Thinking of running in 2012? Then you’d better be at the polls Tuesday.

Are you a Libertarian thinking of running for office next year?

Then you’d better be at the polls next Tuesday if your city or state is one of those holding an election next week (or in the case of Colorado, today.)

You see, elections are not battles of ideas or debate contests or your opportunity to “educate” people.

They are exercises in voter identification and mobilization.

The first step is making sure voters know your name.  And you can bet a voter turning out in an off-year will be at the polls in 2012.

1) Print up some literature with your name, what you will be running for and something showing you agree with them and will take action on an issue the community cares about.

2) Remember, an election is not a debate contest or a chance to “educate people.”  It is a job interview.  Even if you don’t like it, in the mind of a voter you are running for security guard, teacher and accountant. Make sure you are dressed well.  The candidate should not be wearing a t-shirt, even if you are lucky enough to have warm weather in early November.  The candidate should be wearing a conservative suit and tie, and a professional-looking coat if it is cold.

2) Be at the polls and ready when they open.  Those voters tend to be more loyal and dedicated than others.  Even though you are not electioneering, honor any rules on maintaining a distance from the poll entrance.  I prefer to stand in the area between campaign workers and where voters park.

3) Greet people as they exit.  Do not approach them as they enter.  Down-ballot races on this ballot should have their people out with their literature.  You’re not on the ballot right now and they don’t need to hear from you before right before they vote.

4) Greet them with a smile and a hello.  Introduce yourself and quickly state you will be running next year.  “Hello!  I’m Larry Libertarian and I’ll be running for town council next year. I just wanted to say hello and thank you for coming out to vote.” Hand them your literature.  Kindly answer any questions they may have.

5) Consider handing out hot chocolate, coffee, donuts or other treats.  Voters will appreciate it.  Make sure you offer some to the other campaigns’ workers.  You may convince some of them to volunteer for you next year.

6) If you already have yard signs, put out as many as you can.  Remember, you can never put up too many yard signs.  You are there because you want voters to remember your name (which a voter must hear an average of seven times before they remember it.)

7) Most everyone will be nice.  If someone wants to argue, thank them and walk away a few feet.  DO NOT ARGUE WITH VOTERS.

If you’re planning on running next year and your community is holding an election next Tuesday, you had better be at the polls to meet and greet voters as they exit, because these off-year voters will be a substantial chunk of the electorate next year.

Your ideas are better than the other candidates’, but being right doesn’t mean you win.  Elections are exercises in voter identification, organization and mobilization.  Making sure you are seen is the first step.

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