By Donna Gundle-Krieg, Mancelona Township Trustee
This is the sixth in a series of articles about “How to Get Elected as a Libertarian.” This article focuses on how to effectively campaign door-to-door.
In summary, while campaigning as a Libertarian, it is vital to get out and meet as many voters as possible. It takes a lot of courage, but it gets easier and you won’t regret it!
It is also very important to organize your door-to-door campaign, which requires you to answer the basic questions: Who, What, When, Where and Why will you campaign door to door?
You want to knock on as many doors as possible, but you want to be sure that you are only targeting registered voters. If you are running for a local position in Michigan, your township or county clerk should be able to give you a list of voters. Usually, this list is on an Excel sheet, so you can easily manage the data to organize your door-to-door campaign.
Take the time to organize this list by street, neighborhood and even house. The more time you organize and plan your door-to-door campaign, the more effective you will be. If the list tells you who usually votes absentee, and/or who usually votes in primary elections, it is wise to prioritize these people. Figure out how many households you need to reach, and give yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals.
The most efficient way to reach as many people as possible is to spend about 30 seconds with each person who answers the door. Be sure to look them in the eye! Introduce yourself, tell them that you are running for x position on x date, and hand them some information about yourself.
Door hangers such as the one pictured here are the best, because you can leave them on the doors of those who are not home. I even put all the Michigan Libertarian candidates on the other side of my door hanger.
Of course, some people will want to talk longer, which is okay once in a while. It helps you to be in touch with the views of the voters. There are also some voters who are “influencers,” and very active in the community. It is always worthwhile to talk longer to those who might be more likely to talk to others. However, try not to get dragged into political discussions, especially if they are not winnable discussions. Remember, your goal is to simply introduce yourself to as many voters as possible.
Again, absentee voters often vote early, so as soon as you can, you should try to visit those who vote absentee. You can visit the others all the way up until the day before the election! They say that evenings and weekends are the best time to find people home, but get out whenever you have the chance! Also, if you only go out on weekends and evenings, you will probably not meet your goals.
Start with the most populated areas, and work your way to the more rural voters. Stay away from any no trespassing signs, and respect the “no solicitations” requests. You will run into a lot of dogs! Some campaigners bring dog treats, but I don’t recommend it as many dogs are on special diets.
Meeting voters face-to-face is by far the most effective way to convince someone to vote for you. Libertarians face an uphill battle, especially with straight ticket voting. Going door-to-door convinces people to take a chance on you, and also gives you the opportunity to introduce them to the Libertarian philosophy.
In summary, door-to-door campaigns are crucial and necessary when running for office as a Libertarian. These personal visits can propel you to a victory, especially in local races!
As an elected Libertarian for a Township Trustee in a small rural northern Michigan town, I believe that the Libertarian Party of Michigan should recruit as many qualified, freedom loving candidates as possible to run for similar local roles across the state.
The topic next month will be about how to use mailings in your political campaign. l welcome ideas and questions at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.