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Celeste P. @Celeste_pewter
, 25 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Ok! Some canvassing tips for anyone who may be hitting the streets today.

Let's start with some canvassing logistics, for first timers -

1. Canvassing is visiting would-be voters, door-to-door, to talk about your candidate/measure/etc.

2. You're typically given a paper -
- packet of a precinct, with a list of voters. Depending on how the campaign has cut (or pulled) the list, they could be regular (high propensity) voters, periodic voters, voter of a certain minority group, etc.

3. The paper will typically contain names, address, codes.
The codes will be ones you can circle, e.g. already voted (AV), not voted, etc.

Don't be afraid to add random notes for follow-up, especially if you work smaller campaigns. I used to scribble things like, "Is concerned about roads!" so the candidate could call on that issue.
4. When you're given a packet, you're probably going to be told: "Hit x number of houses in an hour."

At the risk of campaign managers everywhere giving me dirty looks, remember: it's okay if you don't fully make that number, especially if you end up having solid conversations.
E.g. If you can tell that you're on the verge of convincing someone to vote for your candidate, stay and finish having that conversation, verses running off and making sure you meet your quota.

Most conversations *won't* take that long anyway.
5. You'll typically be given a script of talking points. If possible, try and research the candidate beforehand, and present the talking points in your own way.

It helps the flow of conversation, and you won't feel like you have to hit every point on the script.
Try and also remember things like key endorsements from other politicians + newspapers. You'd be surprised @ the number of people who vote completely based on endorsements.

Also: you'll be given walk pieces (or campaign materials) to leave w/ the voter or at the door.
As for canvassing itself:

6. Try and go with a partner. Most precincts are divided into odds and even # houses, so your partner can cover one side of the street, and you get the other.

This isn't always possible given the # of volunteers a campaign might have, but it's ideal.
Some of you mentioned that campaigns were giving you hard times for asking for partners - seriously, it's okay if you do, *especially* if you're new.

The buddy system also reassures the campaign that you're not on you're own if anything happens to you.
E.g. I once canvassed a house, where I found a woman with a walker, lying unresponsive in her entryway.

I texted my canvassing partner, who showed up and called 911, while I tried to help the woman. Partners are great. AND she ended up being fine.
7. When you get to the house, first do a quick check of the surroundings.

Small things - e.g. noticing whether they have a dog leash outside, or kids toys - can help you gauge whoever is about to open the door AND campaign issues you might want to bring up.
E.g. If they have kids? Talk about how your candidate is on education and the environment.

Also, noticing whether they have kids/pets can help remind you to do things like making sure the gates are latched, before you enter and leave. Nothing irritates a would-be voter -
- than if you leave the gate open, and their dog makes a run for it. It actually happened to a fellow canvasser once.

The person wasn't home, and that canvasser ended up having to chase the dog down a few blocks, to bring the dog back.
8. Once you get to the door, don't be afraid to march right up to the door.

It might feel natural to hesitate and stand a few steps away, but if you're standing on the stoop and the voter has to strain or step outside to talk to you, it just makes the conversation more awkward.
I actually like to stick out my hand first thing, and say, "HI! I'm Celeste from _____ campaign!"

The voter will (typically) instinctively feel like they have to take your hand and shake it, and that can act as a good ice breaker.
9. IF the voter has a negative reaction the second you say who you're with, don't take it personally.

I once had a voter stare at me, and then slooooowly do a thumbs down, complete with a whooshing noise, before saying: "Your boss is a loser" and brushing his hands.
Remember: those reactions are not about you. Those reactions are about that voter's relationship with your boss/the candidate/the party, and you just happen to represent that relationship at the moment. Laugh and move on.

(Truthfully, I still think about that guy and laugh.)
10. If the voter seems hesitant, be patient and ask why.

Most voters, particularly some older ones, aren't on Twitter, getting the type of instant news updates we are. They get their information from neighbors, from friends, from work, etc.
Some of that information can be wildly incorrect. Help them sort through their thoughts by asking questions, and giving sources to draw upon - including third party sources.

If they say they have to think about it, this is (most likely) a good thing. They might just be saying -
- it to get out of the conversation, BUT more often than not, they're genuinely considering what you've said.

11. If they're not home, you'll likely be instructed to leave your walk materials. DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE MAILBOX. Not every campaign tells new volunteers, but -
- it's illegal to put non-USPS material in mailboxes. The USPS appear to be pretty lax on following up when it does happen, but don't give other campaigns reason to file complaints against you.

(Yes - this is a thing. Campaigns will file FEC complaints against each other)
12. Do scribble a note on the walk material, if you have a few minutes.

If you're working a more local campaign, you might be instructed to scribble a note from the candidate. In general, you can just scribble something like, "don't forget to vote on Tuesday!"
It helps personalize the flier, and shows the voter that this wasn't just some mass-drop effort by a campaign. Someone actually came by, visited and took the time to write that note.

Things like that stick in their minds when voting.
13. Take advantage of the situation. If you're out and about and you see people who may not be on your list, don't be afraid to approach them and introduce yourself.

Every introduction is another potential vote, or someone who knows a potential vote.
14. If you end up having a low contact rate while canvassing - this is absolutely fine. Seriously.

Often times, canvassers are sent out when people are at work, running errands, at worship - etc. The fact you've made the effort (see #12) will still have an impact.
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