82% turnout!

Let’s give some context for that number, 82% turnout. In the last three Presidential elections, less than 60% of voters cast a ballot. Even fewer people vote in non-Presidential years, however the 2018 midterms recorded the highest voter turnout of any midterm election since 1966! How many turned out? 47%. That's right. Not even half of registered Americans voted in the most hotly contested midterms in fifty years.

What about in Kansas? As it turns out, we're good voters here. In 2018, with record-high results across the country? Kansans beat the nation's 47%, with 56% coming out to vote!

So what is with this 82% number? It seems so high compared to past results. Is it a lofty goal we aspire to some day? No.

Voter to Voter

82% is the number of Kansans who voted in 2018, who were part of our innovative, non-partisan get out the vote project, Voter to Voter.

What is it? Voter to Voter is based on the idea that people are more likely to commit to voting if they are asked by someone they know. Phone banking and door knocking have met with less and less success over the years, leading us to re-imagine how we get out the vote. This is it. And it works.

In our pilot year in 2018, we connected with 5,500 Kansas voters. Of those 5,500, 82% of them voted in the general election. That's compared to Kansans as a whole, at 56%. But it gets better.

Those people in Voter to Voter identified as "infrequent voters," who may not have voted before, or may only vote in Presidential elections, came out to vote at 75%! Infrequent voters across the whole state voted at only 33%. In Voter to Voter, those infrequent voters more than doubled their turnout!

How is this possible?

It's quite simple, actually. First, we created an online tool to make it easy for volunteers—we call them Voting Ambassadors—to add their friends, family, or co-workers to their personal dashboard. Then we help the Ambassadors encourage those people to vote. We send Ambassadors tips and suggestions throughout the election season, reminding them of important dates for advance ballots or early voting, and asking them to contact their voters. We offer training, how to vote handouts, and encouragement. We've had individuals join up, and teams. Some of our partners have been churches, neighborhood associations, Chambers of Commerce, and community organizations.

Voter to Voter is an innovative and effective way to get out the vote. The tool is open to anyone to use, and we send strictly non-partisan messaging about the importance of voting. All the voting data we use is publicly available from the Secretary of State. In fact, it is the same data candidates and political parties use, except we've made it available to you! And it works.

Ready for the next election

Want to be part of Voter to Voter? 2020 looms ahead—and we plan to be ready for it—but this is 2019. The real test of our project will be how it does in the lowest turnout races of all, odd-year local races. Historical data for these races is only available from county election offices, but here is a sampling from 2017. Johnson County voters came out at 17%. Douglas County posted 23%. Sedgwick County turned out 8% of its voters. Of course, local elections rise and fall on particular races, but any way you look at it, these numbers are terrible.

We aim to shake that up.

Voter to Voter 2019 will launch in the next few weeks.

Are you ready to get involved? Stay tuned.

Do more than vote.

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