Elections come in different sizes, from big (ex. Federal or Provincial elections), to slightly smaller, but important elections (corporate, union, association, school board, and strata). Regardless of the size of the election, having a say in the outcome by way of voting is an important right. As citizens, we should exercise our rights and responsibilities to vote in any way possible.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees voting as a priority. People have busy lives, and sometimes they let elections pass them by without casting a vote. While this is understandable, as work, friends, self-care, and family are also high priorities we can all become better citizens and leaders if we encourage eligible voters to vote. So, here are a list of reasons that you can share with your family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in order to encourage them to vote (and for you to vote as well!).
Tell them about the issues and they will understand what exactly the election will affect. Educating people on the issues helps them understand the effects that elections have in shaping the things around them. It also helps them become personally invested, and be able to take a stance on issues they might not have known existed. Some people don’t want to invest any time into researching election issues, so informing them in conversations and finding simple ways to engage them can encourage them to vote.
Have Them Take a Pledge
Studies* show that having someone sign a pledge to vote actually does increase the likelihood that they will, in fact, vote. Even if the person previously had no concrete plans to vote, having them sign a petition declaring their intention to vote, or having them post a social media hashtag that exclaims their intention to vote helps solidify their resolve to vote. So pass around a petition and encourage your friends to say they’ll vote!
Remind Them of Outcomes
People are more personally invested in something when it directly affects them; and people take notice whether the outcomes will create a positive or negative change in their lives. To demonstrate the changes produced once an election is over, and to explain how it could come to specifically affect their daily routines, benefits, and the possible consequences to them specifically,can spark their interest in participating in the election(s).For example,municipal elections affect libraries, etc., so if you visit the library regularly, and one of the people running wants to cut funding to the library , it will severely affect your daily life by closing local libraries.
Some things are simply more enjoyable when you do them as a group. Voting is one of those things. It is easy to cancel half-made plans to vote when someone else isn’t there holding you accountable to keep your plans. Similarly, people go to the gym in pairs, so that they actually follow through and go. Making plans to vote with your friends and colleagues can create a positive kind of peer pressure for people to follow through with their plans to vote. Have a digital voting party to celebrate achieving your common, democratic goal to vote. Parties could be held remotely or in person.
Remove any barriers to voting
Barriers include things like transit, time, and energy voters have to expend in order to vote. Offer to carpool, or watch their kids (if they have kids), or something similar. It also really helps when elections are very easily accessible to everyone. Voting online, or by mail, means not travelling to a far away polling station, and being able to vote at your leisure, within a less strict window of time. If voting online is an option, it is best to take it!
* “ ‘I Pledge to Vote’ Gets People to the Polls.” Pacific Standard, Magazine, 17 Aug. 2018, https://psmag.com/news/i-pledge-to-vote-gets-people-to-the-polls