Best Practices Turnout

Daniel Brown
• Wednesday, 06 January, 2021
• 13 min read

This Article presents some BestPractices on the topic of (Model Railway) Couplers When the question does pop up a discussion list, lots of people respond with anecdotal evidence about what one needs to do for a reliable turnout based on their own experience.

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The bad assumption being made by everyone involved in the discussion is that WE ALL HAVE SEEN THE SAME PROBLEMS and hence WE ALL HAVE THE SAME DEFINITION of what a properly working turnout is. The person who has seen the most problems will offer their advice which is not accepted by others because they have not seen the need for it.

To set the standard of what a good working turnout is, one has to understand all the variables that contribute to the problems and what to do about them. Generally the fewer the wheels to more need more reliable pickup.

Two axel engines are best in finding electrical pickup issues. Stated another way, if you run short wheelbase locomotives, this topic should become very important.

A high number turnout will have a longer unpowered frog and point rails while a low number turnout will have a shorter frog and point rails. This is unrelated to the DCC friendly goal of preventing shorts on the back side of the point rails.

Vertical and horizontal twist or kinks play a role in electrical pickup relative to the type of wheel suspension/freedom movement a given locomotive has. If the wheelbase is too rigid vertically and horizontally, the engine may not do a good job of keeping all the wheels in full electrical contact with the rail in uneven track or turnouts.

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7) Does the locomotive support any form of Keep Alive electrical power reserves? Faster is very forgiving since the loss of power is very short in terms of time that is starts to look like dirty track.

Hence, there are all lots of variables that go into determine electrical pickup success of given locomotive passing through a turnout. Given this is happening a lot, this is turn leads to wide variety of public opinions as to action to take to make the turnout reliable.

This deals with everything from preparing the roadbed to the turnout throwing mechanism. This deals with addressing the electrical weaknesses of the turnouts related to both frog and point rail power issues.

From a pure electrical pickup point of view, the one thing you can say for sure is that a turnout with 1) no electrical dead spots (no insulated gaps) 2) no electrical mechanical connection that are required to carry current (rail joints) 3) no vertical or horizontal twist, bends or kinks from the point rails past through the frog will be the most reliable electrical turnout. A) Level Roadbed. B) Track and wheel gauging. RELIABLE ELECTRICAL a) Dead Frog.

There is no question no electrical current can flow in a dead frog meaning any wheel performing an electrical wheel pickup function will NOT work when it roles over the dead frog. Stated another way, the remaining wheels performing the same rail electrical pickup will have to support the current. If the goal is maximum reliable operation with any locomotive one encounters, then it is good practice to power the frogs in an effort to reduce the possibility of a stall due to the remain wheel failure to maintain electrical pickup.

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Finally, I apply a special 50:50 mix of white glue and water that's got a couple drops of dish detergent in it. I gingerly apply the white glue mix very precisely with an eye dropper.

If they do stick, I re-apply the graphite and work the points back and forth until they're moving freely again. I then apply a second round of glue mix with the eye-dropper just to make sure the ballast is locked down securely.

Because the glue mix has dish detergent in it as a wetting agent, it should soak in without a problem on the second application. If you graphite the points and throw bar first and are careful to not over-saturate the ballast with glue, you should not have a problem.

August 17, 2019 – 45 minutes ready know the basic idea behind GOT: getting people out to vote. This blog post covers the nuances in messaging and choice of communication channels that make GOT programs effective.

Let’s start with the major insights from fifteen years of research on improving voter turnout. Generic GOT messages have minimal effect on voter turnout.

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GOT messages that exert a degree of social pressure, help voters make a plan and provide voting information has significant impact on voter turnout, especially in local races. Door to door canvassing is the most effective way to get out the vote followed by phone calls, peer to peer texting, direct mail, and literature drop in that order.

We’ll look at what it takes to make that happen, starting with the overall GOT plan. Community events, grocery stores, and transit stops offer good exposure.

Phone banking and texting campaigns happen alongside canvassing efforts in areas where you don’t have enough on-the-ground volunteers. Pump up your social media campaign and display GOT messages to targeted voters.

