|In this chapter|
|Organizing the Volunteer Force|
|Scheduling the Volunteers|
|Activating the Right Voters|
In general, to get a vote, you must ask for it anywhere from three to eight times. You can ask in ads in the newspaper, on TV, over the radio, via direct mail, on lawn signs, or by canvassing. In small communities, canvassing is a great way to get a feel for your constituency and their concerns, and it can also be among the most elevating and gratifying experiences in a campaign.
However, canvassing is not about changing minds. It is about changing voter turnout. You can do that by going door to door in the high-support/low- (or medium-) turnout areas, thereby reminding supporters that you need their votes to win. Canvassing is about activating supporters; that is, reminding them to vote.
Do not think you will go into a neighborhood, drop off a piece of campaign literature, and have someone read it, hit herself on the forehead, and say, "My God, I have been a fool! This is the candidate for me." It doesn't work that way. Canvassing does not change minds. Nine out of ten people don't even read the material. Your hope is that they will place it somewhere in their home and remember the name or ballot measure while voting. Don't get me wrong; there will be a few who thoughtfully read and digest the material and even change their minds, but they are the minority. When you canvass, you are simply activating people already sympathetic to your cause or candidate.
"A great many|
people think they
when they are
ing their preju-
|-- William James|
I have never worked in a campaign where I did not canvass. Canvassing is an effective and inexpensive way to get your message to the voters. It can also be a great way to get a feel for your chances of winning. In my second bid for mayor, the lawn signs for the opposition lined the main street through town, and my chances looked