Everything you do to motivate voters to cast their ballots is part of that big arena known as “advertising”. To be precise, you, as the organiser of an election, are also an advertiser during this time.
Advertising is an immensely diverse and heavily researched discipline. Through massive studies are conducted to work out which advertisement works best when, and why. Coupled with this is another major field of research: psychology.
If you are already an advertiser, you can use knowledge from the study of the effectiveness of advertising for your election – e.g. that memories or repetitions can contribute to motivation.
“Write briefly, and they will read it. Write clearly, and they will understand it. Write vividly, and they will remember it.”
– Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian-American journalist, founder of the Pulitzer Prize –
The power of review
Let us look back on learning vocabulary for school: The words were repeated again and again so that students could better remember them. And this is only logical, because reviews support the learning process.
Advertising uses exactly this process as well. Surely you have already noticed that two spots for the same product often air within one commercial break on television. One spot, usually the first and the longest, is called the “main spot” and its briefer variant is the “reminder”. The reminder is there so that the product from the main spot stays with the viewer’s memory.
Studies have revealed that the viewers of the spots have a better memory of the product advertised after such a double-advertisement. Reminders are not only present in television, but also in different versions throughout all media.
During your election, too, a reminder – a reminder of the election – can positively affect the extent of voter participation.
Utilise election reminders, emphasise urgency
The likelihood that more voters will cast their ballots increases if they are reminded of the election. People are generally happy to be reminded – this may also explain why bracelets that serve to remind the wearer to move around enough, or to drink fluids, are growing in popularity. People relieve themselves of the responsibility to have to be constantly thinking about everything.
So sent an election reminder promptly before the end of the voting period. In this case, “reminder” does not mean that the authorised voters have actually forgotten about the opportunity to vote and thus have to be reminded. But a fresh reminder reintroduces the opportunity to vote and can increase voter participation – especially as the sense of belonging can be effective with the right phrasing.
Add the number of days left in which one can vote to your election reminder, e.g. as a countdown. People react strongly to urgency. If you indicate that time is running out, the authorised voters tend to take action.
The increasing impact of an election reminder can thus be achieved via the utilisation and combination of the following factors:
- the renewed reminder of the opportunity to vote,
- the right phrasing to foster a sense of belonging,
- and a note about the end of the election period.
Remind voters with help from online voting systems
As mentioned in previous tips to increase voter participation, online voting systems can enhance any election with their modern functions. There are also possibilities for election reminders that can be employed especially easily and inexpensively. Instead of costly postage or the time-consuming gathering of distributors, e-mails can be sent to every authorised voter at the push of a button.