All grassroots events generate voter contact and some amount of “buzz,” or campaign energy… but one type of event stands head and shoulders above the others in terms of its ability to get voters excited, garner positive press coverage, and build support for your candidate: the voter blitz.
What is a Voter Blitz?
Simply put, a voter blitz is a “pull out all the stops” event that targets a single geographic area for a short burst of massive campaign activity. The goal is to pick an area in your district and so overwhelm it with campaign movement over the course of a couple of hours that everyone who lives and works there knows your candidate’s name and message.
Targeting Your Blitz
To hold a successful voter blitz, the campaign targets an area that is small enough to be able to overwhelm with activity given the number of volunteers you have available. For example, if you’ve got a team of 12 people participating, you can’t cover a complete state senate district (and you probably wouldn’t want to). Instead, your 12 people would target one or two swing precincts for your blitz.
The targeting is key – don’t use a voter blitz in your opponent’s base districts, where the activity will just rile up voters who won’t vote for you anyway (unless your goal is to rile them up and make your opponent think you are contesting his or her home areas). Likewise, while you could target your own base precincts, you probably don’t want to expend this amount of energy there, unless you are in desperate need of some get out the vote momentum. Instead, target your voter blitzes to swing precincts, and keep the area you are targeting for each blitz small enough to be able to really overwhelm it.
What types of activity can you include in your blitz? Use some or all of the following tactics:
Door to Door – Knock on the doors of all registered voters in the blitz area.
Lit Drops – Drop literature to homes and businesses
Yard Signs – Blanket the area with yard signs. Get supporters to put 2 or 3 signs up in their yard on the day of the blitz.
Sign Waving – Post 2 or 3 volunteers at each of the key intersections in the blitz area to wave signs and make noise
Rally – if you’ve got enough supporters who can attend, you could host a rally in the blitz area to kick off or end the blitz
Candidate Meet and Greet – place the candidate at the main intersection, or another area where people walk by frequently. Have him or her hand out brochures and shake hands. Make it a big production. Have volunteers there waving signs, handing out candy, tie balloons up… the works.
Campaign Cars / Vans – If your campaign has access to some cars or vans, put campaign signs all over them drive around the blitz area to build visibility.
Voter blitzes help raise name ID and give the perception that your campaign is surging.
As you can see from the above list of tactics, the ultimate goal of the voter blitz is to target one neighborhood with massive amounts of activity that raises name ID and gives the perception that your campaign is really moving forward.
Be prepared to write down names and contact info for people who want more info, or to volunteer or put up a yard sign, as you may find many people come up to the sign-wavers or candidate and say, “I want to get involved!”
Many campaigns try to do one voter blitz per week or per month during the final few months of the campaign. Try to pick times when people will be around. If you’re targeting a metropolitan downtown area, choose a time when people are working and walking around (weekdays at rush hour and lunchtime are good bets). If you are targeting a suburban area or residential neighborhood, weekend afternoons or evenings generally work well.
The Step by Step Voter Blitz Guide
O.k. You’re ready to try a voter blitz. Where do you start? Here’s a step by step guide for holding your next voter blitz:
#1 – Choose an area to target with your blitz.
#2 – Pick a day and time for your blitz activity.
#3 – Make sure you have enough materials (signs, brochures, etc.).
#4 – Put together a team of volunteers.
#5 – Train your team.
#6 – Meet at a designated point on blitz day.
#7 – Hold a 2-4 hour voter blitz.
#8 – Collect information from door to door and lit drop volunteers on which houses they visited.
#9 – Within 3 days after the blitz, respond to everyone who asked for more information or a yard sign, add new supporters to your database, and send thank you cards to everyone who said they support you or who wants to help your campaign.
#10 – Get ready for your next blitz.
Every campaign, no matter how small or large, can benefit from the unique buzz and energy generated by voter blitzes. Why not add some into the grassroots plan for your next election?