How do you run a political campaign in these new times?

November 3rd, 2016 by Ken

For a decade now, Thurston County has had all vote by mail. Washington state went all vote my mail in 2011.  Only a two other states in the country do that.   And Vote By Mail is confusing to an important element of the electorate – – the political professional, the people who run elections.

No longer do all people go to the polls on the same day.  That hasn’t been the case for some time.  More and more  states are allowing early voting – – but an all vote by mail state is rare.   Currently only Oregon and Colorado have joined Washington in vote by mail.   California has passed it, but hasn’t implemented it for this year.

So, the question is asked, how do you run a political campaign in a Vote By Mail state?   When do you spend money on television and radio?   When do you mail out those political flyers that jam up mail boxes?

Each and every political operative has an idea, but none are quite sure.

Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall estimates that a large bulk of ballots are returned the weekend after the voter has received them.   To date about 35 percent of all ballots have been received at the auditor’s office, but that’s the total for all ballots.   Those received on the first day could comprise as much as 40 percent of all votes.

The question becomes – do you spend the bulk of your money on those early voters – or are they ones who have already made up their mind and won’t change it for anything?    Or, do you spend your campaign money for the two weeks following, when many voters still have some questions?

Running political campaigns isn’t as easy as it once was.   Newspapers play a smaller role, major media is suspect and social media is still in its infancy state when it comes to political influence.  Add vote by mail to that, and you have a problem.

But, political operatives hold out hope, that eventually things will stablize and they can once again work their magic and convince voters that their candidate is best.   Even with all the uncertainty, running campaigns is still a magnet for political junkies.

Posted in Local Politics, The Real News

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