need to make sure you are getting your supporters, and only your supporters, to go to the polls.
The goal of your get out the vote campaign is to identify who your supporters are, and get as many of them as possible to actually go vote.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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