The “I Am a Voter” Campaign and How We’re Helping LWV Indy Get the Word Out
I’ve considered myself a voter since before I could vote. When I was a kid, my parents would take my brother and me to the polls first thing on Election Day morning. Then we’d stop at a pancake breakfast hosted by the Rotary Club. I never doubted I’d be a voter when I was old enough. Any national tradition that came with pancakes seemed like a great idea to me.
But not every American thinks of him or herself as a voter—a fact that’s plain when you look at election turnout. Even during U.S. presidential election years—which historically see higher voter turnout than most—voter participation among eligible voters hasn’t reached 60 percent since the 1960s. And the numbers weren’t much better before that.
Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the League of Women Voters (LWV) has been a nonpartisan political organization. They work at the national, state, and local levels to safeguard democracy and drive civic improvement. This year, the Indianapolis chapter of the organization has rolled out a feature on the League’s Vote411.org site that allows Indianapolis and Marion County voters to see the choices they’ll find on their ballots, hear what candidates have to say about the issues, and find other information such as registration and polling locations.
To prepare, we did some research on different voter engagement strategies and past voter turnout campaigns:
- We discovered that people are more likely to vote when they know their friends and neighbors voted, too.
- We learned that many people admit to voting partly because they want to be able to say they did it, and also, they don’t like to lie (which is pretty sweet, right?)
- And we found that people are more likely to say that it’s important to “be a voter” than they are to say that it’s important “to vote.” In other words, the idea of voting may have more power as an identity than as an isolated act.
With these findings in mind, we helped LWV Indy put together their “I Am a Voter” campaign. We decided we would gather real people from the community who identified as voters. Then, we’d put them together in social videos and campaign materials to inspire other potential voters to take action.
You can see the full-length video here:
We wanted the campaign to be positive, upbeat, and every bit as fun as it was serious—in hopes of standing apart from the onslaught of more partisan political ads that would also be filling people’s feeds this time of year.
LWV Indy found us dozens of great voter volunteers. We coordinated schedules, planned our approach, and filmed and photographed 24 of them over the course of two busy, fun-filled days. Our citizen participants impressed us with their seriousness, good humor, and grace. And their reasons for being voters were truly inspiring.
Yes, our nation seems as partisan today as ever. But the people featured in these videos are confident that their voices matter and that participation by one and all can and will make a difference.
The “I Am a Voter” ads have so far reached thousands of voting-age people in Indianapolis and Marion County. We hope the campaign reaches many thousands more over the next few weeks, and that it helps drive a more determined and better-informed electorate to the polls in November.
As for me, I’ll be voting on November 6. Will you?
Hit me up afterward, and we’ll go get some pancakes.