File this under "Who Knew?" or "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"
What We Do: Register and Turn Out Voters
To increase RAE participation in 2011 and 2012 the VPC is conducting research-driven year-round civic engagement, information-raising and voter registration, Vote by Mail (VBM), turnout and other mobilization programs in states were large populations of the RAE are unregistered or under-perform on Election Day.
The plan is to mobilize the largest number of voters in states high in RAE and unregistered RAE members by doing what the VPC does best: conducting pilot programs and control group studies of its programs to learn how to do it smarter, better, faster and cheaper both in-cycle and cycle to cycle; learning from and building on the advances made by the state tables, the Analyst Institute, VPC programs and others while ensuring all new knowledge is shared quickly and broadly; and, mining data and survey research the VPC conducts to develop cutting edge models to bring to the community to ensure rapid advances in effectiveness and cost-efficiency.
After the VPC conducts this research, we roll out the learnings to civic engagement groups.
RAE stands for the RISING AMERICAN ELECTORATE
According to the latest Census data, the RAE is overwhelmingly responsible for the recent growth in the U.S. population:
- The RAE accounted for 81 percent of the growth between 2000 and 2010 and a jaw dropping 95 percent between 2008 and 2010.
- Unmarried women and Latinos drove the explosive growth of the RAE in the last decade, both growing by 8 million between 2000 and 2010.
- These two factors—the stunning growth in the RAE as a whole and the particular growth of unmarried women and Latinos —are critically important to note because:
- Marital status is a major determinant of participation; unmarried women register and turnout to vote at lower rates than married women.
- While the groups in the RAE are the most under-represented groups in the electorate, they make up the new majority in this country whose views are not being represented by their elected leaders.
In 2010, more than 71 million unmarried women, people of color and people under thirty—the groups that make up the Rising American Electorate and the majority of voting eligible members in America’s democracy—did not vote.
Nearly two thirds of them, 46 million, were not registered to vote; 25 million were registered but did not vote. In 2008, the last presidential election year, more than 46 million Rising American Electorate members failed to vote. Of those non-voters, 37 million were not registered compared to 9 million who were.
In case you haven't figured this out yet, or even if you did, you should see the new profile of this group from our friends at Discover The Networks.
... VPC uses controlled clinical trials to determine which tactics are most effective. Further, the Center conducts research on “the public policy needs” (regarding such issues as healthcare, childcare, and economic security) of the RAE population, with the intent of using this information to persuade RAE voters to support the candidates (i.e., Democrats) who can most effectively address those concerns.
VPC carries out this research in partnership with think tanks such as the Center for American Progress and the National Women’s Law Center; other civic-engagement and voter-education organizations including the League of Conversation Voters Education Fund; public-opinion experts such as Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research (GQRR) and Lake Research Partners (LRP); and academics.
VPC opposes voter-identification requirements (e.g., photo ID at the polls) on grounds that they make voting “more complicated and difficult, especially for the RAE, who are not traditionally engaged in the public or political debate.” To buttress its claim that such requirements have a disproportionate effect on single women, nonwhite minorities, and young people, VPC cites research conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice.
VPC's Vote-By-Mail campaign promotes the increased use of absentee voting by means of mailed ballots. Critics such as the Heritage Foundation, however, point out that such arrangements are highly susceptible to fraud.
During each election cycle, VPC mails millions of voter-registration applications and vote-by-mail applications to unregistered single women, blacks and Hispanics, and young adults in selected states. In preparation for the November 2012 elections, the Center specifically set a goal of making 30 million contacts (via mailings and other approaches) with RAE citizens and generating 1 million returned voter-registration applications (slightly more than VPC’s 2008 total) as well as 250,000 applications for vote-by-mail ballots.
One of VPC's partcularly effective get-out-the-vote initiatives is its Promise Program, which starts with a live phone call to a targeted RAE voter, asking if he (or she) intends to vote in the coming election. Once the person commits to voting, he is told to expect, as the election draws near, a letter in the mail not only reminding him of his commitment, but also informing him that VPC will later check to see whether or not he actually did cast his ballot (which is a matter of public record). Moreover, the voter receives an automated reminder phone call at some point shortly before election day. This program was first used in the Kentucky governor’s election of 2007, with impressive results.
A number of national partners collaborate with VPC in its effort to increase voter-participation among the RAE. These partners include the League of Conversation Voters Education Fund, Project Vote, the US Action Education Fund, and the NAACP.