The phone script can be use when calling each candidate to confirm that he or she has received the candidate questionnaire.
Volunteer: Hello _________, my name is _______ and I’m a volunteer with _________. The reason for my phone call is to ask if you have received the candidate questionnaire that was mailed to all candidates running for (insert office) on (insert date of election).
Candidate: Yes, I did.
Volunteer: Great! We included a self-addressed, stamped envelope in the letter and I’m hoping you will mail it back as soon as possible. Please be sure to return it no later than (insert deadline date). Please be sure to sign the questionnaire or we cannot accept it. Thank you for your willingness to serve our community.
Note: Do not accept a questionnaire that was returned without the candidate’s signature.
Tip: If you are asked about your ministry, tell the candidate you are a volunteer with your church ministry and this ministry provides information to church members regarding current issues, including elections. Inform them that this voter guide will be distributed in your church and possibly your community.
Things to consider when talking with a candidate who is not receptive to the questionnaire:
Some candidates are not receptive to a candidate questionnaire. Be patient, but also be prepared to answer their questions.
· If a candidate is hesitant to fill out their questionnaire and says, “I believe in separation of church and state. This questionnaire isn’t legal.” Simply say that the church ministry follows IRS guidelines for churches, and according to those guidelines, a church may produce voter guides. Be sure to have the IRS guideline on hand and an understanding of what the guideline.
· Let a hesitant candidate know that he/she has the freedom to refuse to answer the questionnaire. However, when the voter guide is distributed, their name will be listed and their response will read as “Questionnaire not returned.”
· The hesitant candidate may say that the office he or she is running for will not be dealing with the types of issues (abortion, same-sex marriage, religious liberties, etc.) listed on the questionnaire. Some appropriate responses are:
“The voter guide will help voters understand your overall view on important issues.”
“Candidates are typically questioned about many issues and these are some of the issues that are important to us.”
“It’s not uncommon for candidates to run for higher office in the future or other offices that do address these issues. We believe it’s best to know about a candidate at every step of their career.”