Experts’ Research Reveals Best Approach to Turning Out Minority and Youth Voters

Experts’ Research Reveals Best Approach to Turning Out Minority and Youth Voters

Dr. Melissa Michelson with Menlo
College President James J. Kelly.

October 26, 2012

In just two weeks, voters across the country head to the polls to decide on everything from the U.S. presidency to local ballot measures. These last weeks are when campaigns truly heat up, and when get-out-the-vote campaigns truly hit their peak.

In their new book, Mobilizing Inclusion: Transforming the Electorate through Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns, Melissa R. Michelson, PhD, Professor of Political Science at Menlo College, in joint effort with Lisa García Bedolla, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Studies at UC Berkeley use results from 268 randomized field experiments and 3,000 hours of field observations, to explain how to most effectively get low propensity voters to the polls.

Whether that means African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, or youth, the key is personal outreach through live telephone calls or door-to-door conversations. While many campaigns and candidates write off these communities as unlikely to participate or not moveable, the book proves conclusively that inviting individuals in those communities to vote, if done through personal outreach, can have a dramatic and long-lasting effect.

“After completing our work for the California Votes Initiative, we felt that there was something larger that we wanted to say about the work and what it taught us about political attitudes and behavior among Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans,” said Dr. Michelson.

“I know that many campaigns and activists are reading this book and putting into practice the tactics we recommend,” said Michelson. “In the end, the idea is to have the electorate of California more closely resemble the population of California, and I'm proud to be helping make that happen.”