POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Election Campaign

During an election campaign, candidates or parties compete for votes in the election. 

Election campaigns involve hanging up elections posters, holding events, and having candidates take part in talk shows and debates. Additionally, there are information stands from the parties whose candidates are competing, which give out stickers, brochures and badges in order to woo voters.

An election campaign encourages sympathizers of a candidate or party as well as undecided voters to take part in the election and vote for certain candidates.

There is a distinction between direct and indirect campaigning. 

Examples of direct campaigning:

  • Open talks with the electorate
  • Information stands in public places 
  • Personal communication between citizens and candidates

Forms of indirect campaigning:

  • Use of mass media
  • Taking part in TV debates 
  • Radio or newspaper interviews 
  • Leaflets and election posters
  • Use of internet and social networks 

Trends in campaigning 

Election campaigns are heading in an increasingly online direction. Social media is now widely used - primarily to win over younger voters, but it can also help parties and candidates achieve different goals alongside winning over voters. These channels have also been used to position parties and candidates in the area of so-called "infotainment" - presenting the campaign information in an entertaining way.

Campaigns are becoming increasingly professional. Big advertising companies are used to develop and implement campaign strategies. An important feature is also greater personalization of election campaigns. In previous times it was parties who were at the centre of the campaign, but today the main actors are the top candidates themselves.

See also: Elections, Presidential Election, Swing States

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