Q & A

Which voters do I contact first?

Start by practicing with friends and family members.  Then go to the neighbors on your list who you know.  Then go to all the other people who are marked as targets on your list.

You’ll be contacting different people depending on how many weeks it is to the election. See the Voter Contact Plan or talk to your coordinator for more specifics.

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I’m new, how do I begin?

New-150x292This website is a good place for learning more about the GO Team and how to get started in your precinct. Click on “New Members” on our homepage or go here.

We invite you to contact the coordinator for your neighborhood, listed here, to learn more or the SDCDP office at 858-277-3367.

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What’s the difference between a Precinct Leader and a Coordinator?

We have many different roles in the GO Team.

Precinct Leaders are the voter contact volunteers who call and visit their neighbors to confirm Democratic support for  and encourage voting for the full slate of endorsed candidates. Some Precinct Leaders have been canvassing the same neighbors since 2006!

Coordinators are the organizers of the program – they make sure that Precinct Leaders have the training and the materials they need to do their job.  They also ensure that all of the notes the Precinct Leaders take while they are canvassing are collected and entered in the database to benefit our ongoing SDCDP outreach efforts.

Click here for a summary document.

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Why is there a campaign volunteer walking in my assigned precinct?

Campaigns also send volunteers into precincts – the key difference is they are working to get out the vote for their candidate/initiative while you are working to get out the vote for the full slate of candidates and initiatives. For endorsed Democratic candidates, we work to coordinate to minimize overlap in precincts where there are GO Team members.

Overlap is more likely to happen in very close races where having “turnout” voters canvassed more than one time or by more than one person results in a greater likelihood that they will vote.

Other organizations, e.g., labor unions, will also send canvassers into neighborhoods. Election laws do not allow us to coordinate precinct coverage with them.

If you find someone else carrying GO Team literature in your precinct, please contact your Coordinator!

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What does a Precinct Leader do?

Precinct Leaders are the backbone of the Grassroots Organizing Team, responsible for directly contacting voters in their home precinct or a precinct of their choice.

Precinct Leaders help through:

  • Voter ID: Contact targeted voters to build/identify support and ensure turnout. GO Team Voter ID typically begins 6 weeks prior to Election Day and involves 10-25 hours of voter contact
  • Encourage permanent mail voting and ensure that voters have materials/slates before they have ballots. Register voters as needed.
  • Provide election and campaign information. Distribute materials for the Party and endorsed campaigns. Identify supporters.
  • Promptly return marked up voter lists for data entry.
  • GOTV: Follow up with supporters to ensure that they vote. Typically involves 5-10 hours.
  • Many Precinct Leaders choose to serve in their precinct on an ongoing basis
  • Help on Election Day (if possible): Help monitor polling places for election integrity and or work directly with a coordinated campaign’s GOTV program.

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When and where do I get doorhangers and what do I attach to them?

The doorhangers are printed after all of the endorsements are complete at the State and County level. Your coordinator will have doorhangers for you approximately 8 weeks before each election. Please do not attach any additional candidate or proposition literature to the doorhanger.

You may want to attach your own note to the doorhanger with your contact information. GO Teamers may elect to purchase personalized GO Team business cards that they can attach to doorhangers.

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Is there a policy on supporting candidates pre-endorsement and post-endorsement?

Pre-endorsement we ask that you support all Democratic candidates. You are welcome to state that you have a personal preference but that the party has not made an endorsement. You may want to volunteer directly through their campaign in an area different than your GO Team home precinct(s).

Upon occasion, the party does not make an endorsement with multiple Democratic candidates. In that case, please encourage voters to vote for a Democrat. You are welcome to state that you have a personal preference and ask that you keep things positive and focus discussion on why you prefer your candidate.

Post-endorsement GO Teamers support only endorsed candidates. In the event that you personally prefer a candidate who was not endorsed, we hope you will continue to work in your assigned precinct on behalf of all of the other endorsed candidates and positions and then volunteer for your preferred non-endorsed candidate directly with their campaign in different precincts.

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What are the different targets and why do they matter?

We maximize use of time, resources and impact by targeting which voters to talk to and when.

We use modeling provided by the DNC and the California Democratic Party to place voters into “target groups.” Many factors go into the modeling, including but not limited to, party registration and voting history.

target-chartOur Base Group includes the voters who almost always vote and vote Democratic. We need to stay in touch with our core constituents and make sure they have the slate of endorsements early on. When it comes time to increase turnout for a particular election, since this group is generally is going to vote anyway, they take a lower priority for voter contact.

The Turnout Group voter is one who votes Democratic but needs given a gentle push to vote. We need to educate them on the importance of voting in the upcoming election and make sure they know when, where and how to vote. This group of voters should have two or more contacts including one close to or on Election Day.

The other important group of voters we’ve called Persuasion Group. With these regular voters it is important to gauge how likely they are to vote Democratic. These are often called “swing” voters. If they are likely to vote Democratic, we provide them with a copy of the endorsements. Each voter won is a both a gain for us and a net loss for our opponents.

targetVoters who rarely vote or who rarely support Democrats are not contacted. Your time is precious and we want it to be used as effectively as possible.

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When and how do I register voters?

As you canvass, you should carry voter registration forms and permanent mail ballot applications and register voters as you knock on targeted doors. If a targeted voter has moved, that’s an opportunity to register new voters.

By law, we must provide a form to any eligible voter who wants one. Once you identify someone as a supporter, you should go the extra steps to help them fill it out and then offer to turn it in for them.   Remember to sign the voter registration form if you assist in completing it.

