Evidence-Based Practices for Voter Mobilization Research-Based Principles for
Evidence-Based Practices for Voter Mobilization Research-Based Principles for Effective Get-Out-the-Vote Activities Elizabeth A. Erkel, PhD February 2019 Table of Contents Preface 1. The dos & donts of voter mobilization 3 5 2. Mobilizing voters is not 18 3. To mobilize voters 19 4. Voter mobilization resources 20
5. References 21 2 Preface Welcome! This tutorial will help you understand the principles behind effective GOTV campaigns. For what works, see Tactics That Work for Voter Mobilization For talking effectively with voters, see: What to Say: Effective GOTV Conversations Each election, each potential voter, and each get-outthe-vote (GOTV) effort is unique. Thus it is critical to tailor your message. Regardless of the type of GOTV activity and your audience, your efforts will be more effective if guided by evidence-based practices. GOTV action involves vision, strategy, and tactics as depicted on the next page. https://my.lwv.org/texas/best-practices-gotv 3 GOTV Action
Program V GOT cs i tact work t t ha Adopted by LWVTX Convention 2016 *reased Inc r vote ut o turn as x in Te 5% from 2012 to 2020 ed m r
in o f n n o i i ing ticipat ating g a ive l our ve par facilit t c c n a E fu ter c ti n t b y g n a n I
i . d n ion ea an t me ement m a n c r i & e un m gov r engag m co vote *Evidence-based practices 4
1. THE DOS & DONTS OF VOTER MOBILIZATION Focus on voting Connect with the voter Use gentle social pressure Help make a plan for voting Advocate for issues or candidates Discuss that people arent voting Rely on impersonal emails, display ads, or robo-calls 5 Focus on voting Voter x
ter o v n No The goal is to transform nonvoters into voters not to change minds about an issue or a candidate. Advocating for issues may diminish your influence on voter turnout. The League does not support or oppose candidates or political parties Advocacy & Communications Solutions, 2015, p.7 Green & Gerber, 2015, p. 7 6 Connect with the voter Emphasize that you are
local, e.g.: A neighbor From a local organization Messengers with something in common with the community are more effective than outsiders. Acknowledge a commonality between you and your contact. Be enthusiastic. Ask questions. Share a voting story of your own. Angone, 2015; British Council, n.d.; Nickerson & Rogers, 2010; Yale University, n.d. 7 Connect with the voter Timing Use different periods of the election season to greatest effect.
Focus messaging on a specific topic within the 2 weeks before its deadline: Voter registration Vote-by-mail applications Early voting Election Day Green & Gerber, 2015, p.33; Nonprofit Vote, n.d. 8 Connect with the voter How often? Aim to make one contact with each targeted voter through multiple attempts if needed.
One successful contact with lots of voters is more effective than multiple contacts with fewer voters. Multiple contacts are most effective with occasional voters but require substantial resources. Cendejas & Guerra, 2014 9 Connect with the voter Targeting the electorate Target those who need a little encouragement to vote, especially: First-time voters Young people
Ethnic/racial minorities People with a low income Arceneaux & Nickerson, 2009; Gerber & Rogers, 2009, pp. 6 & 13 Green & Gerber, 2015, pp. 47, 82, & 94 10 Use gentle social pressure Let potential voters know that someone is paying attention to whether or not they participate in the election. We are social creatures and want to fit in. Tell them that others like themselves have committed to being voters. Remind them of their past voting history (its public record). Promise to follow-up with them after the election (and
do so!). Gerber, Green, & Larimer, 2008; Green & Gerber, 2015, p. 144-151 11 Help make a plan for voting Getting potential voters to think through the steps they need to take makes them more likely to act on their intent to vote. Planning to be a voter Lo cs ti s gi What to Take to the Polls Voter registration card One of the acceptable voter IDs List of who/what to vote for ss
e n i d a Re Nonpartisan Resources Assess difficulty How When Where Special plans Voter information websites Deadlines Registration Vote-by-mail Voting dates Polling places Nickerson & Rogers, 2010 VOTE411.org, VoteTexas.gov County elections website my.LWV.org/Texas local League website
League voters guides Find voter ID information at https://my.lwv.org/texas/voter-id 12 Help make a plan for voting Assist voter in getting ready to vote. LWV-TX social media business card available at https://my.lwv.org/texas/get-out-vote-0 Bookmarks individualized for each local League available at https://my.LWV.org/Texas/vote-it-counts 13 Dont talk about how people arent voting low voter turnout Hearing that others are voting
encourages voting among infrequent and occasional voters. Your [classmates, neighbors, etc.] have been telling me that they are definitely voting in this election. Do you plan on being a voter? We're expecting a high turnout this election. More and more people are voting. Telling people that others are not voting can suppress voter turnout. Schwartz & Rogers, 2010 14 The single most important element of voter mobilization is urging the person to be a voter. How important is it for you to be a voter in this upcoming election? Dont advocate Can I count on you being a voter in this election? voting for
Persuasion messages have no Issues or effect on whether or not a Candidates person will vote! An issue-focused message is unlikely to increase voter turnout. The League does not endorse or oppose any candidate or political party. Green & Gerber, 2015, pp. 34 & 156-157 15 Rely on impersonal Robocalls Mass emails Display ads Impersonal mass communication is ineffective in increasing voter turnout.
But friend-to-friend personalized communication that encourages voting through a series of chatty posts is about as effective as face-to-face canvassing. Brooks, 2017; Green & Gerber, 47, 82, 94, & 126-127 16 Issues Candidates on s u Foc g votin Help make a voting plan Use gentle social pressure
Dont advocate for issues or candidates vote e h t h t wi r Dont rely on impersonal communication 17 2. MOBILIZING VOTERS IS NOT merely a matter of reminding them that Election Day is near. just a matter of putting election-related information in front of them. telling people why they should vote for a particular
candidate or cause. Green & Gerber, 2015, p. 156 18 3. TO MOBILIZE VOTERS Make them feel wanted at the polls. In-person invitations convey the most warmth and work best. Next best are personalized telephone calls or personalized chatty posts on social media. Build on voters preexisting level of motivation to vote. Let them know that their vote is a matter of public record. Green & Gerber, 2015, pp. 156-157 19 4. VOTER MOBILIZATION RESOURCES Tactics That Work What to Say Engaging Target Populations
Asian and Pacific Islanders Latinos Millennials Generation Z Youth https://my.lwv.org/texas/best-practices-gotv 20
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