Best Way to Increase Voter Participation

August 16, 2022

When it comes to voting, many voters opt not to cast their votes at all because they worry about choosing the wrong candidate, they don’t understand the vote at hand, they think their vote is obsolete, or they simply have no motivation to vote. Many people often don’t feel heard, which is why they disconnect from social and political causes.

If you’re conducting an election or poll and want to combat these feelings, you’ll need to find ways to increase voter participation.

Step 1: Trigger an Emotion

Some reasons why people don’t vote can often be traced back to negative emotions of feeling socially excluded or unrewarded. To run a successful campaign and convince people to participate in your organization’s voting event, you ought to address this negative belief. You can do so by triggering a counter emotion–inclusion. Here are two ways to evoke a sense of inclusion:

Reinforce Belief

According to pre-election surveys conducted in the U.K. and U.S., people typically refuse to participate in elections because the contesting parties failed to represent their beliefs. The term “belief” represents both religious and social beliefs–if you want your audience to participate in your voting event actively, you’ll have to dive deep into their psychology and perception of life. Find out what they care about: What do they regard highly, and what troubles them the most? Get personal—advertise and campaign around those beliefs. Ask voters to participate in order to support that belief instead of to fulfill their civic responsibility.

Reach out to voters personally. If visiting or calling your audience is impractical, send persuasive emails. A message on their socials or an SMS reminder works, too—something websites for voting on ideas online can do automatically for you. When you directly connect with voters on a personal level, your audience will feel that the election is more about them than about you, and this improves participation.

Offer Something in Return

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not promoting bribing, but simply asking your voters to fulfill their civic responsibility might not be convincing enough. To maximize participation, you can promise something tangible. For example, in a school election, school officials may promise an incentive such as a pizza lunch or day without homework if a certain number of students cast their votes.

This tactic can make voters focus more on the reward than the capabilities of the candidates, but by tailoring your promise and ensuring that the reward benefits the entire student body, you can stir voters to action.

In an online election, you could offer voters a special gift that will be sent to their email after voting, such as a coupon or voucher for a free or discounted item or service.

Step 2: Follow Up With Friendly Accountability

Friendly accountability refers to comfortable confrontation. Instead of only asking voters about their plans for the upcoming elections, share your plans, as well. Be transparent about your conduct and intent, and transform the voting process into a collaborative journey. Remind voters of your beliefs—it’ll reinforce their spirits and keep them from forgetting the importance of their civic responsibility.

Step 3: Make it Easy

Lastly, there’s often low participation in elections because potential voters want to avoid the time and effort needed to reach a physical polling place. Opting for an online voting system can provide a solution. With a digital voting platform, voters can cast their votes remotely on their cell phones or computers simply by logging into an online portal or clicking a link—this whole process takes less than five minutes, which further encourages greater participation. Moreover, counting votes digitally is safe, automated, and efficient; you can even broadcast the count of votes for each side during the election process for anyone to see.

ElectionBuddy allows you to do all of the above–send voters a clickable link and track incoming votes at the touch of a button.

Register for your own ElectionBuddy account and set up a free test vote! Feel free to reach out to the team at support@electionbuddy.com with any questions or explore ElectionBuddy’s Help Center.

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