People are less likely to cast a ballot if they feel they have no influence over government actions, do not feel voting is an essential civic act, or do not feel the election is competitive enough to make their votes matter to the outcome, either at the national or the local constituency level."
The University of George Washington shows how to reengage people in the voting process. Their research shows some of the effective ways to win voters back to the voting booth. Here are some of the results of their research:
The lesson learned is that today’s adults are engaged and they will vote in higher numbers if they are asked.
Actual votes per contact will be higher when the contact is more personalized
and interactive. The research shows that the most effective method of generating a new voter
is an in-person door knock by a peer. The next greatest impact was seen by phone banks with longer, chattier phone scripts or volunteers making the calls. Also, recent survey data by Young Voter Strategies shows that the online tools that are most effective are the ones where the young voter either opts-in to the conversation or gets to interact in some way.
People need nuts-and-bolts practical information about how to vote.And efforts that make voting more convenient are quite effective. So those measures such as restricting voters or in Canada using Robo Calls to mislead voters are very effective in turning people into non-voters.
The medium matters more than the message. To date, the growing body of experimental research has not found that any type of message works better than another. It is more about making a quality contact. Several studies have varied the message to compare partisan versus
nonpartisan or negative versus positive content. None of these studies have shown a significant impact difference between messages
Young people are easy to incorporate into your lists and turnout programs. Excluding young voters from your turnout efforts is a mistake. The research findings all demonstrate that young people are just as responsive to voter contact as older voters. While voters under 30 respond to turnout tactics at the same rates as older voters, in some communities they are more difficult to reach, so targeting must take this into consideration. Efforts in ethnic communities found young people as easy to reach as older voters, and student areas and apartment building have dense residences that lead to very high contact rates.
Ethnic and immigrant youth are cost-effective targets. When targeting ethnic or immigrant communities, it is cost-effective to target young voters, particularly because there is less need to translate materials into languages other than English. When working in ethnic or immigrant communities, be sure to ask all voters you contact to volunteer to reach out to their neighbors: research also indicates that in ethnic and immigrant communities the most trusted messenger is someone who looks like the potential voter. (Michelson 2004) This is the case with most voters, but even more so in these communities
The good news is that initial mobilization makes for repeat voters. Successful mobilization in one election raises people's propensity to vote in subsequent elections. Parties, candidates and interest groups should expect long-term benefits from mobilizing voters today.
In one study, the authors found that 50 percent of the effect of canvassing during the 1998 New Haven election persisted in 1999, even though there were no additional efforts to get out the vote. (Gerber, Green, and Shachar 2003)
Another influential study (based on survey research, not experiments) found that once people begin to vote, their propensity to participate in future elections rises. (Plutzer 2002)
Finally, a new study that tracked 10 canvassing experiments over time indicate that voting is habit- forming. The study found that if you get a person to vote in one election, they will be e 29 percentage points more likely to vote in the next election. (Nickerson 2004)