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How-To 5: October 5, 2011
Abentee and Early Voting
One of the essential elements of 5a good Get Out the Vote (GOTV) plan is paying close attention to your local absentee and early voting (AB/EV) rules. Your election campaign can be won before Election Day if you can get everyone to vote early. Early voting has grown in popularity as more and more voters with busy lifestyles and politicians seeking to expand voter turnout have expanded its availability.
Absentee voting is normally done by mail; early voting is normally done at a polling place, though not necessarily a local one. Once you've identified who you want to get to the polls, consider who will be your AB/EV voters. Absentee voters tend to be older people, people who have second homes, military personnel or college students away at school. Early voters tend to be younger, busy professionals with families.
Examine a voter's voting history to see how likely they are to vote. You should target as many voters that you have resources for. Those with more sporadic voting records should be your highest priority targets for AB/EV. Contact them by both mail and either a phone call or door visit, reminding them to vote using AB/EV.
Track AB/EV prospects and remove them from your list once they've voted so you can concentrate on others. Use the same techniques you'd use in the GOTV process, but with a timeline coinciding with the AB/EV period. Be mindful that AB/EV allows for additional areas where voter fraud can occur, and plan ahead so that you can minimize this cheating. A strong AB/EV plan may give you the edge over your opponents. Don't overlook the power of this additional time to get your voters to the polls.