Get Out the Vote!

The National Exchange Club has developed this project to encourage Americans to "Get Out the Vote!" Americans are given the freedom of choice—to choose which candidate to elect or whether to vote at all. An alarming number of citizens are choosing the second option, leaving only a handful of people to decide who will run our country. Through this exciting program, clubs will educate and encourage people not only to register, but also to cast their vote on election day.

Purpose

Americans are given the freedom of choice — to choose which candidate to elect or whether to vote at all. When compared to the number of eligible voters in America, those who actually vote is alarming. In 2004 approximately 60% of eligible voters cast their ballot. Unfortunately, only a handful of Americans exercise their right to vote and decide the leadership and direction of our country.

Adopted in 1996, the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) Program educates and encourages American citizens to register and vote in political elections.

The month of September has been designated as Voter Registration Month. This is an excellent time to kick-off your GOTV campaign, which has two objectives. The first is to organize a month-long voter registration drive project. The second is to organize election day voter services, including transportation for voters, child care, staffing polls and general education.

Target Areas

Careful consideration and planning must go into determining target areas. Generally, areas that need the most assistance are those with concentrations of lower-income people and the elderly. The list of possible target areas or groups is as limitless as your imagination. One good way to develop such a list is to have a brainstorming session with the Get Out the Vote committee. Consider the following:

Can a deputy registrar be used and/or is registration by mail allowed in your state? Either one of these make your options much more flexible.

What are the total resources available? A word of caution, when brainstorming, don’t discount any idea until you are through listing them. What may at first seem to be an unworkable idea may be modified to fit your state’s guidelines and available resources.

Once a target area has been determined, a time table for action must be developed. Helpful details are found in the GOTV handbook, available free from National Headquarters. You are urged to consult the handbook before undertaking a Get Out the Vote project, to ensure details are not neglected or overlooked.

Timetable

In order to help you develop a plan of action, here is a model timetable incorporating the various elements of the GOTV program. It is intended only as a guide for timing and priority.

Put everything on a timetable. The best way is to plan backwards from the election day. Envision where you want to be on that day, then think back through the steps required to get there.

Prior to Activity

60 days Secure GOTV general chairperson and 

committee. Study election laws.

50 days Plan specific programs such as voter 

registration.

45 days Conduct targeting process.

40 days Secure absentee voting chairperson.

30 days Begin absentee program.

28 days Locate general and area headquarters.

26 days Begin preparing materials.

20 days Begin preparing mailing.

16 days Assign personnel.

10 days Send GOTV mailing.

7 days Conduct training session.

5 days Begin phone campaign.

Day of Carry out election day activities.

Supporting Material

Request free Get Out the Vote materials from your National Headquarters (800-XCHANGE) for all the necessary information available to carry out this project, including a guide, fact sheet and sample publicity materials.