By evening, you should have received the details of people who haven’t voted from poll watchers. Collect voter data from the beginning Start preparing for GOT right from the ID and persuasion stage.

As your campaign progresses, and you build a larger supporter base, the 1-5 scale helps target your efforts to the right audience. Volunteers making calls or sending texts can add or modify this information for voters based on each conversation.

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Supporter affiliation can change with time or people may just be trying to be nice over the phone. Accounting for a margin of safety, a vote goal of 53% should steer you towards a win.

How to calculate your WIN Number: Step 1: Take the average voter turnout of the last three elections. If you’re in a multiple-candidate race more factors come into play when determining your WIN number.

Voters who believe that their candidate is going to win without it having to cost them tend to stay at home. The 2016 US Presidential election offers a stark example of this where low turnout among Democrats in key swing states Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan helped swing the election to Donald Trump.

A personal contact goes a long way towards helping voters make up for these “costs”. For swing areas, use phone calls and door knocks for a more personal and convincing message.

Help voters make a plan People are more likely to complete a task if you can get them to mentally visualize the process. These voters are less likely to have a plan than people who stay in groups or families where discussing the next day’s activities is a normal part of everyday life.

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For someone who stays alone, rehearsing their Election Day routine with a stranger has a huge effect on their decision to cast a vote. The cheapest solution is to group people who have the same address or landline number and exempt them from plan-making messages.

While NationBuilder uses address to segment households, Callus uses landline numbers. Both these methods are useful for targeting, but their effectiveness depends on the quality of your voter data.

How to select one voter per household in L2 Overlapping QUICK NOTE: This GOT tactic works on people you established a relationship with through at least one previous contact. Especially with young people age 18 to 24, the confusion around how to cast their ballot acts as a major deterrent to voting.

Statistics Canada puts them as the group that’s least likely to vote in a provincial election. Social pressure can be put to work in multiple ways to motivate people to vote.

For example, sending the message that both the voter and their neighbors would be informed about who had voted after the election increase turnout by 8 percentage points. However, Compare that to the 4.6 percentage point increase when voters were told that their vote was a matter of public record, it is evident why campaigns resort to shaming tactics.

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Although, they’re less effective in the short run, tactics that don’t shame voters into voting create better outcomes across multiple election cycles. Shaming tactics have resulted in backlash for campaigns as well making people feel coerced into doing something.

The best practice is to frame your message so that it effectively says “we’re keeping an eye on you” rather than “we’re going to shame you if you don’t vote”. Persuade through peer pressure Social norms rally people to go out and vote in high numbers.

The motivation to adhere to social norms is even stronger when delivered as part of a message from someone within the voter’s personal network. This method is especially effective at turning out minority communities and young voters.

IMPORTANT: Make sure the ask to mobilize friends and family only goes out to strong supporters. A 2006 study found that asks to mobilize neighbors deter some people from voting.

Field experiments focused on communities with a history of low participation shows us that repeated personal contact especially through door knocks and phone calls can produce habitual voters. Reaching people early on in the GOT stage to confirm support.

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Final GOT message right before or on election day when you remind them of their pledge to support and ask them to vote. Negative information gets us to pay attention, it gets people to mobilize around a candidate or cause and turn out to vote.

Here is a slightly modified version of the Modern canvassing script that was used in their 2004 outreach campaign: I am a volunteer with and I want to make sure you are all set to vote for tomorrow.

The race is really close, but we have an upsurge of momentum, and we’re all going to get out and vote and put our country on a new and better course. Here’s a fact sheet from about this election and directions to our polling place.

Here’s a sign-up sheet, you can pick any day and time and give 2 hours; it’s fun. This difference is attributed to the emphasis unpaid volunteers put on making a personal connection with people compared to professional callers who focus on completing as many calls as they can in an hour.

This is backed by multiple studies that show that the dynamic interaction during authentic person-to-person contact is the most important determinant in voter mobilization. Just make sure to hire experienced callers that prioritize authenticity over contact rates.

