You don’t have to tolerate low voter turnout. Many of the factors that influence turnout are in your control, for example, voter knowledge.
When voters understand the roles and responsibilities of elected leaders, the issues at play, and the differences between candidates, they are more likely to vote. Last week, Votenet’s GOTV (that’s “get out the vote”) expert and University of Florida political scientist Charles Dahan shared some tactics for increasing voter knowledge in the last webinar in our Summer Candidate Webinar Series.
Be clear about leadership impact and candidate differences.
Help members gain a clear understanding of what leaders do in office and how their decisions affect the businesses, careers, and lives of members. This clarity will not only increase member interest in voting but will also increase members’ interest in running for office.
The diversity of the candidate slate is another factor that influences turnout. If candidates appear too similar, members won’t bother voting. Why take action when the end result will be the same no matter what? Although candidates don’t always want to focus on their differences, that’s exactly what you need to do when communicating their positions to voters.
Voters don’t like ambiguity. Diversity creates interest. Strongly encourage candidates to take clear positions on issues. What issues have real world consequences for members? Ask relevant questions that elicit unique answers, for example, “What would you do in circumstance X?”
Get your members more deeply involved in the election by asking them what they want to know about the candidates. What issues need to be addressed by the candidates? You might even ask the candidates, “Why is the outcome of this election relevant to members?”
Capture the voter’s attention first, then educate them.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase the member’s awareness and knowledge about the election. But how do you get them to pay attention?
When you disrupt the normal flow and pattern of communication that they expect from you, they’re more likely to pay attention. In other words, mix it up. Experiment with an entirely different email design and format for your election marketing emails. Change the template. Use a more attention-grabbing color or a different font. If your writing style is normally business-like, use a more conversational tone.
Jolt them out of their normal election mode – which may be an inactive mode. Pique their curiosity – make them want to click to learn more.
Run some A/B testing to see what works. Send the “normal” type of email to one group and the “disruptive” email to another group. Then compare results.
Take full advantage of tracking mechanisms, like email marketing and website analytics, to learn what links people click on in emails or social media updates, and what pages they view. Figure out what interests them; if it’s not the election, you need to ramp up efforts. Find out which of your voter knowledge efforts were the most effective.
After the election, in the survey you send to members, find out what kind of candidate information they would like in the future.
We’re planning future webinars and would love to know what types of challenges and problems we can help you solve. Send your questions and gripes to firstname.lastname@example.org.