Increase Voter Turnout: Create a Sense of Belonging

Examples from around the globe suggest that there is an increasing divison between different voter groups. One example is the recent General Election in the UK in 2015,  where the increased disparity in voter turnout across different social classes was highlighted. Research done by Ipsos MORI about how Britain voted in 2015 suggests that the election results do not represent all classes equally.

This disparity is based on the social division of voters. According to the research report, 75% of AB* voters went to the polling station whereas only 56% of DE* voters cast their vote. Members of the same social class tend to behave similarly, which is linked to the topic of a “sense of belonging”. 

*NRS social grades: used in the UK to classify the demography
  AB = upper middle class and middle class
  DE =  working class and non working

Strengthen Collective Spirit and Include your Voters

Increasing your voter turnout doesn’t just mean knowing how to address your individual voters personally and effectively, but also knowing about the structures of the entire electorate. For example, permanent employees have a stronger link to their corporation than freelancers do. Associations and charities have active and passive members who have a different understanding of belonging. This is how you can segment your voters in every voting process. A detailed and timely analysis of your electoral groups can help to detect voter fatigue in different shapes, forms and milieus. 

Why bother voting if you don’t feel a sense of belonging? 

One key to increasing your voter turnout is to create a sense of belonging. But how can you create affiliation and a collective spirit within your organization? You can encourage your electorate to vote but the motivation to cast a vote has to ultimately come from someone’s own initiative. You can actively support this by creating a need to participate. Evoke a sense of belonging within your voters by using targeted communication. 

How to Create a Sense of Belonging within your Voters

  1. Convey the message that “everyone is voting“. People tend to follow the group dynamic and no one wants to be the only one who isn’t participating.
  2. Communicate to your voters early on that the expected voter turnout will be higher than usual. This influences the group dynamic as well.
  3. Once the election period starts, regularly publish the number of voters that have already cast their vote. These kinds of live statistics increase the need to participate.
  4. Explain to your voters that a whole is made up of many parts, and all of these parts, however small they may be, greatly influence the direction taken by the whole. The feeling of being part of something bigger also increases someone’s tendency to participate in elections.

POLYAS-Tip: Voting online allows you to monitor voter turnout in real time and inform your voters at any stage about the current status of the election. This is how you can directly include your electorate online and strengthen the sense of belonging with ease.
Learn more about voter turnout in real time!

Activate all Electoral Groups for a Higher Voter Turnout

In communications with voters before and during the election, every word should be chosen carefully. Check your wording in case you accidentally exclude one electoral group or include another by mistake. If possible, create election information for each electoral group individually and emphasize certain messages. The key to success involves knowing that people want to belong to groups for psychoanalytical reasons. 

Try to address all voters with the same weight and intensity. It can be helpful to create voter profiles for each electoral group in order to gain an insight into their voting behavior. This approach offers new ideas about which election messages and arguments are valuable for each electoral group. This is how you can create election material which strengthens the sense of belonging within your organisation and thereby increases voter turnout.