Not sure how to broach the subject of voting when aiming to Get Out The Vote? Just check with “the doctor.” The Willamette Women Democrats recently had a consult with Reed College Political Science Professor Dr. Paul Gronke, and the doctor was definitely IN. He had “prescriptions” for smarter outreach to potential voters, especially younger ones.
Gronke’s “Science of Voter Turnout” research established a key guideline. In a word, “Connect!” We are social creatures and want to fit in. So let that work for you when you’re talking with potential voters.
Effective ways to engage potential voters center on what you have in common with them. Gronke describes Oregon as a high-turnout state, which means new voters have lots of company.
And think local. Point out that others like them – classmates, neighbors, friends – have already committed to voting. You’re local so you’re a neighbor yourself or perhaps a member of a local organization. Let them know that someone’s paying attention to whether or not they participate in the election.
It’s also valuable to know what NOT to do. Gronke cautioned against sounding desperate – this is not the place or time to bemoan how people aren’t voting. Much better to emphasize the bigger voter turnout here. He stressed gentle pressure, only. Don’t come on strong, advocating for any one candidate or issue. That can be a turn-off.
The goal is to transform nonvoters into voters, NOT to try to change minds about an issue or candidate.
It all comes down to this: The single most important element of voter mobilization is urging the person to BE a voter.
If you’d like to be a Clackamas County Democrats Neighborhood Leader, contact us here.
By Bill Street, Neighborhood Leader Coordinator, Clackamas County Democrats
Our Neighborhood Leader Program has been wildly successful. Attend any of our Clackamas Democratic Central Committee meetings and listen to the self-introductions. No matter how they begin their introduction: be it State Senator, State Representative, County Commissioner, or precinct person, almost to a person that introduction ends with, “And I’m a Neighborhood Leader.”
Why does everyone want it known that they, too, are a Neighborhood Leader? Is it because they know that our Neighborhood Leader program was instrumental in defeating Tea Party crazies who just a few years ago ran our County?
Is it because they know that our Neighborhood Leader program was key in creating a Democratic super majority in Salem? After all, we were the only County (or parts thereof) where incumbent Republicans were defeated.
Is it because of the satisfaction and impact when a Neighborhood Leader has voter turn out in their turf often exceeding average turn-out by 10 per cent or more? As impressive as each of these outcomes are, that is not the reason the program is as successful as it is.
Clackamas County is in the thick of it this election as various political analysts agree the governor’s race between Kate Brown and Knute Buehler will be decided here and in Washington County.
An article in the Portland Tribune makes it clear: Multnomah County voters predictably deliver a big number to Kate Brown’s re-election. But the bottom line will come in the two big “swing” counties, those known to go both ways or sometimes lean one way or the other.
Let’s take a quick look at voter registration, which gives Democrats the edge, then we’ll visit the turnout numbers. Continue reading →
Bill Street, reporting on NLP campaign successes for Measure 101
The Central Committee of the Democratic Party Clackamas County met at the Institute of Electrical Engineers Hall in Gladstone for likely the last time, as a new location is being sought for the ever-growing party. The IOEE has hosted our meetings for over a decade, and we thank them greatly for supporting us for all those years.
Chair Peter Nordbye started the meeting with a sorrowful and moving statement on the recent shooting at a Florida high school. Continue reading →
One important goal of the Clackamas County Democrats’ Neighborhood Leader Program is to mitigate the influence of money in politics. The program intends to achieve this objective by substituting one-on-one, face-to-face contacts established over a number of years for money that buys ads and attempts to educate and inform or misinform voters.
By establishing a neighborhood leader for every 40 Democratic voters in a neighborhood, the neighborhood leaders become a sustainable and permanent army of advocates for social justice and democracy.
Today the effectiveness of this program is amazing. Voters living in areas with a neighborhood leader have significantly higher voter turnout and elect more progressive candidates than voters in areas without a neighborhood leader. The Neighborhood Leader Program is a major reason that Clackamas County is now a much more progressive place than it was five years ago. Continue reading →
The appreciation was obvious as applause filled the room. At last month’s Democratic Central Committee meeting, Neighborhood Leaders who volunteered for the special election were recognized for the work they did to make this Special District election one of the best in recent memory.
In contested seats for school boards, water and sewer districts, fire districts, and other positions, candidates endorsed by the county Democratic Party won 8 out of 11 seats.
One reason for this was the tireless work of those involved in the Neighborhood Leader Program. During the Special Election, Neighborhood Leaders knocked on doors, talked to their neighbors about politics, dropped off slate cards, and phoned to GOTV. Continue reading →