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Say you’re trying to reach 10,000 voters with a Predictive Dialer and make 110 dials per hour. Give volunteers a basic script that uses tactics talked about earlier in the blog.

But give them the flexibility to modify the script and develop their own style of dialogue. When volunteers are given the flexibility to modify the pitch to their strengths, the conversations take on a more authentic tone that acts as a major motivator to vote.

Unlike broadcast texts that were prevalent a couple of years back, peer to peer texting has come into the spotlight as a more effective way to get out the vote owing to its personal nature. It still comes in behind door knocks and phone calls in terms of effectiveness, but the sheer scale that texting allows gives campaigns who are strapped for volunteers a competitive edge.

The conversational nature gives you room to help voters make a plan, answer any queries and do follow-ups. Sample GOT text: Tuesday, Nov 7th is Election Day.

SMS Opt-in : Voters text a keyword to a number to receive information on how to cast their vote. You are essentially writing a text and hitting a button to send it to the entire list in one go.

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You create the opt-in campaign, publish the number and let the software take care of handling responses. Texts are also particularly effective at mobilizing young voters aged 18-24 who often feel left out of the political process.

Another study done on millennial voters during the 2015 Dallas mayoral election showed a more conservative improvement of 0.9% on turnout. While we don’t have conclusive data on how big an effect GOT ads have on voter turnout, we do know that they have a positive impact.

Facebook and Instagram let you narrow your geographic area down to a circle as small as 1 mile in circumference. You can even choose to exclude areas within that circle for more precise targeting.

The people within the chosen area can further be divided based on demographic data. Twitter has similar geo-fencing functionality that lets you target people based on the language they speak.

For GOT campaigns, That kind of precise targeting lets you reach people locally with personalized ads. These ads don’t rely on a site like Facebook or Twitter, but follow a person.

When targeting a voter-file via cookies or IP, you can have personalized ads for the intended voters. A data vendor like L2, that has a compiled voter-file can also assist you with display advertising for GOT.

Using digital ads for GOT means you need a designer to create videos and banners and tweak them for performance along the way. While email is still a viable channel for coordinating GOT efforts, your money is best spent elsewhere if the intent of your message is to get people to vote.

Direct mail or postcards Unlike door-to-door canvassing and phone banking, direct mail mostly guarantees you’ll reach all targeted voters. A 2017 study by Analyst Institute found a 1.3 percentage point increase in turnout when social pressure mailers were combined with informational GOT texts.

Election day follow-up for people who requested a reminder call during previous contacts. Because leaflets can be distributed any time during the day, they also help you touch voters who could not be reached by a face-to-face canvass.

Research indicates posters can impact turnout by helping with name recognition and by triggering conversations around the elections. This is not conclusive, and we need more research to provide a clear-cut answer about the impact of yard signs on GOT.

We do know that Wade Perry, the manager of Doug Jones’ Senate campaign swears by yard signs. The One campaigns used yard signs as a supporter identification channel where every person who wanted a yard sign had to give their name, address, telephone number, and email address.

The campaign then used this data to mobilize supporters and volunteers for GOT efforts. The cost of a yard sign largely depends on the material used in manufacturing it, the number of colors used, the art, as well as how many of them are bought at a time.

This is not including the cost of a wire holder to keep the signs upright at another $1. Distributing buttons or stickers is another way of increasing your visibility in an election.

With the advent of social media, these stickers have taken on a new level of significance, especially to motivate young people to vote. With young voters sharing proof of their ballot on sites like Instagram and Twitter, through selfies and hashtags, researchers have suggested that this helps even more people get to the polls.

Choosing the right channels can significantly impact your chances of securing a vote. But an interesting caveat that shines through all the research on voter turnout is that channels matter less than the nature of conversations you have across them.

Volunteers making phone calls performed 3 times better than professional callers. Direct mail using social pressure tactics performed 5 times better than generic mailers.

The tactics mentioned above can act as a solid foundation to set up your GOT campaign. But keep in mind that every campaign should be a measurable exercise where you track your return on investment.

If we’ve missed out any tactics or channels or if you come across additional research that can help expand the scope of this blog post, shoot me an email at.

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