A Ground Game For Engaging Nonvoters

A Ground Game For Engaging Nonvoters

By C.T. Chaney  |  Our Voice Contributor


With today’s political climate, it seems now more than ever people are more involved and heavily vetting candidates on all sides. As a candidate, Social Media on all platforms is a perfect field to get your message out – providing you find supporters to help share your platform and views. Not all people use social media, but if they do, election time is draining with so many ads, robocalls and non-stop chatter about who will do what, just to get your vote. By election time, people simply ignore it and many fall into the nonvoter category.

There are millions of nonvoters in every demographic and they all have their reasons. From campaign burn-out to feeling the candidates simply do not represent them, or simply feel nothing will change if they vote. At the individual level, education and income are some of the strongest predictors of whether someone will turn out at the polls, followed by how accessible voting is in their state.

Campaigns run off of voter lists and focus on people with a viable voting record. It is easier to ensure a campaign can lock in a vote with a regular voter than it is to depend on someone who abstains. The reason for this is it increases their responsive door-knock numbers to get the data in. Although this is understandable, a huge proportion of voters are being left out… but if engaged, this group could upset the political field.

Who are these nonvoters?

  •  34% of nonvoters are younger than 30 and 70% are under 50
  •  10% of likely voters are younger than 30 and 39% are under 50

“On issue after issue, American voters are firmly left-of-center, and in some cases ready to embrace our most progressive ideas. They want more gun control. They want increased abortion access. They want criminal-justice reform. Fifty-six percent of all Americans want nationalized single-payer health care, and nearly everyone wants the government to do more to bring down costs. Fifty-nine percent of registered voters support higher taxes on the wealthy. Fifty-four percent of Republicans and 70 percent of all Americans want to “soak the rich.” Even fifty-seven percent of people who identify as conservative Republicans support the main components of a Green New Deal. Seventy-two percent believe climate change is a threat. Everybody hates gerrymandering.”


By these numbers alone, it is easy to understand why nonvoters exist. Few candidates are listening to the biggest demographic that could impact and shape our future. As a result, their willful ignorance persists for many reasons such as big money donors, lobbyists or just part of the cycle to keep the political “icons” in place.

We can upend that and here is how we can do it!

Canvassing is the most important tool to get out the vote. Knocking on constituent doors beats out all other venues a candidate uses to present themselves. Canvassing does not have to be politically left or right. In fact, a campaign can align with people by representing their needs and educating the nonvoters that by staying home, change will not happen, and everyone’s voice matters. This strategy should not only be for Presidential Elections, it should be applied to local and state elections as well. People are more directly affected on their day-to-day level by city and state officials. By engaging nonvoters to vote in congressional and local elections where local laws and ordinances are made, all voters can be shown that this is truly where change can start!
Our right to vote wasn’t won in the ballot box — it was won in the streets. Canvassing yields the power to make it happen.

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