Immediate-Release

News-Release

 

Media Contact:
Name: Dan Isaacson
Title: Publisher, Editor, Investigator
Phone: 713.876.7011
Email address: editor@theenlightenedvoter.com


New Study Duplicates Results of 2014 Study;
Demonstrates Voter Education
Significantly Increases Voter Turnout


A Study of the Six Lowest Performing Precincts in Palm Beach County Shows a Powerful Technique, So Far Unused Anywhere in the Country, Which Significantly Raises Voter Turnout Without Knocking on Doors.

chart voter turnout

BOCA RATON, FLORIDA, APRIL 23, 2017 – Traditionally, getting voters to the polls uses establishment methods which deny science. Reputable scientific studies report the usual methods show no detectable effect: television, radio, direct mail, phone, robocalls, email, leafleting.

The only technique which they report to show a significant voter turnout effect is knocking on doors – however, it is not possible to staff most precincts – and large knock numbers often conceal lackluster ground games. Also, personal contact of door-knocking spends about 5 to 10 minutes per election cycle – mostly in non-voter-education conversation.

Contact with The Enlightened Voter publication can amount to many thousands of minutes of civic education between elections.

The present study is called The Enlightened Voter Study. The Enlightened Voter is a trusted civic education bi-monthly publication. It covers voter education topics, such as:

  • Official Results of the November Elections
  • What Does Your City Council Do?
  • When Are Mail Ballots Counted?
  • How to Vote Your Ballot
  • What Difference Does it Make Who Wins a Municipal Council Seat?
  • March 14th Municipal Candidates: Do You Know Their Party Registration?
  • Vote By Mail is Important
  • Local Elections Are Like Professional Baseball
  • Why Should I Vote in the Municipal Elections?
  • Official Results of the Municipal Elections
  • Why Should I Vote in a Primary?
  • What is a Committed Voter?
  • What Do Advisory Boards and Committees Do?
  • When You Don’t Vote…
  • The President Doesn’t Collect Your Garbage
  • Municipal Elections March 14. Do You Need to Register? Will There Be an Election in Your Precinct?
  • Gun Violence in America
  • Non-Voters Elected Donald Trump

In this study, voter email addresses for the six lowest performing Palm Beach County precincts were gathered from state and county databases. A volunteer precinct team captain, who did not reside in the target precinct, contacted those addresses by an email message. The message reported the low turnout in each precinct and volunteered to help improve the poor performance. The volunteer presented a free, 12-month subscription to The Enlightened Voter. The team captain also reported to the voter how the voter’s precinct turned out in recent elections and the improvement in precinct turnout from election to election.

The following chart shows the study results:

 

Political Education Matters – If [The Enlightened Voter Study] findings can be generalized from one locale to a nation, the main point would be that an effective, mass campaign of political education matters.

Providing information in communities, states and the nation matter.

Communicating information increases a sense of political possibility, provides guidance as to the direction the country is headed, and what can be done to bring about change.

Harry Targ

 

 

Prof. Harry Targ, PhD
Department of Political Science
Purdue University

 

| 713.876.7011 | editor@theenlightenedvoter.com | www.TheEnlightenedVoter.com

 

The Enlightened Voter

Dan Isaacson, cardDan Isaacson PhD, Publisher & Editor
Voter Education, Inc.
The Enlightened Voter:
A Civic Education Publication Keeping You
Up-To-Date On Voter Issues.
6055 Verde Trail S., #H219
Boca Raton, FL 33433
713-876-7011
editor@theenlightenedvoter.com
www.TheEnlightenedVoter.com


 

Experiments Show This Is The Best Way To Win Campaigns.
But Is Anyone Actually Doing It?

by David Broockman and Joshua Kalla

Baloney — “There’s a refrain we hear about political campaigns every election cycle:
“This year, campaigns waged an unprecedented ground game, having a face-to-face conversation with almost every single voter.”
Baloney.
As academics who study campaigns, we hear this claim all the time. But we also know it’s important to investigate whether data backs it up.

