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Future Hindsight is a weekly podcastthat takes big ideas in civic life and democracy and turns them into action items for everyday citizens.

Sep 22, 2018

Brian Miller is the Executive Director of Nonprofit VOTE, an organization that partners with other nonprofits to integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities. We discuss the importance of promoting voter registration to achieve full representation in excluded communities, and the benefits of a non-partisan, in person approach to do so.

Nonvoting feedback loop

The main reason people don’t vote is that nobody has reached out to them and asked them to vote. Furthermore, most non-voters are not affiliated with either party. Anyone with a history of voting is more likely to be contacted by campaigns, increasing the odds that this person will vote. If a person does not normally vote, campaigns are unlikely to reach out, which in turn reinforces the non-voting habit.

Asking to register and to vote

Many studies show that face-to-face engagement is one of the most effective ways to get people to show up at the polls. Making eye contact and asking someone to register and to vote because his or her opinion is valuable, increases the likelihood of that person showing up at the polls.

Nonprofit advocacy for voting

Nonprofit service providers, such as health centers and food pantries, are trusted messengers in the communities they serve because they have an established relationship. Communities who participate and vote, help nonprofits achieve their missions, and empower themselves by having their voices heard.

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Brian Miller is the Executive Director of Nonprofit VOTE, the leading source of nonpartisan resources to help nonprofits integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services, and the managing partner of National Voter Registration Day. The organization works with America’s nonprofits to help the people they serve to participate and vote.