Local elections basic training

Municipal elections are just around the corner in the Netherlands. on march 7th, the people will be voting for their local government.

Unfortunately, campaigning is often problematic for local parties. They don’t have a large budget,

and aren’t as marketing-savvy as their national counterparts. Here’s a couple of pointers.

1. Be seen. People will generally base their decision on what national parties are doing. An often heard complaint is “The local parties never show themselves, until the elections”. You have to grab their attention, and show what you’ve been doing for them, and what you want to do for them.

2. Not all voters are as forthcoming as Alper. He is basing his vote on the parties response to his mail on the topic of citywide free WiFi access. Don’t expect your voters to be like him. You need to reach them, they won’t easily reach you.

3. Don’t fear your national counterpart. Your party may be responsible for not very popular policies. So what? Either find a way to defend them, or present your own angle on the matter. Don’t rely on your voters seeing the difference.

4. The local media is your friend. Don’t be too shy. Let your vision on current events be known. Seek out the media. Send press communiques. If you have an interesting story, the press will be happy to write about you.

5. Use all channels. A flyer alone won’t convince your voters. Use the local papers. User the regional papers. Use the local radio station. Use the local television station.

6. Go out on the streets! Yes, that’s where a lot of people are. Distribute flyers at traffic lights, near stores, any place with lots of people.

7. Use your website. Write about current affairs. Write about the campaign. A good website should be your primary means of communication. It’s a place for potential voters to GetToKnowYou. Don’t forget Google. Make sure people land on your website if they go looking for matters about your municipality.

8. Use your network. Members of local political parties can often be found in all kinds of sports and hobby clubs. They can be your representative in that club; they can tell people why your party might be a good choice to vote for.

9. If you don’t have money for advertisement, raise money, or be creative!

10. Be seen! This can’t be emphasized enough.

11. The outcome of the elections is in your own hands. If you loose, always look at your own campaign for reasons. You will find them.

12. Enjoy campaigning! It’s a time to show your voters what you are made of. An excellent performance will give you lots of pride, and the voters lots of confidence in your abilities for the coming four years.

13. Don’t squander your voters confidence. Be careful what you say. The PVDA Rijnwoude made a terrible mistake four years ago. They promised if you’d vote for them, they’d keep the indoor swimming pool open. Two months after they won the elections, it was closed, regardless of their promise. That will be a tough one this year.

There. Political Campaigning isn’t really that hard, as long as you put a common sense approach behind it.