We did.
And it doesn’t.

The Paradox — In fact, there’s a paradox at the heart of American campaign craft. Mountains of rigorous research show that campaigns should be having personal conversations with voters at their doors. But, campaigns spend almost all their money on TV ads — and, every year, most voters say they’ve never had a conversation about the election at their door. What gives?
Why Campaigns’ “Ground Game” Matters — By far the most effective way to turn out voters is with high-quality, face-to-face conversations that urge them to vote. How do we know? Nearly two decades of rigorous randomized experiments have proven it.
Based on Field Experiments — Alan Gerber and Don Green ran the first of these “field experiments” in 1998. The professors randomly assigned voters to receive different inducements to vote: some received postcards, some received phone calls, some received a visit from a canvasser, and some received nothing.

The experiment found that voters called on the phone or sent postcards were not noticeably more likely to vote than those sent nothing. But canvassing was different. Just one in-person conversation had a profound effect on a voter’s likelihood to go to the polls, boosting turnout by a whopping 20 percent (or around 9 percentage points).”
###

Observations
by Dan Isaacson, PhD

Observation 1
There are two types of in-person canvassing:

  1. Face-to-Face human contact.
  2. “Face-to-Face” email publication contact.

Face-to-Face human contact urging people to vote seldom occurs more than three times per year.

Observation 2

  1. Managing a canvass operation is difficult.
  2. It is hard to raise a field army.
  3. Voters in gated communities cannot be reached with face to face canvassing.
  4. In reality, large “knock numbers” often conceal lackluster ground games.

 


The Democratic Establishment:
Science Deniers

Why Democrats Lost and What Can We Change

Background

In Florida in 2000, Bush vs. Gore presidential election, the election was decided by 537 votes. That’s about 1/10 vote per precinct.
In Florida in 2010, Scott vs. Sink governor’s election, the election was decided by about 9 votes per precinct.
In Florida in 2014, Crist lost the governorship by 11 votes per precinct.
In Florida in 2014, Jolly vs. Sink, Congressional special election, the election was decided by about 15 votes per precinct.
In Florida in 2016, Trump vs. Clinton presidential election, the election was decided by about 20 votes per precinct.
84% of Floridians voted. That means 1,828,988 registered voters didn’t vote.
Hillary lost by 119,770 votes.

The non-voters elected Donald Trump.

Science Tells Us

Scientific studies summarized and reported by Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber, in their book, Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout, have described the following:

Direct Mail — No detectable effect (poor investment).
Radio — Effect not significantly greater than zero (poor investment).
Phone — One vote per 38 contacts (expensive)
Robocalls — One vote per 900 individuals called, but statistical effect not significantly greater than zero (poor investment).
Door-Knocking — One vote per 14 contacts (but not possible to staff most precincts).
Television — Raises zip-code-wide turnout by 0.5 percentage point. But effect not significantly greater than zero (poor investment).
Email — No detectable effect (poor investment).
Leafleting — One vote per 189 voters reached by leaflets. But effect not significantly greater than zero (expensive)

Local Statistics Tell Us

Palm Beach County has 869 precincts. The Palm Beach County Democratic Party is able to find staff for about 350 of them. That means that about 519 of those precincts are not staffed by precinct workers.

Local precinct workers report (as is borne out by national statistics) that for every 100 names on their walk or phone lists, on average, they only are able to successfully contact about 18 of them. That means they are not reaching 82 of them.

The Palm Beach County Democratic Party has done an exemplary job of turning out the vote (for their 350 staffed precincts), but picture what might be done if the same successful effort is made with the missing 519 precincts which are not staffed by precinct workers! We’re neglecting the forest for a few trees.

The Other 66 Counties — Picture what might be done if the same successful effort is made in the other 66 Florida counties!

The United States — Picture what might be done if the same successful effort is made in all 50 states!

What A Local Scientific Study Has Shown

In 2014, a study was done in Precinct 4178 attempting to determine the result of contacting voters 18 times a year with a voter education publication.

