Work the polls
On this journey, you will be asking people to sign up to work the polls, with the goal of ensuring a smooth voting process in the 2020 election. We’ll walk you through how the voter organization “More Than A Vote,” led by NBA superstar LeBron James, launched a national campaign called “We Got Next” to address the poll worker shortage ahead of November 3.
- Short and straightforward
- Credible and persuasive
- Personal and memorable
- Do you want to serve your community?
- Do you believe elections should be safe, fair and efficient?
- Do you think our democracy works best when everyone is counted?
Before you start your campaign planning make sure you know all the important election deadline dates in your state.Deadlines
The 2020 election is right around the corner, and numerous voting rights organizations around the country have sounded the alarm bells about the possibility of a poll worker shortage. Don’t wait to launch your recruitment campaign! The time is now.
Know Your Audience
The first step in building your Work The Polls campaign is determining who you are trying to reach and what is the best way to reach them.
Poll workers are critical to elections running smoothly. They are tasked with preparing the polling location, welcoming voters, verifying voter registrations, issuing ballots and explaining voting procedures.
Sure, it may not be the most glamorous job, but it’s definitely a rewarding one. Poll workers are the unsung heroes of elections. Often thought of as the gatekeepers of democracy, they truly make all the difference.
The issue is few people want to be poll workers, and a national shortage of poll workers could pose serious problems on Election Day, like long lines and voter confusion.
We Got Next targets the youth
The campaign focuses on getting young people to work polling locations in Black communities in swing states, including Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio. To expand its reach, the campaign partnered with an impressive collective of athletes and artists, including NFL star Patrick Mahomes, WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith, Kevin Hart, Bun B, and Offset.
For this campaign, you will be asking your audience to sign up to become a poll worker. But before you do, anticipate the questions they might have:
What are the requirements for becoming a poll worker?
How much of a time commitment is it?
Are there training sessions involved?
Is it safe?
Will I get paid?
Be prepared to address any potential concerns or objections. Meet apathy with excitement.
Establish a POV
Before you can persuade your audience of anything, you will need to decide what you will say to them. This is your campaign message or point of view (POV).
Having a clear and concise POV will be critical to the success of your campaign. And being able to articulate your POV with authority and conviction will boost your credibility in the eyes of your audience.
If you have some time, learn about the national poll worker shortage, and how the coronavirus pandemic is making matters worse (this Pew Research Center study is a great place to start). Having some background knowledge will help you formulate an educated POV.
What is the average age of poll workers in the U.S.? (Hint: Way older than you!)
How many polling places are operating nationwide on Election Day this year?
How are voters generally allocated among polling places?
With answers to these questions, you can begin to craft your POV. The following characteristics make a strong POV:
Once you have developed a POV, it is important that you not deviate from it throughout the campaign. Don’t lose sight of it. And keep it centered in all of your messaging.
Voting should be accessible
“More Than a Vote” is all about ensuring that voting is safe, fair and accessible for everyone. The campaign POV channels the power of the collective with provocative taglines like: "Democracy is not a spectator sport” and “Our right to vote won’t be taken away on our watch.”
Convince people to act with a CTA
Congrats on some awesome progress so far! At this point, you know who your audience is, and you know what you want to communicate to them. It’s time to decide on the action(s) you are going to ask them to take.
Text us. We can help.
A call to action, also known as a CTA, is an invitation to a viewer, reader, or listener to perform a specific act. “Join us,” “Register to vote,” and “Make a plan to vote,” are all examples of CTAs.
What is the one action you want your audience to take? Do you want them to sign up to be a poll worker? Get their friends and family members to sign up to be a poll worker?
The last thing you want is for your audience to be confused about what action to take. Not having a clear CTA can create participation barriers. Make sure your CTA is prominent and ubiquitous.
We Got Next asks youths to work the polls
Help your community and sign up to become a poll worker so that all voices can count in this election. The campaign also diffuses intimidation with a reassurance: “Don’t worry: you don’t need any previous experience as a poll worker. You will receive a complete training, PPE, and in most jurisdictions, you will be paid a stipend for your work on Election Day.”
Map the Journey and Set Goals
You know what you stand for. And you know what you want your audience to do. How do you guide them there and what goals have you set for the campaign?
Set some tangible goals. Decide how many people you want to register: Five? More? 100? It’s up to you! The important part is you know what you are trying to achieve.
Next, envision the steps your audience will need to take to perform the desired action(s). For this, it might be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your audience.
Maybe it’s with rhetorical questions like:
Anticipate what your audience will need in order to perform the desired action(s). Ask yourself the following questions:
What kind of content helps your audience discover and understand your POV?
Do you support and inform your audience with your content? Do they see you as a valuable resource?
What channels (email, social media, web pages, door to door, phone and text banking) are you using to reach your audience?
Which channels are proving to be most effective? In which channels is engagement a challenge?
Whatever approach you choose, make sure to meet your audience on their territory. Ultimately, that is where you will probably make the biggest impact.
The More Than a Vote journey is online and offline
The campaign website is central to the success of the “We Got Next” campaign. It allows visitors to check if they’re registered to vote and sign up to power the polls.
Offline, the strategy is even more creative. The campaign is working with NBA teams to convert stadiums into polling sites, and sending out voter protection kits that contain masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and voting information cards.
Create some content to communicate your POV and get your audience excited about your campaign.
What is a visually compelling way to reimagine your POV? Build a small library of visual content, like posters, postcards, signs, pamphlets, banners, billboards, photos or videos.
More Than a Vote is personalizing assets
The campaign has rolled out ads and mailings in targeted states across the country. Fun fact: The mailings include letters from James himself!
Not all of us are graphic designers or videographers. If you are not a visual communicator, rely on others in your community to make your creative vision come to life. Or, feel free to tap into our suite of digital assets.Use Our Resources
Once you launch your Work The Polls campaign, keep note of what is working and what isn’t working. That way, you can make adjustments the next time around.
You don’t have to be LeBron James to launch a successful campaign. You also don’t have to sign up 10,000 volunteers to work the polls. Every single bit helps. You’re doing great.