Research offers several proved strategies for boosting turnout on Election Day
TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE Although tackling political barriers to voting remains critical, the great strength of these behavioral interventions lies in their ability to overwhelm obstacles by catalyzing citizen motivation. And for people who do not vote because they believe one person’s ballot cannot change election outcomes, behavioral science also offers a reason why voting is important for individuals. Research has found that in addition to signaling who we are to others, our actions tell us something about ourselves—shaping our own preferences and beliefs. From this perspective, people who do not vote are not merely abstaining from the democratic process in one instance. They are also “telling” themselves: “I don’t care about politics.” Moving forward, they may also become less interested in civic rights, local governance, foreign affairs, and so on. And for those who do vote, participation is not just an expression of interest in current politics but also a seed that could grow into an active political life.