The Voter Turnout Motivation Study

The Frustrations Of Getting Out The Vote

Getting Started — In 2007, Dr. Dan Isaacson volunteered to become a precinct captain in Palm Beach County’s Precinct 4178. He learned about knocking on doors. He learned about making phone calls. He learned how to use the database of registered voters — called the VAN (Voter Activation Network). Using the database for his precinct Dr. Isaacson learned whose phone number was available to him. He also learned whose email address was available to him. And he learned how to make lists of all of this information.

precinct 4178 chartFinding Volunteers — Dr. Isaacson assembled a team of volunteers. As you may know, volunteers are not easy to find. After much effort, he was able to find 15 volunteers to cover the 714 Democrats in his precinct. The Democratic Party instructed volunteers not to bother to try to reach out to the 533 registered as NPA (no major party affiliation).

Volunteer Teams — Dr. Isaacson divided his volunteers into teams covering about 30-70 voters each. With a list he gave them, their job was to contact each voter before each election by phone and/or by knocking on doors to give the voters information about the coming election and to urge them to vote. (When a team member reached a voter, it was unusual to have ten minutes with them.)

Contact Rate: 25% — Dr. Isaacson’s volunteers found they had a successful campaign if they were able to speak to 18% of their lists. That means 82% of their phone calls either did not answer or went to voice mail. That means that 82% of their door knocking found no one home.

The Norm — In talking with many precinct leader colleagues, 18% appears to represent the norm! In Dr. Isaacson’s precinct, out of 714 Democrats his volunteers were unable to give their message to 588 of them — not an efficient use of their time and energy.

The Frustrations Of Trying To Reach Out To All The Voters In A County

Precincts Covered — Then Dr. Isaacson discovered how few of Palm Beach County’s 859 precincts had volunteer precinct leaders. He was appalled. Of Palm Beach County’s 859 precincts, the Democratic Party had only 350 active volunteer precinct leaders.

Volunteers Needed For 350 Precincts — If each of the 350 precincts needed 15 volunteers (as Isaacson’s did) to do the job, that means over 5,000 volunteers had to be found! And not one of the uncovered 519 still had a single volunteer!

No Representation — That meant that 519 precincts got no personal representation at all — no phone calling or door knocking — from a local volunteer. True, calls were made from a central boiler room, but this type of contact was seldom effective. Often it turned off the recipient more than turned them on. That’s like Walmart having just a few stores
and actively selling local residents their wares. Walmart did not become the powerhouse it is by keeping 350 stores with few customers. They did a lot better by having 859 stores — packed with customers.

Why Ignore Our Customers? — So, Dr. Isaacson said to himself, why are we ignoring 75% of our customers? Why do we think we’re doing a great job if our “store” in Precinct 4178 is attracting only 25% of its possible customers. Dr. Isaacson decided to see if there were a better way.

 

voter contact

A New Approach

Rather than touching 178 voters in his precinct, Dr. Isaacson decided to create a newsletter which would contact all 714 Democrats. Not only that, he decided to reach out to the 533 NPAs as well. That meant that instead of touching 178 potential voters he would be touching 1247!

18 Times Per Year — And instead of touching 178 potential voters for perhaps ten minutes, three times a year between Municipal, Primary, and State/National elections, he would touch 1247 potential voters 18 times per year.

 

voter contact time

18 Monthly Newsletters — Dr. Isaacson created a monthly 8-page newsletter (12 issues) plus an extra two issues in the month before each election, for a total of 18. Conservatively expecting the average reader to spend at least 10 minutes looking at each issue, instead of a voter contact of about 2670 minutes the traditional way, he would be contacting potential voters 249,400 minutes!

