GOTV: What To Do With Your Leaners

by Ben Holse (He/Him)

Get Out The Vote Tips

A GOTV Question for the Ages – What to Do With Your "2s"?

ID-ing your supporters is an important part of any field campaign especially for GOTV. There are a variety of ways for Voter ID to help Get Out The Vote. One common method of voter ID using a 1-6 scale to measure each individual’s support score, with 1 being a solid supporter, 3 undecided, 5 firmly opposed, and a 6 not home.

1's are easy for Get Out The Vote:

Once you’ve collected this info you have a few options. The 1s are easy enough. They are a big party of your GOTV plan – you want to make sure they get out to the polls on (or before) Election Day. The 5s are just as easy – leave them alone. You'd be better off sending your volunteers to argue with a brick wall. But what do you do with those pesky 2s, or the "leaners"? 

What you do with Leaners for GOTV depends on the size of your campaign:

While some will see a 2 you may think, hey that’s not so bad, remember, only about 2/3 of the leaners will end up being in your corner on Election Day. The answer on what to do with your leaners depends largely on the size and scope of your campaign. In a larger, statewide race, it is more likely to be worthwhile to make a pass through your leaners.But in a smaller, local campaign, in which you will undoubtedly have fewer resources, deciding what to do with your leaners becomes more of a judgment call. How many people are in that district? How many volunteers will you have? Will making a pass through the leaners distract from making two passes through your 1s?  The answers to these questions will be a judgment call based on how many undecideds you need to get to your vote goal.

Volunteer judgment, can make IDing leaners problematic: 

There’s also one distinct problem with using a 1-6 “leaner” ID system, and that is volunteer judgment.  When using this system you are relying on a volunteer to make the decision of whether or not someone is a 1 or a 2, which can be tricky. Thus, when using a leaner system one must make sure to employ a regimented volunteer training system as well.

Less room for judgment may be a better call for a smaller campaign:

If you make the decision that you won't have the resources to make a pass through the 2s, then you should consider starting out with a different IDing structure. In this case, using a 1-4 scale may more suit your needs, with 1 being a solid supporter, 2 being undecided, 3 being opposed and 4 not home. Using this system, you will undoubtedly end up with a larger undecided bucket, but, even using the leaner system, you would have to figure out what to do with those individuals undecided anyway.

Have more questions about leaners and how to use them for Get Out The Vote? Check out our GOTV ebook.