Political scientists will tell you that people of certain demographic groups — the young and the poor, to cite two examples — vote less frequently than folks in certain other groups.


Which raises a question posed HERE by Melissa Michelson:


Is it possible to mobilize people who are otherwise uninterested in voting or reluctant to vote?   We now have good answers to these questions.  People who have not participated much before can indeed be moved to go to the polls.


What really mobilizes these voters is repeated personal contacting. In our book “Mobilizing Inclusion,” Lisa García Bedolla and I describe 268 get-out-the-vote field experiments conducted repeatedly across six electoral cycles from 2006 to 2008. These field experiments were focused on communities with a history of low participation and were conducted in partnership with non-partisan community-based organizations. Because these experiments randomly assign some voters to be contacted in particular ways and others not to be contacted, we can better know what actually gets people to the ballot box.


Our analysis shows that citizens who haven’t voted much in the past can be inspired by either door-to-door visits or live phone calls. Tellingly, our research shows that such contacts, especially if repeated, can produce habitual voters.


Political scientists will tell you that people of certain demographic groups — the young and the poor, to cite two examples — vote less frequently than folks in certain other groups.

Which raises a question posed HERE by Melissa Michelson:

Is it possible to mobilize people who are otherwise uninterested in voting or reluctant to vote?   We now have good answers to these questions.  People who have not participated much before can indeed be moved to go to the polls.

What really mobilizes these voters is repeated personal contacting. In our book “Mobilizing Inclusion,” Lisa García Bedolla and I describe 268 get-out-the-vote field experiments conducted repeatedly across six electoral cycles from 2006 to 2008. These field experiments were focused on communities with a history of low participation and were conducted in partnership with non-partisan community-based organizations. Because these experiments randomly assign some voters to be contacted in particular ways and others not to be contacted, we can better know what actually gets people to the ballot box.

Our analysis shows that citizens who haven’t voted much in the past can be inspired by either door-to-door visits or live phone calls. Tellingly, our research shows that such contacts, especially if repeated, can produce habitual voters.