Campaigns adapting to earlier voting habits

Campaigns adapting to earlier voting habits

PORTLAND, Ore. - A KATU News/SurveyUSA poll shows people in the Portland area aren't waiting until the last minute to cast their ballot.

Five hundred registered voters were asked if they already mailed their ballot for the Nov. 6 election or when they plan to do so.

Forty-one percent said they already returned their ballot and more than half said they plan to vote before Election Day. And only 2 percent said they will vote on Election Day.

That's a big change from the past. Campaigns are taking notice and they’re changing the way they contact voters and when.

That means voters will start hearing from campaigns a lot earlier through mailings, phone calls and door knocks. And if you're one of the few who are waiting to vote you could become the focus of intense campaigning.

Moses Ross runs PoliticalRobocalls.com, which is a local company that does live operator and automated political calls. He said voters' new early ballot habits mean campaigns are starting at least two weeks earlier.

In the past campaigning started up in earnest after Labor Day; this year, however, things kicked into gear mid-August.

"This year is completely different. They've had to start early to make sure they get that positive impression of their candidate out to the voter in time," Ross said. "I think it's going to be not just a trend, not just a unique thing this year, I think it's going to stay that way."

For voters who wait, the campaigns will focus their time, energy and money on them. They should expect to be bombarded with contacts from candidates and supporters trying to get their last word in to those voters before Election Day.

Voters not interested in that kind of attention should vote early. Their names will get removed from the lists and campaigns will turn their attentions to people they think they can still persuade.

An interesting note in all this is now campaigns want voters to show their support by voting early. That way they can narrow the field of people they need to work on, which will save them time and money.