Increasing Minority Turnout by Brad Chism

By at August 28, 2013 | 10:56 am | Print

Increasing Minority Turnout by Brad Chism

Brad Chism

Is it possible to modify your phone program to get a 13% increase in turnout among sporadic voting minorities? Yes, according to researchers at Cal Berkeley and Menlo College.

Dr. Lisa Garcia Bedolla (Cal Berkley) and Dr. Melissa Michelson (Menlo College) have written an exhaustive analysis of dozens of minority voter get-out-the-vote efforts in 2006 and 2008 in their book Mobilizing Inclusion.

 Hailed as a “new standard of research on minority, voter mobilization” their work includes analysis of GOTV in Latino, African American, and Asian American communities in special elections, mid term contests, and presidential years. They present a new theoretical framework about why some programs work better than others.

 Their research on successful GOTV phone programs was consistent: first, they made an interactive, chatty call a week or more before the contest in which minority voters were asked to commit to voting. They followed that with another call just before the election reminding these voters of their promise to go to the polls. The technique generated an average 13% lift in turnout among those who answered the second call.

 Chapter Two in Mobilizing Inclusion details the findings. We offer the following pointers based on our own experience that supports the theories advanced in the book:

  1. Budget for a second GOTV call reminder to those targeted minority voters who say “Yes” to the earlier appeal. This modest investment will pay great dividends in a close race.

  2. Make specific reference to the day and time of day they committed to voting in the follow up call. This memory trigger is quite powerful.

  3. Be realistic about contact rates. Even the best phone banks will fail to reach half the targeted low propensity minority voters.

  4. Accent and dialect matter. For example, GOTV appeals to Latino voters in the Rio Grande Valley should never come from Spanish speaking callers in Miami. Be sure to ask your phone firm where the bilingual callers are located.

 We extend our thanks to Dr. Garcia Bedolla and Dr. Michelson for their exhaustive work on minority voter GOTV programs and our apologies to them for any misinterpretations.

Brad Chism, Founder, Chism Strategies;  a direct voter contact consultancy integrating telephone contact programs with campaign messaging for Democratic candidates and progressive groups.  

Chism Strategies           P O Box 15870        Washington DC  20003    (202) 430-5963
603 Duling Avenue    Suite 211    Jackson   MS  39216   (601) 982-0231


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