What’s going canvassing actually like?

Marisa here, Swing Left's Get Out the Vote Director.

We talk about canvassing a lot at Swing Left. That's because it's just that important. And one of the reasons I’m so excited about getting out the vote this year is that so many volunteers are new to canvassing—my absolute, hands down, number one favorite volunteer activity.

Of course if you're canvassing for the first time, you might wonder what we actually do when we head to to talk to voters.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll be doing once you pick your canvassing event:

  1. Go to your event. Sometimes this will be campaign HQ or an official field office. Other times it’ll be a seasoned volunteer’s home. Personally, I prefer listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on Swing District road trips, but play whatever feels right for defending democracy.
  2. Get trained. Campaign staff or volunteers will tell you what they’ve been hearing from voters and what kind of neighborhood you’ll be working in. They’ll go over the campaign’s canvassing script. You’ll get a chance to practice it a few times, too.
  3. Get your walk packet. These are maps of where you’ll be going. Take a moment to think about the best way to walk or drive through a neighborhood to spend the most time talking to voters. More often than not, you’ll be able to plug a map’s number into an app on your phone if you prefer to navigate that way (I do!).
  4. Talk to voters! This is where the magic happens. Most of the people on your map will be left-leaning supporters who need a nudge to get to the polls. You’re going to help so many people vote this year! Just make sure you visit every home on your list, and you’re golden.

Oh and stay hydrated. I’m not kidding! When we’re walking and talking it’s great to have a bottle of water on hand. Other helpful items include snacks and a backup battery. And, of course, make a post-canvassing plan. Take yourself out to dinner. You deserve it!

Canvassing is really that easy. But it’s such important work, as the race to take back the House is too close for comfort and the campaigns need us. If you’re ready to step up, you can find your a nearby high-impact canvassing event right here. Please RSVP!

And if you’re looking to learn more about canvassing or other volunteer opportunities, please join one of our webinars.

Thank you!

Marisa Kanof Get Out the Vote Director, Swing Left