Our groundbreaking research on voter mobilization and issue engagement has helped us pioneer new methods for getting Americans to the polls.
When it comes to increasing the voice of the Rising American Electorate at the ballot box, voter registration is only half the battle; the other half is getting them to vote. The Voter Participation Center’s holistic, research-driven approach makes our get-out-the-vote (GOTV) programs extremely effective in mobilizing the Rising American Electorate to get to the polls.
Our research has shown that some of our GOTV turnout programs are so effective, their effect goes beyond the current election cycle. In other words, people targeted by our GOTV campaigns are not only more likely to vote in that election, but also in the next one—even without any more contact from VPC.
How do we get such great results? Good old-fashioned mail. While we’re constantly innovating to improve our GOTV outreach using the latest technologies, those same approaches have made mail even more important than ever. As new social technologies overwhelm the American public, mail is the only medium that still reaches just about everyone.
We’ve been at the forefront of research-driven innovation in mail GOTV programs. In the Analyst Institute’s 2013 review of GOTV tactics, three of the top four performing GOTV mailings of the 2012 election cycle were produced by VPC. In so-called “battleground states,” our results were 3.5 times as great as the largest effort conducted by others in the battleground. And our 2014 mailings reassuring first-time voters that their ballots will be secret and helping them know what to expect at the polls had almost five times as much effect as comparable nonpartisan mobilization efforts, according to an independent evaluation by researchers at Yale University. We saw similarly-encouraging results from our GOTV mailings for the 2016 campaign.
In other words: Mail works in reaching voters and getting them to the polls — and we’re the best in the business.
For more than a decade, we’ve conducted intensive research on Vote By Mail (VBM) strategies to increase voter turnout. In past elections, our VBM program targeted registered voters from the RAE that our models found were unlikely to vote in the midterm election, and helped them connect with resources that would enable them to vote by mail (also known as no-fault absentee balloting) instead of going to the polls on Election Day.
As we’ve evaluated the ongoing results from our VBM strategies, we’ve made an already cost-effective program even more efficient, producing a new breakthrough model of VBM that will increase the return on investment for this critical turnout methodology.
As with our voter registration programs, our mobilization and turnout efforts are driven by, and contribute to, our ongoing research efforts.
This often produces results that confound the conventional wisdom—such as our finding that the RAE doesn’t want political messaging included with their vote-by-mail application, and that simple, black-and-white layouts are much more effective in getting out the vote than the glossy, high-color formats used in 99% of all political mail.
This research has led to our producing what our friends have cheekily described as “some of the ugliest pieces of direct mail ever”: but it’s direct mail that works in getting members of the Rising American Electorate to cast their ballots.
Our research has also found that messaging that focuses on voting as a civic duty, and calling on social normative behavior, is extremely effective at turning people out to vote.