Phone banking in 2020 comes in all shapes and sizes.
In the COVID era, phone banking is sometimes the only way we can reach voters, since canvassing door-to-door is no longer possible. Many of these calls are easy because they are brief and we are phoning registered Democrats, who are often happy to hear from us. Other calls require a little more persuasive power.
Why phone banking?
- Since door-to-door canvassing is on hold during the pandemic, phone banking is the most effective way to connect with voters, clean voter lists, and do voter identification.
- This strategy provides the opportunity for personal, real-time conversations. It allows us to make real-time connections with voters, give voters information, and collect valuable data for campaigns.
- Phone banking helps identify supporters, recruit volunteers, deliver yard signs, get out the vote, clean up phone lists, and more.
- Allows campaigns and state Democratic parties to gather critical data and target their resources.
- It’s critical for getting out the vote and reaching rural voters.
- It is practical and cost effective—anyone can phone bank from home without having to travel.
- You can still connect with your phone bank captain and other volunteers on Zoom.
There are lots of options to choose from and they all have a positive impact!
The world is your oyster when it comes to making calls with Swing Left Greater Boston. You can make calls in three languages, English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. You can promote Biden/Kamala at the top of the ticket all the way down to state house candidates. You can also help voters with the process of voting. Volunteers will be needed to follow-up on absentee ballots and voter registration applications. There are a lot of possibilities!
Although many people are reluctant to make calls, these phone banks are crucially important this year.
For those who haven’t phone banked before, there is plenty of training that will take place before they talk to voters. And during this pandemic, when so many are feeling isolated, people seem more open to talking to phone bankers.
Phone Call Types:
- Voter or Issue ID: ID calls are used to ask prospective voters about their candidate preference and/or the issues that are most important to them. This information is useful early in the campaign to inform our candidates about the issues that voters base their decisions on. They are very important later when we do Get Out the Vote (GOTV) calls because they help us to ensure that we encourage all of our candidates’ voters to come to the polls and don’t pull out the other candidates’ voters.
- Vote By Mail (VBM) “Chase”: These calls are very quick and easy. They ask if voters have received their “vote by mail” applications and encourage them to fill them out quickly and send them to their local election supervisor; or, to call or go online to register to vote by mail. We often have to reassure people about voting by mail, or explain the details.
- Voter Registration: These calls encourage unregistered voters to register. Some of the apps we use allow us to register the voters from our phones; other calls deliver information about how to register online. There are some states that don’t have online registration. In those cases, we provide information about how to register. RIght now we are aiming efforts at college students and at people who have recently moved into a state and were registered Democrats in their former homes.
- Voter Protection (Outgoing) This month and into the early fall, we will be calling loyal Democrats and asking them to volunteer to be poll workers and poll observers in their localities. Poll workers are needed to keep as many polling places open as possible, and poll observers will be monitoring for voter intimidation or denial. Some states are also recruiting for absentee ballot processing watchers who observe how ballots are handled.
- Voter Protection (Incoming): Volunteers will be staffing hotlines to answer calls that will range from questions about polling places or drop boxes to concerns about being denied the right to vote. In some states, volunteers will do follow up calls on voter questions or concerns. Volunteers go through a thorough training and are provided with resources and support to answer voters’ questions.
- Bridge Building: Phone bankers who make these calls take the time to build relationships and discuss the issues with voters. The goal is to build a level of trust that can convince reluctant voters to cast their ballots.
- Persuasion: Calls to undecided voters to press our case that voting for Joe Biden and down ballot Democrats is the right thing to do.
- Get Out the Vote (GOTV): In the last weeks before the election, GOTV begins. Pulling out our identified voters to go to the polls or to the mailbox or dropbox to cast their ballots is essential. This often involves some “social pressure” such as “voting choices are private but whether you vote is public information.” We also try to get voters to make a plan to vote. Research has shown that these and other related measures are highly effective in motivating voters to go to the polls or complete their ballots. GOTV includes “ballot chase” calls, which are made to remind voters to send in their mail-in ballots. We will be encouraging everyone to vote as soon as they receive their ballots to make sure that their votes are counted.