Why Digital is Critical in a Vote by Mail Election

Why Digital is Critical in a Vote by Mail Election

In a blog post last month, we focused on some fundamental truths of voting by mail in 2020 to help you cut through the clutter and see the field clearly. In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of those truths and some new campaign tips to help you adapt:

Truth 1: Mail voter fraud is rare and multiple academic research exercises, including a recent Stanford study, have concluded mail voting does not help one party more than the other. However, it does increase voter turnout on both sides.

Campaign tip: There are no excuses, and time spent arguing over the politics of voting by mail is time wasted. Campaigns need to aggressively embrace voting by mail in 2020 and should be executing surgically-targeted GOTV advertisements to the audiences they need to win at the mailbox.

The pandemic is a wildcard and banking on high turnout at the November polls is a foolish gamble, regardless of what historical models say. Campaigns who successfully tally the majority of their votes early and by mail will optimize budgets, eliminating the need to launch expensive, hail Mary cable and mail ads in the final days before the election. Start your digital door knocking now, save dollars and win the stamp count.

Truth 2: Roughly a quarter of all 2016 votes were cast by mail and 80% of absentee ballots transmitted to voters were successfully returned to election offices.

Campaign tip: There was zero need for social distancing four years ago and, still, a quarter of all votes were cast by mail. In a conversion-oriented business, the fact that 80% of 2016 voters who requested a mail ballot converted and mailed their ballot back is eye-opening. If mail voting was organically trending upward in the unmasked world, we should expect the pandemic election to flood blue boxes everywhere.

Truth 3: The majority of states offer “no-excuse” vote by mail and a handful of states are proactively mailing every registered voter a ballot. It’s easier this time around to vote by mail and, as it stands now, it’s estimated that about 80% of all Americans will have the ability to cast a mail ballot.

Campaign tip: Localize your GOTV messaging based on your region’s mail voting rules. Tailor your messaging to the values and motivations of your target audience so they are persuaded and feel empowered to support your candidate. This is your opportunity to control the narrative around vote by mail and convince your target voters to mail it in and to do so early.

At Resonate, we help campaigns immediately identify the specific online voter audiences they need to win, built with a combination of over 8,000 individual-level insights, including turnout history, party affiliation, values and the reasons why they support individual candidates.

This type of digital intelligence and targeting allows campaigns to find the niche audiences they need to reach based on real-world circumstances, like an anticipated increase in mail voting. Let’s look at one online audience campaigns can locally target to help drive the mail-in vote:

National: Aged 55+, self-identified registered voters who voted in-person in 2016, but are taking social distancing very seriously

Why Digital is Critical in a Vote by Mail Election

This is a critical audience for campaigns to win at the mailbox for obvious reasons. This group comprises roughly 31 million voters aged 55+ who are practicing social distancing to a large extent, however, they have historically voted in-person.

Campaigns should not take these voters for granted by assuming they will break their social distancing habit and head to the polls on November 3rd.

Resonate behavioral models allow us to understand this audience, at a personal level, to help campaigns get a digital message to them quickly.

For example, our models show that if the election was held tomorrow, 53% of these voters would vote for Trump and 34% would back Biden. Only about 10% of this entire audience wouldn’t end up voting.

When compared to the average U.S. voter, these voters are:

  • 74% more likely to value safety in their community and nation
  • 44% more likely to care for nature
  • 29% more likely to be driven by trust and dependability
  • 29% more likely to be motivated by maintaining traditions
  • 21% more likely to vote for a candidate based on their budget/deficit plan

Given their in-person voting history and current social distancing behavior, motivating this audience to vote by mail is an investment that will pay off for campaigns, up and down the ballot. And this is just one example of many voter audiences campaigns can identify and engage with persuasive messaging, the right data and highly targeted digital strategies.

Ready to use digital to help win by mail? Request a demo or contact us or by phone at 855-855-4320.

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