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10 Strategies to Boost Voter Turnout and Engagement in Local Elections

In the wake of recent challenges and shifts in voting preferences, local governments and states are constantly seeking ways to encourage more citizens to get involved with municipal elections. In this blog, we’ll explore 10 effective strategies to increase engagement and participation in local elections in the Digital Age.

1. Community Surveys

Running community surveys is an excellent way to gauge the comfort levels of residents when it comes to in-person and mail-in voting. These surveys should inquire about citizens’ willingness to return to polling places and their concerns regarding safety. Based on the results, local authorities can tailor their efforts to address specific concerns, whether through enhanced safety measures or public awareness campaigns.

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2. Reminder Emails

Sending out reminder emails to registered voters ahead of the election can serve as a gentle nudge to encourage in-person voting. These emails should include essential information such as the date, polling place locations, and hours of operation. To make these reminders more effective, consider personalizing them by including the recipient’s voting location—targeted and automated using geolocation services—and emphasizing the importance of civic participation.

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3. “I Voted” Incentives

A tried-and-true method to entice voters to the polls is by offering incentives. While these incentives should be carefully crafted to maintain the integrity of the voting process, simple tokens like “I Voted” stickers or commemorative pens can make a difference. Consider digital versions for mail-in voters. Citizens often enjoy the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with displaying their civic participation.

U.S. Election Assistance Commission Blog: Best practices for “I Voted” sticker contests

4. Enhanced Accessibility

To attract more in-person voters, make polling places more accessible and inviting. This can include improvements such as better signage, ample parking, and comfortable waiting areas. Ensuring that polling places are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is crucial to accommodating all voters.

ADA.gov: Accessibility Checklist for Polling Places

5. Civic Education Campaigns

Civic education campaigns promote the importance of voting, whether in-person or by mail. Create informative materials that highlight the significance of local elections and their impact on the community and be sure to include a link to a webpage with election details. Utilize websites, newsletters, email notifications, social media, cable channels, and local news outlets to disseminate this information. Community events, recreation programs, and government meetings are also great opportunities to reach your community members.

Webinar: Understanding and Engaging Your Voters

6. Early Voting Opportunities

Offering early voting options can alleviate concerns about long lines on Election Day. Early voting can be done in-person or by mail and provides flexibility for those with busy schedules. Local governments should communicate these opportunities widely to maximize participation.

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7. Mobile Polling Stations

Consider deploying mobile polling stations to different community events and locations. This can include setting up polling booths at farmers’ markets, festivals, or community centers, making it easier for people to cast their votes. Be sure to engage your community to discover the best locations.

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8. Transparent Communication

Build trust by maintaining transparent communication with the public. Keep citizens informed about safety measures in place at polling locations, such as sanitation protocols and social distancing guidelines. For mail-in voting, use ballot tracking and confirmation emails to ensure citizens have confidence their vote will be counted. Address any concerns promptly and openly.

Success Story: How King County, WA keeps voters aware of mail-in ballots and encourages voter participation

9. Celebrate Civic Pride

Lastly, celebrate civic pride and participation in your community. Highlight the stories of dedicated citizens and the positive impact their choices have on the community. Showcase their experiences through local media and social channels.

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10. Continue to Engage Post-Election

Elections are a great time to encourage civic participation but be sure to continue that engagement after the polls close. Use the days and weeks just after the election to reach out to voters about how they can participate in local government and stay up to date on the latest community initiatives. Continuing to engage voters post-election will ensure they stay connected through to the next election.

Granicus Blog: EngagementHQ | Online community engagement tools

In conclusion, increasing voter participation and engagement in municipal elections involves a multifaceted approach that combines community engagement, clear communication, and thoughtful incentives. By implementing these strategies, local governments and states can create an environment where citizens feel comfortable and eager to participate in their local democracy.