COVID-19 Demands Political Campaigns to Evolve the “Ground Game”

Resonate | Redefining GOTV Strategy During the COVID-19 Era

We know get-out-the-vote strategy discussions are taking place in your war room. We also know the term “get out” takes on a whole new meaning as some states are forced to close down again as a result of new COVID-19 cases.

Resonate is here to help with unbiased, revolutionary voter intelligence and digital engagement strategies built to adapt and win in times that demand rapid strategy shifts.

Absentee Mail Voting: Advantage to the Aggressor

D.C. and 34 other states currently offer “no-excuse” vote by mail, which doesn’t include another five states that already conduct their elections entirely by mail.

States nationwide will likely make rule adjustments that will make voting by mail easier this year. Just weeks ago, California passed a new law requiring counties to send mail ballots to all registered voters in the state. The previous policy required voters to proactively request a mail ballot, rather than automatically receive one.

Legislative and legal fights over voting during COVID-19 are still unfolding. At the heart of the debate is a tug of war between partisan concerns over voter suppression vs. voter fraud. However, historical data shows that mail voter fraud is rare and mail voting does not give an unfair advantage to Democrats or Republicans.

A recent Stanford University study disproves the notion that mail voting helps one party more than the other, however, it found that mail voting does increase turnout for both sides.

While mail voting is shaping up to be a game changer this year due to COVID-19, the pillars of winning on the ground are fundamentally the same. The campaign that hustles the hardest and aggressively seeks to deploy cutting-edge intelligence and tools to drive vote totals is likely to best the competition.

Why You Must Adapt to Win

Resonate modeling shows there are 53 million online adults who self-admittedly are not registered to vote and another 5.4 million who are unsure if they’re even registered.

The combination of coronavirus, online voter registration expansion and anticipated major increases in mail voting makes targeting these types of audiences critical. Consider this:

39 states plus D.C. currently offer online registration. While we keep our social distance, campaigns should focus on registering as many voters online as possible using behavioral data to target eligible voters who they can motivate to register and then persuade to vote.

This is crucial as states move towards no-excuse absentee voting, and even go as far as sending every registered voter a mail ballot. This is essentially like the states running one big Get Out The Vote campaign. For safety reasons, Georgia sent absentee ballots to all registered voters in advance of their June 9 primary. That primary set a record turnout.

Furthermore, according to a U.S. Election Assistance Committee study, 24% of all 2016 votes were cast by mail and 79.9 percent of absentee ballots transmitted to voters were returned. This should beg the questions:

  • If a quarter of all votes were cast remotely in the last presidential election, what will this mean in the current pandemic environment?
  • If roughly 80% of absentee ballots mailed out are mailed back in — and you have states proactively sending absentee ballots to registered voters — how are you ensuring the largest pool of your campaign’s likely supporters and sympathetic adults are on that state registration list, while staying within your budget?

Target and Register Voters You Can Actually Win

This is an area where Resonate’s AI capabilities will help your campaign gain a significant advantage. We’ll immediately identify unregistered voters in your region and those who are unsure if they’re registered, who are demonstrating online behavior traits indicating they would support your candidate if they had to decide.

Next, using a combination of thousands of proprietary insights, we’ll help you target these online adults with a message tailored to register and win their vote.

Resonate identified an online audience of over 10 million self-identified Republicans who are not likely to be registered to vote

When compared to the average self-identified, registered Republican voter, the unregistered Republican audience is much more psychologically driven by a sense of creativity, equality and compassion.

In the policy arena, they are 42% more likely to identify with a candidate based on their environmental policy platform and 86% more likely to support government regulation to combat climate change.

How would you register and win this audience? Would you still use a templated party message?

On the flip side, Resonate identified an online audience of 14.4 million self-identified Democrats who are not likely registered to vote

When compared to the average self-identified, registered Democrat voter, the unregistered Democrat audience is less likely to risk upsetting or provoking those around them. They’re more likely to follow the rules and status quo.

When it comes to political ideology, this audience is more likely to support a candidate based on their homeland security and job creation platforms than the registered Democrat group. In the policy arena, these users are also 29% more likely to be fiscally moderate.

When registering and persuading this audience, consider toning down the grassroots and speak with a steady, balanced tone that leads them to participate in the process.

Get There Early – Getting Started

The above audience examples are just two of thousands of custom audiences Resonate will help your campaign start targeting immediately. Our political strategists and expert data scientists are standing by and ready to help you deploy the most cutting-edge AI and digital strategies to redefine what it means to GOTV during the COVID-19 era.

Request a demo or reach us via email at or by phone at 855-855-4320

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