Spreading Public Awareness
It is important for voter turnout that local and state voting policies and procedures are public knowledge. Often, voters do not know where, when and how to vote. Public awareness campaigns can encourage voter participation and make important information ubiquitous, thereby reducing barriers at the ballot box. Below are examples of how to spread awareness about voting policies and procedures in your community.
Phone Trees and Banks
A phone tree is a simple and efficient way to get out the vote, as it requires a relatively small time investment per person. A phone tree can be thought of as a phone pyramid. One person calls two (or more) people; then each of those people call two (or more) people. An in-depth guide can be found here. Phone banks are another way to get out the vote. A phone bank is created when a group of volunteers come together to call as many people as possible to widely and quickly communicate a message. Phone banks are a simple, inexpensive way to connect, inform and persuade. However, they do require more of a time investment per volunteer. Here’s a video guide.
Signs and Banners
Bold signage showing voters the location of polling places is valuable for a number of reasons. Not only are they helpful for voters who are looking for polling stations, they remind voters of Election Days and are a subtle push for potential voters to go to the polls. Get creative! Signs can include a variety of information – polling locations, times, events – and can be any shape, size or color.
Public Service Announcements
Public service announcements (PSAs) are a great way to spread information and encourage voters to head to the polls. They can be informational, funny, persuasive, or all of these at once. PSAs can disseminate information about polling places and registration dates or simply encourage people to vote. PBS has written a guide to creating PSAs for high school students here. There are many ways to distribute PSAs. The USPS has a guide for direct mail campaigns here. If your organization is interested in a radio or TV ad, the guides here and here, respectively, are useful. YouTube is another great, free platform.
Voting Series on Local Programming
Local access programming is cost effective and accessible to nearly everyone in a community, which is why it’s an ideal medium to promote voting. One way to raise aware about an upcoming election is for communities to run voting series on local channels. Such programming can consist of voting PSAs, histories, biographies of important individuals in the voting world, and more. Well-executed programming can generate interest in voting and raise turnout in your community. Your local government may already be investing in local programs -- ask your officials about including voting information.
Voters in the United States are linguistically diverse. For many voters, English is not their first language. Dual or multi-language voting materials, such as signs, registration forms and ballots, help alleviate the difficulties of voting for voters who speak English as a second language. While multi-language ballots are federally mandated for some districts, they can also be established through city ordinances or state laws. Other organizations, such as VotoLatino, provide dual-language voter registration material as well.