My wife received this in the mail yesterday. As you know, earlier in the campaign, Perdue sent out a mailer urging people to vote absentee. In Gwinnett it was a successful effort as absentee requests are running slightly ahead of the pace four years ago – many of the requests coming from the Perdue card. Starting tomorrow, we’ll see how intense early voting is, and if Perdue’s mailer has an impact.
The nature of get out the vote efforts is changing. In recent years the RNC developed what they call the “72 Hour Plan” to describe the final push to election day. The plan is developed in the wake of the 2000 Presidential election, when the GOP basically closed up shop at 5 pm Friday before the election, thinking the TV ads would solidify the lead their internal polling said Bush had. Gore kept on campaigning – as I recall even holding rallies around the clock – and we all remember how close that election was. The RNC vowed never to make that mistake again.
These days, with early voting becoming more popular, tactics must change. Perdue’s mailer is a good example of changing tactics, but I suspect more changes will take place. In fact, campaigns will likely need to kick into “72 Hour” mode on the Friday before the start of early voting. To a certain extent, Perdue is in that mode by beginning his “Bus Tour” a few days ago.
In the future, efforts will need to be made to identify those most likely to vote early and target them. Studies will commence to study voting patterns, but with only one General Election in Georgia featuring early voting, I’m not sure many conclusions can be drawn just yet. I’m sure many other tactics will evolve, but early voting is definitely changing how campaigns behave.