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Waxing Political: How to get People to Vote

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Waxing Political: How to get People to Vote

It’s well known that in America, land of ‘democracy’, the rate of people actually going out and voting is abysmal. I have an idea for one way to possibly improve that.

What it comes down to is that for many people, their vote just doesn’t seem important. Some are just plain cynical and don’t think it makes a difference due to the sheer scale of things, due to the electoral process, or for other reasons. Others might not vote because they’re happy with the status quo. If, for example, you’re a democrat in a heavily blue state, you might expect that your state’s electoral votes will go to the candidate you want regardless.

So we have the issue that voting is a relative hassle for very little perceived benefit.

Here’s my proposed solution: emphasize things that are locally contentious. It’s important that it’s a local issue, as that makes it feel more important to the voter and also makes the voter feel as though their vote carries more weight. Further, it should be contentious. If the voter cares strongly about an issue which is perceived as having a split opinion in the local area, this makes their vote appear to matter even more.

Rather than focusing on the candidates and the seats, and letting all the other questions on the ballots be left to the wayside for the odd commercial or liquor store marquee blaring ‘No on Prop 12!’, make those questions the heart of the ballot. That will get more people out to vote… and while they’re voting on that stuff, casting a vote for a senator or president is no more hassle than marking a box on the sheet of paper they’ve already got in front of them.

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