What would it look like if we all voted?
America has a voter turnout problem...
JOHN M CROPPER
Since 1972, voter turnout in presidential elections has hovered between 50-60%.
Since 1974, voter turnout in midterm elections has hovered around a mere 40%, although it jumped to a whopping 50% in 2018.
America’s recent voter turnout record places it well behind most other advanced democracies, including Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel, South Korea, and Australia.
Voter turnout is especially poor among younger Americans, consistently falling well below older generations.
Voting Rates by Age
Yet, in 2020, Gen Zers and Millennials (18-39) will make up an estimated 37% of the eligible voting population.
Voting Rates by Age
So what can you do to encourage more of your family, friends, colleagues, and fellow Americans to vote this fall?
The first and best thing you can do is lead by example. Model the behavior you want to see in others. Make sure you are registered to vote, have a plan to vote, and vote this fall.
As for getting others to vote, start by having them make a pledge to register to vote and vote in November. You can make this easier by sharing your pledge with them in person or on social media.
Next, have them make a plan for how and when they will vote. Sharing your voting plan and helping them develop their own has been shown to increase voter turnout.
You can also gently remind them that their voting history, or lack thereof, is a matter of public record. There are even apps that make it easier to access these records. Put peer pressure to use for democracy!
Hold them accountable by telling them that you want to hear all about their voting experience after Election Day.
Give them a healthy dose of FOMO by getting people they know to post about their plans and excitement to vote.
You can also write letters to unlikely-to-vote Americans across the country encouraging them to vote, a strategy which has boosted voter turnout in multiple states.
With your help, we can increase voter turnout in America!
Visit the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s website to register to vote.
Check out FairVote to review national and state voter turnout data and learn about how we measure voter turnout, what affects voter turnout, and what we can do to increase voter turnout.
Read an article from the Pew Research Center explaining how the United States lags behind other “highly developed, democratic states” when it comes to voter turnout. You can also read a Pew Research Center article on the demographics of the 2020 electorate.
Learn more about an app that uses voter databases to rank your contacts according to their voting histories, allowing you to learn who may need a reminder to vote in the fall.
Visit Vote Forward to sign up for writing letters encouraging your fellow Americans to vote.
Millions of Americans refuse to vote every election cycle because they don’t see politicians representing and supporting the policy issues they care about. Watch comedian Hasan Minhaj’s take on how so much our collective frustration with politics is tied to the way we conduct our elections and what we can do to change that.