School has started, and many of your potential Millennial voters have just left town. What can you do to make sure that they vote in November?
CONNECT First you have to establish contact. Some will have given their cell phones to the Registrar, so these you can call. All will have a home mailing address, but sending a postcard is expensive and is more likely to hit the trash than reach the ultimate target.
You probably don’t have their emails, and anyway Millennials think email is old school. But they do use Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), so we can reach them inexpensively through the targeting tools on that platform.
MOTIVATE This is really the hard part. It’s unlikely that your candidate is young and hip, so posting their headshot with an absentee voting exhortation isn’t going to make much headway. Much better is recruiting someone in the target demographic, especially someone with a bit of local name recognition, to create a short video. Make it fun, upbeat, and short. You’ve only got three seconds to hook them, and ten seconds to make the pitch.
EMPOWER This is the easiest. Provide the URL for Absentee ballot requests. The form can be downloaded now, filled out, and mailed or faxed to your Town Clerk.* Ballots will be sent out 31 days before the election, and the Town Clerk will keep a list that you can check and use to follow up.
Note: the Application for Absentee Ballot asks for phone and email, so if you didn’t have them before you do now.
Voting is a habit. Many/most of these young people will also be absent next year, when turnout will be much lower and their vote will have more impact. So it’s critical to get them used to participating now so they know the drill.
This is a great project for an intern, or for one of your Young Dems. It combines creativity with old fashioned attention to detail, and at the end of the (election) day it’s easy to quantify the impact.
* If faxed, the voter will need to include the form with an original signature when returning the completed ballot.