Triple The Vote: Election 2023

Triple The Vote – our tactic to turn the tide on the election

This year, we had a plan for the general election. And that was to focus on the issues. Specifically - the cost of living crisis and its roots. We decided to make the connection between the crisis and ever-increasing corporate profits as clear as possible, and highlight the concept of progressive taxation. We wanted a conversation in Aotearoa about where our collective resources currently go and why, and we were excited to help move the conversation forward.

But election campaigning is a complex beast, and well-funded and persistent narratives drove people away from questioning our economy, and pushed them toward division and racism. We published research clearly showing corporate profits as more responsible than any other factor for inflationary pressure in NZ, and headline after headline showed that price rises on food and petrol were going straight to investors. But still, nothing moved, even while the high stakes of the election became more obvious.

We needed to restrategise. We thought about how else to contribute to an election result that would benefit people and our planet. We talked to friends across the world with election campaigning experience about what they were seeing, and different responses to the rise of the far-right internationally.

That’s when we heard about vote tripling. A tactic our sister organisations in both the US and Brazil had used successfully in recent years.

The tactic of tripling, put simply, asks people to get three others in their life to the polls, and importantly, follow them up until they’ve done it. It relies on relationships, and works to "activate" people who then become triplers, rather than the old school "get out the vote" tactic of "checking up" on people to see if they have voted. We believed in the theory of change, so - we went all in.

Nine weeks out from election day, our team came together for an intensive planning hui where we assigned roles and built the necessary tech. People needed to sign up, and be texted and reminded to follow up with their friends once voting opened.

Someone holds a 'triple the vote' placard up at a rally with other protesters holding banners for the climate

We could see the potential for other organisations to adapt the tactic to suit their members and knew this would be crucial. So we started talking to our mates across the movement, and reached out to as many different organisations as possible.

We started pumping out content on social media, went on a shameless influencer charm offensive, and held community calls and live streams.

We developed a training programme and material, and rolled out multiple training sessions a week for people who wanted to take on organiser roles for the effort.

We went hundies. And we learned a lot along the way. It was impossible to track how far the tactic travelled, but some of the numbers showed we:

  • Worked with 30+ organisations and countless individuals to spread the message far and wide
  • Reached HALF A MILLION ActionStation members through email
  • Featured articles in the media, including one in E-Tangata and another in the Guardian
  • Put posters up in 20 progressive spots in major cities
  • Ran dozens of campaign training calls
  • Reached 200,000 people on Instagram
  • Reached 300,000 people on Facebook
  • Had over 11,000 visits to
  • Delivered 10,000 flyers across the country
  • Hosted a Reels Party with young people to create social media content

We know that Triple the Vote energised many in the ActionStation community, and inspired people across social movements to take action in their own lives. We heard from members that vote tripling was fun, easy, rewarding, inspirational and practical. Some reconnected with old friends, convinced their grandchildren to vote, or got people voting for the first time. Afterwards, people told us they felt happy, empowered and satisfied.

While the election result was disappointing, we'll never know for sure what the results might have looked like if we hadn't actively tripled the vote across the country. We took a step forward for progressive electoral campaigning in Aotearoa. The challenge now is putting the lessons to use, refining and building - keeping the best bits and learning from the others.

There are thousands of us who want to see an Aotearoa for everybody. Who want to see Te Tiriti justice and clean air and waterways. Who want to see those on income support live well, on a dignified wage and with respect from government agencies. Who want to see better public services, a fairer tax system, and see our country make a stand for peace and justice on an international stage.

We learned that our movement is massive, and if we build on from where we left off - we are unbeatable.

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