Exploiting differential turnouts is more difficult in joint elections but it is still really important to make sure that we maximise the turnout of known and potential supporters. Getting those people onto Postal Votes is then a key way to accomplish this. The enthusiasm of Postal Voters to use their vote means that we need to
a) get the maximum number of our existing and potential supporters onto postal votes
b) persuade and identify the many engaged but unaligned postal voters
to maximise the turnout of our voters
c) spread the load of getting our vote out onto the second “postal vote” polling day.
Here we focus on maximising the number of our existing and potential supporters who are on postal votes.
Who?Liberal Democrat supporters:
These should be the most obvious people to target first – voters who if they vote at all will vote Liberal Democrat or who are most likely to vote Liberal Democrat. You could simply contact all those D’s and P’s who do not have a postal vote or using the marked register to exclude those who vote regularly, you can prioritise those supporters who aren’t good at turning out.Supporters who’s Postal Votes have lapsed
In 2006 all existing postal voters had to re-apply providing their Date of Birth and signature. Many still have not done so yet.Supporters of the third party
It is also worth signing up for postal votes those voters who are supporters of the third placed party. If we are then able to persuade them to vote tactically for us then it will be to our advantage – but there is no disadvantage if that doesn’t happen.Young voters
Generally, under 35s are a good source of support for the Liberal Democrats, but much less likely to vote than older electors. So signing them up to postal votes is important. It’s not just those who may be away at university you want to sign up – but any young person, as getting them on a postal vote raises their chances of voting.Elderly voters
Elderly supporters – who may have difficulties in getting to the polling station – should be offered the opportunity for a postal vote where possible.Past lifts and postal voters
If there are any supporters who we have previously given a lift to, or who previously had a postal vote (but don’t currently have one), they too are a good group to target.When?
Now – there is nothing to stop you targeting people to sign up for postal votes all year round. Make it part of all your campaigning but specific mail shots in November, January and March to supporters without postal votes will pay dividends. How ?Leaflets and surveys
All year round in literature you can ask people if they are interested in voting by post. Make sure that you follow up anyone who doesn’t subsequently return a postal vote form – people often need a bit of reminding!Internet
Email is a great cheap way of targeting your message very precisely. In this case, if you’ve built up a database of email addresses you can target supporters who are not current postal voters, suggesting they sign up. Many people don’t like receiving attachments by email, so it’s best not to email them a postal vote form. Instead, put the form on a website and send them an email with a link to the form.
Alternatively, you can point them at the Electoral Commission’s website, www.aboutmyvote.co.ukDoor canvassing
Make sure that all your canvassers are equipped with postal vote forms to sign up voters who may need one.
A good tip is to also provide them with a freepost return envelope. It’s best for canvassers to get any forms filled out there and then on the doorstep. If they have to leave forms behind, then also leaving a Freepost envelope increases the chances of the form actually being completed and sent off.Phone canvassing
As with email, phone canvassing is a great tool for targeting particular people for postal votes.
Make sure that if someone says “yes” you send them a form (with Freepost return envelope) very promptly.
It’s best if you fill in the form with as much information as you can, so the person receiving it just has to sign and post back.Direct mail
The key elements of a good mailing are:
- Letter promoting postal voting’s benefits – you need to really push the benefits to make people get round to filling in a form and return it.
Postal vote form – with details mail-merged on – if you mail-merge people’s details on to the form, it is much easier and quicker for them to complete the form and send it back. People who have done this get a much higher response rate. You may use your own form or one from the council
- Return envelope – or form which can be folded and posted back – make it as easy as possible for people to return their form. Not everyone is like Lib Dem activists who are surrounded by envelopes at home!
Doing all the above at once gets you much higher return rates than a letter with a blank form.
Do the mailing more than once – as with most things in life, asking only once isn’t enough, you’ll get some response at the second, third or more time of asking.
The last mailing you do before polling day should be done two weeks before the application deadline so there’s plenty of time for any completed postal vote forms to be submitted. Templates
Use the letters and forms below to do a target mailings to encourage postal vote sign up. There are two versions – one with the application to be returned to the Lib Dem Office and the other with the form to be returned to the council.
The letters in this pack are designed to be sent with the Postal Vote application forms having the Names and Addresses mailmerged in and these forms will be used to show the address through the window envelope.
When delivering the applications, if they are being hand delivered don’t seal the envelopes then the resident can re-use easily.
We suggest that in houses of multiple occupation you send a letter to each person to make sure that they receive their own application forms.
Whatever you do, you need to keep contacting those members of your pool who do not have postal votes and reminding them to sign up.Download the templates
An updated set of Postal Vote artwork can be found on ALDC’s 2011-12 Artwork Pack 4