 

 

 

To test his idea, in 2014 Dr. Isaacson arranged to send 18 issues to every one of the Democratic and NPA prospective voters in his precinct by email or by mail. The results of the experiment were beyond Isaacson’s expectations. The turnout in precinct 4178 was between 19% and 71% greater than the County precinct averages.
Here is the graphic comparison for the August Primary election:

August 2014 Primary Elections

Common Wisdom — Not —
Now common wisdom says that no one reads any more. No one will read an 8-page newsletter, 18 times, they say. How do they explain the 71% improved voting turnout of the “non-readers” of the newsletter they received — and supposedly didn’t read — compared to the non-readers of the newsletter who actually didn’t receive it?
Additionally, a comparison between the November general elections of 2010 (when The Enlightened Voter did not exist) and 2014 (both gubernatorial elections), showed a dramatic increase in turnout of Democrats who received The Enlightened Voter in 2014.

Turnout Improvement

 

Here is a graphic comparison for all the elections in 2014 (*VBM – Vote By Mail):

Turnout Comparisons

Of special note is the turnout for the August 2014 15th Circuit Judge VBM. How can that 1233% advantage be explained?

It’s well known that down-ballot choices are often left blank. Voters will select from the top few choices which they know something about. They skip the rest because they don’t feel knowledgable enough to make a selection.
The readers of The Enlightened Voter had been informed about who was running in advance — and about their backgrounds. Voters were told who was selected to be a judge could affect them personally. The 1233% definitely had something to do with voter education!


Conclusion:

As long as the scientific results described in this article continue to be ignored, Democrats will continue to lose elections. Non-voters will continue to elect Republicans.
Voter education and civic education demonstrate the power to motivate registered citizens to vote. Efforts must be made nationwide to improve the delivery of voter education!

###


EDUCATION FOR ACTION:
AN EXPERIMENT ABOUT INCREASING
VOTER PARTICIPATION

by Prof. Harry Targ, PhD
Department of Political Science
Purdue University

Recently I visited with a progressive friend in Wisconsin. I asked him if Russ Feingold has a chance of being reelected to the Senate in the 2016 election. He said that most Wisconsin voters do not know that Feingold is not one of their senators. This lack of awareness of who is or is not one of the state’s senators may have several explanations.

1. The Ignorant Voter Model — A long-held view of academic “experts” is that the information, awareness, and interest of most voters in politics are limited. This might be called the “ignorant voter model.” There may be some truth to this claim but it is a mistake to blame the voter without considering the context in which politics works.

2. The Cynical Voter Model — Another explanation for the limited knowledge and participation of citizens in politics emphasizes the fact that for many citizens the electoral arena is seen as of limited consequence to people’s lives. Politicians run public relations campaigns. They lie. They make all sorts of promises. Both parties really stand for the same things. And, in the end, this view suggests, nothing ever changes. This interpretation represents the “cynical voter model.”

3. The Selective Voter Model — A third model explains significant differences in voter participation to the differences in periodic elections. More voters turnout for presidential elections than off-year elections. Voters are least likely to go to the polls for primary elections, municipal and county elections, or elections for school boards. This explanation constitutes a “selective voting model.”

4. The Media Manipulation Model — A fourth perspective emphasizes the lack of information, misinformation, and lies communicated by a media that is top-down, controlled by a handful of global corporations, and motivated by commercial success not providing useful information. This explanation, “the media manipulation model” does a better job capturing some of the context in which most people engage in or ignore politics but also is limited.

Political Behavior — Each of these perspectives has something to do with political behavior. Yes, some citizens are ill-informed. Others are informed but cynical. Often voters have interests in some elections but not others. Still more true is the argument that Americans are barraged with 24/7 newscasts that ignore important stories, lie about them, or communicate information about violence, sexuality, and celebrities instead of information, primarily to get viewers or readers to buy products not inform.

5. Education For Action Model — A fifth model, “the education for action model,” takes account of the four explanations above but has embedded within it the proposition that political actors can have some role to play in informing the public, convincing them that their cynicism is dangerous to their futures, and providing an understanding of what can be done politically to better serve their interests.

An Example of Education For Action — One example of the education for action model was developed by Dan Isaacson, publisher and editor of The Democratic Voter and The Enlightened Voter, monthly newsletters distributed to prospective voters in Precinct 4178, Palm Beach County, Florida
(www. TheEnlightenedVoter.com).

