MEMO: Getting Sporadic Voters to the Polls

November 7, 2016

For Florida's Future


To: Interested Members of the Media
From: Ashley Walker, For Our Future
Re: Getting Sporadic Voters to the Polls
Date: November 7, 2016

On the eve of Election Day, Florida sits in uncharted electoral waters thanks to the record-breaking number of votes already cast during the vote-by-mail and early vote period. These turnout increases are seen across every demographic group and points to high turnout when the last ballots are cast in the Sunshine State.

The record high early voting and vote-by-mail turnout has been made possible by an increase in sporadic and first-time voters. Engaging and turning out these voters and expanding this universe is exactly the program that For Our Future was built to accomplish. For Our Future has engaged and motivated these voters with an aggressive voter contact campaign through canvassing, direct mail, phone calls, digital advertising, constituency media advertising and mobile engagement.

With more than 6.4 million ballots already cast, Democrats are going into Election Day with more than an 88,000 ballot advantage over Republicans, which makes us well positioned to win Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

For Our Future has been targeting 1,959,880 voters across the state of Florida through various voter mobilization programs. The statewide targeted universe is 45% African American, 31% Hispanic, 22% Caucasian and 2% Asian. The universe skews female at 60% and 45% are under 35 years of age. Part of our voter mobilization program has been an aggressive canvassing program aimed at having in-depth, meaningful conversations with sporadic voters about what is at stake in this important election. To date, For Our Future has knocked on 2,769,595 doors and held 407,863 conversations. Our on-the-ground voter contact canvassing program is focused on 994,628 targeted voters (567,839 households) in the Alachua, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia counties.

Since October 24, the For Our Future field team has been focused on turning out voters for in-person early voting and getting sporadic voters to return their vote-by-mail ballot. We’ve knocked on over 1,073,171 voters’ doors and held 125,256 conversations since the start of early voting. More than 815,847 voters, or 42%, within our targeted universe have already cast their ballot. While those turnout numbers may not seem significant in comparison to the over all electorate, it is significant considering the overall program is only targeting sporadic and first time voters.

Vote by Mail

A central focus of our work on the ground was to generate vote-by-mail request among voters least likely to vote. Through our programming, we have generated more than 130,000 vote-by-mail requests and have been able to get a 68% return rate from these sporadic and first time voters. Additionally, within our larger sporadic universe, more than 499,000 voters signed up for vote-by-mail through other programs, and with an aggressive For Our Future chase program of calls, canvassing and digital efforts, 70% of those ballots have been returned. Almost 14% of those returned vote-by-mail ballots are from African-American voters, in-line with numbers from 2012, while Hispanic returns are at 16%, 3% higher than four years ago.

Souls to the Polls

Understanding the cultural importance of faith in the African-American community, For Our Future worked with community partners and congregations to engage the African-American community and mobilize voters through a Souls to the Polls program. With more than 20 events across the state on the two Sunday’s of early voting—mostly held on the last day of early voting, the state of Florida saw the vote share of ballots cast rise from 12% to nearly 14% during early voting. The impact of this program can be felt throughout the state of Florida. For example, in Republican-heavy Duval County, home to multiple Souls to the Polls events, Democrats will end early voting with an advantage of more than 4,100 ballots going into Election Day.

In an election cycle that many pundits talked about the effect of an unenthusiastic electorate, the early voting and vote-by-mail returns are telling a different story. As we enter the final hours of the 2016 election cycle, Florida voters are excited about the opportunity to cast a ballot and have their voice heard in this critical election. Without a doubt, For Our Future’s efforts targeting sporadic voters by engaging them in thoughtful conversations about what is at stake in this election is making a difference that will help bring home a victory for Hillary Clinton and Democrats down the ticket.


Paid for by For Our Future (
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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