Twelve tips for an internet election campaign

(Adapted from a list by Scott Kaye.)

1. Secure a domain name (for example www.CDU600.org[dead] or www.UNITE600.org[dead]) and get a website of your own up as soon as you can and/or it’s politically advantageous to do so. (NOTE: be careful about “employer contributions” to your campaign. In the Local 600 election a techie insurgent on the CDU slate uncovered a serious election violation when he discovered that the incumbent’s web site was created and maintained by the same web designer employed to do the official Local 600 page — a violation of federal law because the web designer is an employer and federal law prohibits candidates for union office from receiving employer contributions. — 9/19/04)

2. Have one of the core group members take on the job of webmaster.

3. Keep to the issues and have the website focus on facts, information, and statements. It’s not about pretty pictures or fancy graphic design–it’s about the issues of substance to working men & women.

4. Assign one core group member the role of email “constructor/facilitator.” Only the webmaster and the “constructor/facilitator” should have the capability of sending emails through the list that you have painstakingly generated. Once a document is approved, the c/f should format it in HTML, add a footer with a graphic or two, and then send it out.

5. Keep the group members accountable. All public communications in the name of the group–mass emails, paper mailings and website content (though less so)-should be approved by a majority of the group. In CDU, the primary author sent out to the core group, the core group returned their marked-up versions directly to the primary author, who incorporated the acceptable changes and then sent the new version back out; repeating this process until the document was approved.

6. Send regular bulletins to your list. The CDU core group sent regular bulletins to about 20% of the membership. Bulletins should have a consistent format: a clear title, a short message, and links to more information on the CDU website.

7. Post all campaign emails on the website. CDU used two categories: “Setting the Record Straight” and “Election Issues and Updates.” Both pages grew as the campaign progressed and each new email was added.

8. Hyperlinks! Place hyperlinks to your website in the mass emails. Our logo always carried a link to our home page. Candidate names should link to their statements on the website. Particular articles on the website mentioned in an email should be linked to the page on the site.

9. Send “teaser” emails, with a link to a full, detailed article on the same subject on the website. Don’t overwhelm the reader with the full story, but use the email to get the gist out. This requires coordination with the webmaster to post the article on the website before sending the email–in case a recipient clicks on the link right away.

10. Use the union’s official email list. Because the CDU list was still incomplete, they sent periodic mass emails to the union’s official email list (not part of the directory) at a cost of $125 for each mailing. (Note: union members have the same right to post to union email lists in election campaigns as they do to send mailings to the union’s official membership list.)

11. Create downloadable PDF voting guides that list your candidates, and clarify the voting procedures and rules.

12. Link to the other side. CDU’s links to articles on the Unite 600 website demonstrated confidence in their positions and openness to debate.
For the CDU website: http://cdu600.org/ [dead]
For Unite600: http://unite600.org/ [dead]
For the official union website: http://cameraguild.com/ 
For a cross local IATSE website: http://www.fyia.org/index.html [dead]
For The Viewfinder: http://www.fyia.org/LocalNews/L600/L600.html [dead]

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