#OneVoteMatters: What It Takes To Win an Election

What goes into winning an election? Before coming to college and joining the George Mason Democrats, I didn’t really know the answer to this question. Before I voted in 2016, I watched the debates leading up to the election and kept up with the latest news; I thought this was all it took, just people learning about the candidates and forming an opinion… but I was so wrong.

In my first semester at Mason, I began attending the George Mason Democrats’ weekly meetings and soon found myself becoming an active member. When I went to my first meeting, I kept hearing words like “phonebanking” and “canvassing,” but I had no idea what they meant and was too embarrassed to ask. Eventually I caught on to the concept and became an active participant in the campaign process.

Phonebanks are a major part of any election. You know those phone calls reminding you about the upcoming election and asking if you’re voting? Yeah, we’re real human beings and not robots, so please be nice to us! These phone calls are typically made not to swing a voter’s opinion on a candidate, but to find people who are committed to voting and measure their support of a candidate. I was scared going into do my first phonebank, but it ended up being a lot more fun than I expected. You never know if that one vote could change the results of the election.

Related: The State of America

Canvassing involves going out to knock on doors and talk to voters face-to-face. This technique has proved to be very successful according to a recent article titled, "Will a Five-Minutes Discussion Change Your Mind?" I’ve had great conversations with both republicans and democrats while canvassing and gotten to learn about the issues that Virginia voters care about most. I also answer any questions they have. Even if someone doesn’t answer the door, lit (campaign literature and flyers) is usually left so the voter can learn more about the candidate and be reminded of the election.

As you can see, there is a lot more that goes into a candidate winning an election than just making commercials and speaking at debates. The are hundreds of people working behind the scenes everyday leading up to the election to make sure their candidate is voted into office. And remember, every vote counts, so get registered to vote and encourage your friends, collegiettes! Not sure if you are registered to vote at your current address? You can check here!