Voter Education Project — Isaacson launched a voter education/participation project in 2014 to see if providing regular information about the electoral process, important issues, and candidate positions could increase voter participation in the precinct in which he worked as a Democratic Party organizer.

The Director of Project 4178 knew that face-to-face conversations with prospective voters were an ideal way to communicate information and to try to convince people to vote. But, in an average precinct (Isaacson’s consisted of 714 registered Democrats, 533 independents, and 636 Republicans), the possibilities of having meaningful dialogue about the political process seemed low. And television ads, robo calls, flyers, and other fleeting visual or oral forms of communication were usually ignored.

Monthly Newsletter — In 2014, voters registered as Democrats or Independents, in Precinct 4178 received a monthly newsletter. Two additional newsletters were sent just before each of three elections. Registered Democrats received The Democratic Voter and Independents received The Enlightened Voter. These monthly newsletters presented in clear, concise copy, information about the election, candidates, and why voting was important. When email addresses were available the newsletters were sent electronically; when not they were sent by mail.

Newsletter Format — The newsletters were guided by the need for:

  • large print,
  • frequent paragraphs,
  • short sentences,
  • easy reading level,
  • eye-catching, bold typeface lead-in phrases to most paragraphs.

The June, 2015 issue of The Enlightened Voter included articles from various
sources:

  • on the low production of the Florida legislature,
  • on what would happen if women controlled the global economy,
  • on for profit college math,
  • on a museum devoted to the reexamination of slavery,
  • on the performance of Governor Scott,
  • and on data on voter participation of readers of the newsletter.

It had an attractive eight-page layout and six talking points from the articles that appeared in the issue.

Voter Turnout Comparison — Comparing voter average turnouts in Palm Beach County precincts with those in Precinct 4178, for a number of elections: municipal, judicial, and statewide, the difference in participation rates were stark. For example, turnout for municipal elections in March, 2014 was a third higher in Precinct 4178. Precinct 4178 turnout for an August, 2014 primary election was 71 percent higher than the average of other precincts. And for the gubernatorial race in November, 2014, Precinct 4178 had a 19 per cent higher turnout rate than the average of the rest of Palm Beach County.

Results of Study — Along with building a data-base of voters in the Precinct, reaching out to independent voters, publishing a useful newsletter, Isaacson suggested that the experiment “demonstrated that the Voter Publications’ education tools increases unengaged-voter turnout by between 20% and 70% over the usual methods currently used (tv, radio, phone calls and door knocking ‘nagging’).”

The Isaacson experiment raises several ideas of relevance to progressives:

Realistic Assumption — First, Project 4178 begins with a realistic assumption about the prospects of communicating with masses of voters in an effective way. Given available resources, intensive interactions with large numbers of voters and other potential activists is limited. Matching multimillion dollar campaigns based on advertising, robo calls, and influencing media content is virtually impossible. In fact, the millions spent on elections and issue campaigns do not appear to affect active voter participation, but rather induce non-participation which is probably what most political
organizations prefer anyway.

Mobilizes Masses of People — Second, given limited resources and the forces arrayed against encouraging intelligent voting and other participation, only systematic, clear dissemination of information about the political process can yield a more informed citizenry and engaged politically active public. This may be relevant to those who are primarily engaged in revitalizing the electoral process but might also be relevant for those who wish to mobilize masses of people to fight racism, sexism, the military-industrial complex, and the effort to destroy the labor movement.


 

Political Education Matters —

Prof. Harry Targ

If the Project 4178 findings can be generalized from one locale to a nation, the main point would be that an effective, mass campaign of political education matters.

