ThruText and Vote Tripling: A How-To Guide

Most voters have a friend that needs that little extra nudge to vote. By implementing an easy friend-to-friend voter turnout tactic called “vote tripling” using ThruText, you can nudge thousands of supporters to get those on the fence out to the polls.

Vote tripling is an optimized commit-to-vote pledge that involves two steps: (1) securing a supporter's promise to encourage three friends to vote and (2) following up with a timely text reminder to the supporter. The tactic is based in behavioral science research and has been validated by a rigorous study finding that it produces a statistically-significant increase in turnout for a fraction of the cost of other tactics.


Vote tripling is geared toward non-activists, the 97% of voters who will cast their ballot on election day don’t volunteer for campaigns. Reminding three close friends to vote is an easy, bite-sized task that non-activists are delighted to say yes to. This guide walks through how to collect vote tripling pledges using ThruText and how to send out reminder messages:

Part 0: Upload the List of People to Text

Step 1: From Groups on the sidenav, click 'Create New Group"

Step 2: Name the Group “Vote Tripling – [Candidate] for [Position].” This helps manage all data. Set the country to “United States of America.”

Step 3: Upload the .csv file. Make sure to have a column for the contact’s first and last name, phone number, and VANID (or however you will be identifying them)

Step 4: Match the headers. Also match any extra fields that you’d like to match.

Step 5: Create your group and then navigate to campaigns.

Part 1: Create a Campaign to Collect Pledges

Step 1: From the Campaigns section of the side nav, hit 'Create New Campaign.'

Step 2: Name your Campaign “Vote Tripling – Doe for Congress”. For the description, use: “A reminder from a friend is the best way to get someone to vote. Ask your friends if we can count on them to get three friends to vote, collect their names for a personalized reminder text before Election Day!”

Then fill in necessary location information. Select the appropriate time zone, start date, end date, and zip-code regions.

Step 3: Select your contacts. Choose your list of targets by selecting it as your Base Segment.

Step 4: Select texters. Assign who will be texting for this campaign.

Step 5: Write your script. We suggest "Hey %FirstName%! It's %SenderFirstName% with [Candidate] for [Position]. A close friend's message is the best way to get someone to vote. Can I count on you to remind 3 friends?"

(Keep the character count low enough to stay in one single message! Remember, the variable names will be shorter in the real text.)


Step 6: Write follow-up responses under Recommended Replies.

A: Make the ask for their names: (i) Make the Title “What are their names?” and (ii) Make the Script: “Great! What are their first names?”

B: Make the thank you response: (i) Make the Title “Thank you!” and (ii) Make the Script: “Awesome! Thank you so much. You’ll be receiving a reminder to get these three to vote before Election Day!”

Step 7: Write responses to common hesitations:

  • Can’t think of who to remind?: (i) Make the Title “Can’t think of people” and (ii) Make the Script: “No worries! Can you think of a family member, co-worker, or neighbor who can use a reminder?”
  • Can’t think of three: (i) Make the Title “Can’t think of three” and (ii) Make the Script: “No worries. If you can only think of two or one, that’s totally fine! As long as we get more people out to vote, that’s all I care about :)”
  • Doesn’t want to share names: (i) Make the Title “Won’t name names” and (ii) Make the Script: “No worries! I totally understand. I'm not trying to collect data, I just want to be able to send you a personalized message on Election Day. It can be initials or even nicknames, as long as you know who you should be reminding!”

All my friends already vote: (i) Make the Title “All their friends vote” and (ii) Make the Script: “That’s awesome! I find that it can be nice to get a reminder from a friend just in case they’re really busy on election day or have something unexpected come up.”

Step 8: Create Survey Question for “Vote Tripler’s Friends Names”. Make sure to create a “Freeform” survey question and name it “Vote Tripler’s Friends Names”.

Step 9: Create vote tripling activist code and others. We recommend activist codes to identify Vote Triplers, Wrong Numbers, and Republicans.

Part 2: Send Out Your Messages

Step 1: Text Your Supporters. Send all of your supporters and likely supporters the initial pledge SMS and, to everyone who responds positively, send them the follow-up text asking for the first names of their three friends

Part 3: Export List of Responses

Step 1: Export the survey responses. This csv will contain (i) who agreed to vote triple and (ii) the names that they provided.

Step 2a (Optional): Integrate responses into VAN with API integration.

  • Make sure that your VAN account has a vote tripler activist code.
  • Map contacts utilizing their VANID.
  • Match the VAN vote tripler activist code with the Vote Tripler? survey response from your ThruText export.
  • Match the Vote Tripler’s Friends’ Names to the Notes section in VAN

Step 2b (Optional): Integrate responses into VAN without API integration.

  • Clean ThruText export to have (i) voter’s full name, (ii) VANID, (iii) a column for each survey response and activist code.
  • Bulk import the file into My Voters or My Campaign. 
  • Match the VAN vote tripler activist code with the Vote Tripler? survey response from your ThruText export.
  • Match the Vote Tripler’s Friends’ Names to the Notes section in VAN
  • Follow the steps from 2a

Part 4: Follow up with your committed Vote Triplers.

Step 1: Create a new CSV with your respondents from your exported list that includes a "Vote Triplers" column with the information from the "response" column of the exported file from Part 3. Make sure your CSV includes: First Name, Last Name, Phone Number, and Vote Triplers columns.

Step 2: Add a Custom Field to your ThruText account titled “Vote Triplers’ Friends’ Names”. In the admin interface, select Account at the top right, then Custom Fields, then New Custom Field, and choose a code to go with your custom field.

Step 3: Upload Your New List/CSV. (i) In the admin interface, select Groups, then New Group. (ii) Select your fields, Choose Custom Headers, and match the "Vote Triplers" column of your CSV to your custom field from (2.) above.

Part 5: Send Reminder Texts

Step 1: Create a new campaign as in Step 1 for follow-up, using your newly uploaded Group from Part 4.

Step 2: Write your follow-up script. We recommend "Hi %FirstName%! It's %SenderFirstName% with [Candidate] for [Position]. Election Day is tomorrow! Right now, will you remind %CustomFieldCode% to vote!

Tips and Best Practices

  • Be direct and clear with your ask. Don’t be shy in asking your supporters what the names of their three friends are. Many supporters will be happy to share this information and it will allow you to send them personalized reminders before Election Day!
  • Answer your survey questions. Write the names of the friends your supporters say they’ll mobilize in the survey question.
  • Don’t forget to check-in and remind your supporters to Vote Triple!

Want To Learn More About Vote Tripling?

This voter turnout technique was designed by VoteTripling.org, a non-profit that designs, tests and disseminates free friend-to-friend voter turnout programs for progressive campaigns. For more information, visit VoteTripling.org or email contact@votetripling.org.