Use the registration form up to two weeks before each election to register:

  • people who have recently moved into or within the county
  • people who have never registered before
  • anyone who will turn 18 by Election Day
  • voters who need to update their voting address
  • voters who need to update their mailing address
  • voters who want to change their party affiliation

mail ballotUse the mail ballot application form up to one week before each election for:

  • registered voters who want to change their status to PMV so that they will always receive a mail ballot

Voter registration forms must be returned to the registrar within 3 business days.  If time permits, please return the registration forms to the SDCDP office or to your coordinator.

See the GO Team Guide page 8 for additional information.

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Why should I encourage voting-by-mail?

Those who vote-by-mail are generally more reliable voters. Promoting mail voting increase turnout.  Here are some talking points to use with voters:

It’s simple. Take your time in casting your vote. If you prefer, you can always take your ballot in person to any polling place. No need to wait in line.

It’s secure. You can ensure that you’re properly registered and that your vote is counted – before Election Day. If there’s a problem you’ll have time to fix it.

It’s convenient. No need to rush around on Election Day. And remember that your polling place may have changed. Vote early to avoid the risk and the inconvenience.

It helps our candidates. Vote early so our candidates can spend their time on other voters.

You will get less mail and fewer phone calls. Campaigns who are tracking mail ballots will stop sending you mail and calling you once all ballots in your household are returned.

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Is there a 2016 summary of dates?

The Voter Contact Plan includes all of dates. A few are:

  • Mid-April: Earliest contacts
  • May 7-8: Ideal weekend for canvassing Vote-by-Mail (VBM)
  • May 31: Canvassing complete for GO; data entry deadline
  • June 4-7: GOTV (with campaigns or refreshed GO list)
  • October 8-30: GO Team Contacts
  • October 30: Canvassing complete for GO
  • November 1: Data entry deadline
  • November 5-8: GOTV (with campaigns or refreshed GO list)


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What are the goals of the GO Team?

We have several overall goals, both short-term and long-term:

  • Electing Democats!
    • Maximizing Democratic-friendly voter turnout
    • Increasing down-ballot voting
    • Increasing Democratic registration and permanent mail voting
  • Promoting the Democratic Party and its positions
  • Inviting involvement in the local Democratic clubs and activities


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What are the program policies?

Your conduct as representative for the Democratic Party should reflect well upon the Party and support the election of Democratic candidates over the long term. Volunteers must sign an agreement stating that they understand and will adhere to the following GO Team Policies. Your Community Coordinator should be able to answer any questions.

  • Volunteers in this program must be registered as Democrats or No Party Preference.
  • You represent the Democratic Party rather than a specific campaign. If you’d like to work directly on behalf of a candidate, please do so outside of your assigned GO Team “turf.”
  • We will formally promote only those campaigns endorsed by the Democratic Party.
  • You may carry or wear candidate-specific items only for endorsed candidates or campaigns.
  • If you declare your candidacy for public office, you must suspend your work in the GO Team.
  • Precinct lists and other voter and volunteer data are to be used only for political purposes approved by the Party.

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What is the best time to reach voters?

If you mean how far before the election – see our Voter Contact Plan.

If you mean time of day, we recommend contacts between 10 am and 8 pm.  guide-graphic-walk-call

In general:

  • Older and retired voters are often at home in the daytime including weekdays.
  • Voters with young families are often out on the weekends.

See page 7 of the GO Team Guide for more canvassing tips.

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When should I begin contacting voters?

For each election we create a Voter Contact Plan that has a calendar of key dates including VoterContactPlan_P14when to begin voter contact.

For vote-by-mail (VBM) voters, the best canvassing weekend is the weekend before the absentee ballots are delivered.  If you can’t go that weekend, the week and weekend before is ok.  Many of these voters return their ballots in the first week so you will miss them if you wait to contact them.  We count on their down-ballot voting so they need to have a copy of the slate before they get their ballot.

For voters who cast their ballots at the poll on election day, try to deliver the slate to them a week or two before the election. If they are a “Turnout” voter, the closer you reach them to Election Day the better – and remember to make an election day plan with them to strengthen their commitment to voting.

GO Team efforts are coordinated countywide with endorsed candidates for final Get-Out-The-Vote contacts beginning the Friday before Election Day.

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What is a Hot Spot?

A “Hot Spot” is a geographic area that has one to many highly competitive races where the party has asked for GO Team members to contact voters. While this differs from the model of volunteering in your home precinct, many GO Teamers find great satisfaction in “working where I am needed most”. Some GO Teamers elect to work their home precinct and also work a Hot Spot precinct. In addition to turning out the vote, you’ll be making contacts that could result in a new Go Team precinct leader who will adopt that precinct.

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What does a Community Coordinator do?

Community Coordinators provide support for the GO Team in a geographic area based on zip codes. Responsibilities include:

  • Recruiting and training new volunteers
    Organize training workshops, house parties, precinct walking, etc.
  • Distributing supplies
    Voter lists, campaign materials, maps, informational flyers, etc.
  • Supporting volunteers
    Provide technical aid, monitor progress, and organize planning meetings.
  • Ensuring data integrity
    Maintaining / updating a master list of precincts and the assigned precinct leaders and getting canvass results recorded within a few days of canvassing.
  • Coordinate with Clubs
    Serve as liaison with area club(s) – this is a great source of volunteers.

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