Providing information in communities, states, and the nation matter.
Communicating information increases a sense of political possibility, provides guidance as to the direction the country is headed, and what can be done to bring about change.

by Prof. Harry Targ, PhD
Department of Political Science
Purdue University


The Enlightened Voter

Improving Voter Turnout Wins Elections – 2014 Primary

Nagging campaign methods and inability to recruit enough volunteers have led to poor voter turnout—costing Democrats many too many elections in the last four years.
The Enlightened Voter monthly newsletter has shown itself to be an inexpensive and powerful tool, increasing Democratic voter turnout often by up to 100%.
The Enlightened Voter’s mission is to introduce this tool nationwide.

The Enlightened Voter Research Results Video/

In the 2014 election cycle, two precincts distributed The Enlightened Voter free newsletter monthly to all their voters.
The results are dramatically displayed below:

turnout map


The Enlightened Voter

Improving Voter Turnout Wins Elections – 2014 General

Nagging campaign methods and inability to recruit enough volunteers have led to poor voter turnout—costing Democrats many too many elections in the last four years.
The Enlightened Voter monthly newsletter has shown itself to be an inexpensive and powerful tool, increasing Democratic voter turnout often by up to 100%.
The Enlightened Voter’s mission is to introduce this tool nationwide.

The Enlightened Voter Research Results Video/

In the 2014 General election, two precincts distributed The Enlightened Voter free newsletter monthly to all their voters.
The results are dramatically displayed below:

turnout map-2


Conclusions

“Change takes time.
Violence is not the answer.
Education is the way.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

The Problems With Current Methods – 1

  • Poor long-term planning — . . . the [turnout] results in 2014 continue to reflect years of neglect including poor long-term planning, poor infrastructure development, bad staffing decisions and the hiring of the wrong vendors/
    consultants.” —Florida Squeeze
  • Chronically losing teams need different players — “Fans understand that chronically losing teams need different players and managers. Beyond just booing loudly at their home team, they have many specific ideas about replacements and which positions need fresh talent.” —Ralph Nader
    Politial parties rely on paid consultants. Consultants are in the business of selling their expertise. For example:

    • TV consultants see TV as the best way to sell their political product;
    • Direct mail consultants see direct mail as the best way to sell their political product.
    • Educational Consultants — Political parties do not hire skilled educators as consultants, so truthful political education gets short shrift in the campaign cycle.
  • Current Methods Are Annoying — For over 200 years, political campaigns have been run the same inefficient and annoying way. Current political campaign methods and their expenditures are obsolete — not educational — just pushy and often nasty — never ending. And require repeating every election cycle.
    • Citizens are faced with nagging, not educating:

      TV-nagging
      Radio-nagging
      Phone-nagging
      Door-knocking-nagging
      Robocall-nagging
      USmail-nagging.

  • Prospective Voters Do Not Trust Ads — Prospective voters do not trust what politicians say. They recognize that ads intentionally denigrate and lie—do not deal in facts.
  • Registered Independents Ignored — Current Democratic policy is to ignore independent voters. Their mantra is “If we turn out our Democrats, we win.” But that means we’re ignoring 45% of registered voters. We can’t afford to to do that.
  • Volunteers Hard To Find — Currently, precinct-based campaigns rely on a multitude of volunteer Chiefs and on a multitude of volunteer hours spent by Indians. Chiefs are hard to find. Indians are harder to find.
  • All Voting Precincts Not Covered — Palm Beach County, Florida, has defined 842 Voting Precincts.
    • Only 360 Voting Precincts Are “Manned” — Despite years of effort, Only 360 of them have any volunteer “chiefs” — or any Indians.
    • 482 Voting Precincts Are Not Covered — No Chiefs. No Indians.
    • Gated Communities Not Covered — Gated communities do not allow volunteers to knock on doors.

The Project 4178 Method Works — In 2014, we demonstrated this superior method works.

Outperformed Average Countywide Turnout — In 2014, in every election, we have consistently outperformed voter turnout over the average in the entire county.

Developed A Transportable Method — We have developed a method which is transportable to any precinct anywhere in the country.

Our Model – Voter Education. Studies have shown that voter education carries from one election to another. A voter who understands how political activities affect their daily life, will look forward to casting their vote in the next election.

