Voters want to talk to the candidate

Door to door canvassing is the most effective way to reach voters in local elections. If you're running a low budget campaign for city council, canvassing should be the central piece of your voter contact program. 

Campaigns often combine two types of canvassing that I prefer to separate:

  • canvassing done by the candidate; and
  • canvassing done by the campaign staff or volunteers

Why should they be separate? Because voter contact done by the candidate is infinitely more effective than anyone else connecting with voters. 

If you have a large district, the candidate should doorbell the higher priority precincts, and volunteers should doorbell medium to low priority precincts. If you have less than 20 precincts to doorbell in your district, there's no reason the candidate can't do that on his own. 

Staff and volunteers should be used to accompany the candidate, drive the car and take notes while the candidate talks to voters. They can be used to knock out lower priority precincts that the candidate can't get to. And they can be used to do literature drops (no knocking, just leave literature) in high priority precincts the candidate has already canvassed. 

But I don't recommend using them to take the workload off the candidate in the high-priority precincts. You've prioritized them for a reason - getting those voters to the polls or persuading them to vote for you is a high priority. And no volunteer is going to convince voters to support your candidacy better than you are. 

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