TX Democrat: Block Walking Tips

What is block walking (aka canvassing): Knocking on doors to talk to voters about a campaign.

Prepare Mentally

  • Commit to be there Rain or Shine
  • Commit to complete the entire list of homes to canvass.
    • These lists are prepared with certain strategic goals in mind for the campaigns.
  • Why are you canvassing? Have a short statement ready about why you are supporting the democratic party and why you are supporting a certain candidate. What is important to you? What is your story? Keep it short, here are some examples:
    • I support this candidate because he/she does not accept  Corporate PAC (Political Action Committee) money, we need to take money out of politics in order to ensure we have a government that represents us, not special interests
    • I support the democratic party because we need to put people in charge who will give a voice to ALL the people by dismantling unfair gerrymandering laws and by making voting easier and more accessible to all
    • I support the democratic party because I want my tax dollars to work for us by ensuring we all have proper access to healthcare and education
    • I went to public school and feel very strongly that we need to use our tax dollars to give our schools the proper tools and resources to be successful. This is the best way to ensure schools are accountable to us. Voucher programs take our public dollars into private corporate hands with very little accountability.
  • Review the script and prepare to make a “hard ask. A “hard ask” leaves no room for ambiguity. It is a direct question, which makes clear what you are requesting. It does not leave the person wondering what it is you are asking them to do.
    • Understand what the “hard ask” is from the script. Usually the scripts have one or two key points for example (1) Can we count on you to vote straight democrat in November? or (2) Can we count on you to vote for candidate X in November?
    • It’s ok to change the script in a way that feels more natural to you as long as you make the key “hard ask”.

Bring Materials

  • Fully charged cell phone (or consider bringing a USB battery pack), water, hat, sunglasses, umbrella
  • Wear sunscreen and comfortable walking/tennis shoes instead of sandals
  • Take a clipboard or small notebook and a pen in case you need to make notes. Most canvassing phone apps allow you to add notes through the app, but this is still useful in certain cases.
    • For example, this person stated they would like to attend a candidate meet and greet, the person would like to make a donation, etc.
    • For example: you need to add a new user to the list because the previous resident moved, etc.
  • Carry a bag which you can hang on your shoulder to easily retrieve brochures, voter registration forms, and notebook
    • Consider carrying voter registration cards which you can hand to anyone who wishes to register to vote. Most counties in Texas supply postage paid voter registration forms which a person can mail in to the Voter Registrar’s office.
  • Consider printing commit to vote cards https://secure.assets.bostatic.com/apps/quincy/uploads/filer_public/32/37/323741db-6b70-4c0d-b19a-ad6a0ba482de/summer_2018_ofa_print-at-home_voter_cards.pdf

Be Efficient

  • Review the route, are the homes spread apart far enough such that you will need to drive along certain parts of the route instead of walk?
  • Use a phone app instead of paper lists
    • This frees up campaign resources. Allows the team to spend efforts on strategic planning instead of on data entry.
  • Wear candidate or campaign buttons or T-shirt. This makes you more easily identifiable as a campaign volunteer when someone opens the door.
  • Ensure you can quickly free up your hands to drink water, access supplies, or take notes
    • Either clip your cell phone to a lanyard
    • Or make sure you have pockets big enough to hold your cell phone for easy retrieval
    • Take an umbrella which you can easy clip to something or which you can hang from your wrist

Understand Legal Obligations

  • Do not place anything in a mailbox. If the person is not home, leave the brochure under the welcome mat, or hang it on the doorknob.
  • No soliciting sign: In Texas, we can knock on doors for a campaign even if they have a “No Soliciting” sign, because we are not soliciting for business. We are informing them about a campaign.
    • However, listen to your instincts, if you do not feel comfortable feel free to skip the house. Your safety and peace of mind comes first.

Be Safe

  • Whenever possible do not walk alone
  • If you will walk alone:
    • Be sure someone knows where you are and what canvassing list you are working
    • Be sure to indicate that you are part of a larger group which is reaching out to various voters
  • Do not go inside anyone’s home
  • Do not store credit card or private information in your cellphone wallet case. This can easily fall off the cellphone case while you are entering information into the canvassing phone application.

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