Hilary Stephenson writes: Making sense of "Get Out The Vote"

April 8, 2015 4:28 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Hilary Stephenson, the Liberal Democrats' Director of Elections and Field Operations, jargon-busts GOTV.

You've probably heard the term 'GOTV'or 'Get Out The Vote'. But what exactly does it mean?

It's pretty simple - and a way you can make a difference to the election result, while meeting voters and local campaigners.

How we 'Get Out The Vote'

For many months and years, our campaign teams have been tirelessly canvassing on the phone and doorsteps - helping us identify Liberal Democrat supporters in their area.

Towards the end of the campaign comes the Shuttleworth. This list of people who have said they are likely to vote for us is made up of canvass data and other information. We use this as a valuable tool to 'Get Out The Vote', contacting this shortlist and reminding them to vote for us.

This process happens in two phases: first by contacting postal voters when their voting papers arrive, and secondly, by contacting everyone else.

How 'GOTV' helps us

It's the difference between winning and losing! Simple as that. With a strong GOTV operation, we can increase turnout among our supporters by as much as 24%.

Imagine a small council ward, where both we and the opposition have identified 500 supporters. They don't do any GOTV, so perhaps 250 of their supporters vote and the rest stay at home. We conduct a good GOTV operation and increase our turnout by 20%. That would mean that 300 of our supporters vote and we win the election, despite having the same number of supporters as the opposition.

How you can help

Our campaign teams are starting their GOTV operations right now. Anything you can do to help will make a difference, so to get involved with your nearest campaign event, go to www.libdems.org.uk/volunteer.