An election can only work when everybody casts their vote. In other words: An electoral committee – e.g. for elections in an association or a board – is quickly faced with the demand of motivating the authorised voters to cast their votes. To do so requires, first and foremost, the argument as to why the election is important. This argument can be based on necessity and campaign promises, or opportunities to help create something.
Yet the best arguments only work if they are properly communicated. It also depends on who is presenting the argument: If the board is talking about the importance of an election, that is one thing – but it is another for a colleague or a friend and member to do so. The clever election board has its eggs in both baskets.
Reaching authorised voters through key voters
What are key voters?
Sounds good! But just what are key voters?
It is quite simple: As the word “key” implies, key voters are crucial individuals. They are trendsetters, respected colleagues or association members, people whom others trust and on whose opinions much value is placed. They are motivators, or people who organise events and meetings. Are you thinking about a specific coworker or team colleague? Then that is your key voter! The more of them you have, the better.
Engaging key voters
Speak to the people you are now thinking about while preparing for the election. You may meet individually, call them or convene them together at a meeting. Discuss the upcoming election and the planning for it, and ask if they would volunteer their time as election ambassadors. In the event of a board election, you can assign work hours for the election ambassadors’ support – if it is an association election, obviously you have to hope for voluntary dedication. However, association members who are devoted regardless are generally happy to help with organising the election.
How you can employ the use of election ambassadors
Set up a plan as to how election ambassadors can support you as the election organiser, and the election as a whole – ideally before you approach your key voters. Then you know exactly what they can expect. They will see that it essentially does not entail much effort. For instance, election ambassadors can be available as contacts for general questions about the election. They can also forward e-mails prepared by you to the actual contact list, post info about the election on Facebook, or distribute marketing materials like buttons, stickers and flyers. Small informational events about the election are also conceivable.
More tips for how you can motivate and employ election ambassadors can be found in our Tips to Increase Voter Participation.