A Recent Article Confirms “In-Person” Contact Boosts Voter Turnout —

“There’s a refrain we hear about political campaigns every election cycle: ‘this year, campaigns waged an unprecedented ground game, having a face-to-face conversation with almost every single voter.’

“Baloney. As academics who study campaigns, we hear this claim all the time. But we also know it’s important to investigate whether data backs it up. We did. And it doesn’t. In fact, there’s a paradox at the heart of American campaign craft. Mountains of rigorous research show that campaigns should be having personal conversations with voters at their doors. But, campaigns spend almost all their money on TV ads — and, every year, most voters say they’ve never had a conversation about the election at their door. “

Read the whole vitally important article in Appendix 1.

 

The Problems With Current Methods – 2

Cost

  • Reaching every voter in a precinct is very expensive. Email is cost free, but we only have email addresses for about 25% of voters. Printing and mailing costs about $0.50 to $1 per issue.
    Precinct 4178 has 1,200 Democratic and Independent voters. The cost to print and mail to 75% of those is $900 per month.
  • Outreach To Minority Communities Minimal — Minimal effort has been made to reach Spanish-speaking and Creole-speaking voters.

 

Recommendations

Based on the findings of Project 4178, we strongly recommend:

    1. Paid Director — Each county party should recruit a full time, paid staff member with the Title:

      Director, Educational Communications
      and Instructional Technology

      Annual Salary: $TBD
      Job Responsibilities & Skills:

      1. Strong interest in politics
      2. Strong English skills
      3. Desktop publishing skills: Adobe InDesign
      4. Supervise or create county variant of The Enlightened Voter
      5. Computer Art/Photoshop
      6. Web design
      7. Web hosting
      8. HTML
      9. Bulk mail programs: SendBlaster, Mail Chimp. Constant Contact
      10. Spreadsheets: Excel
      11. Word Processing: MS Word
      12. Database: Access
      13. PowerPoint
      14. Facebook, Twitter, etc.
      15. News Releases
      16. Google Docs/Drop Box
      17. VoteBuilder Skills
      18. Be a Zone and Precinct resource
      19. Printing, Addressing, and Mailing resource
      20. Assist door-knockers and phone callers with handouts and training
    2. Use of Mail — Every registered Democratic and Independent voter should receive The Enlightened Voter 20-30 times each year—whether an election year or not.
    3. Minority Communities — Minority voters don’t show up at election time because they feel their vote  makes no difference—that the Democratic Party doesn’t care very much about them. A strong way to appeal to Hispanic and Haitian voters is to reach out to them with materials in Spanish and Creole.
      Translations — Issues of The Enlightened Voter translated into Spanish and Creole are not cost prohibitive or difficult.

      • Translation of a single 8-page issue of The Enlightened Voter, Spanish Language Edition costs about $400.
      • Translation of a single 8-page issue of The Enlightened Voter, CreoleLanguage Edition costs about $800.
      • These translations would give these communities a sense of connection with the Democratic Party, of belonging and of being wanted.
    4. Exporting To Any County Or To Any State — Any county which has a Director of Educational Communications and Instructional Technology would be able to easily create and publish a county-specific version of The Enlightened Voter. The Director would refer to a copy of The Enlightened Voter prepared for any other county, retain the generic articles— such as those related to state and national races and those related to general philosophy— and add county-specific articles.

The above recommendations allow an unprecidented reach into all communities—both covered and uncovered, gated or open, minority, youth, women.


APPENDIX 1

Experiments Show This Is The Best Way To Win Campaigns.
But Is Anyone Actually Doing It?

by David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, Vox.com
November 13, 2014

SUMMARY

  • Unprecedented ground game: BALONEY.
  • Phone and post cards not effective.
  • In-person contact has a profound effect.
  • In reality, large “knock” numbers often conceal lackluster ground games.
  • When canvassers rush through scripted interactions, just trying to cram their message into voters’ minds, the
    impacts they leave are minimal.
  • Ground games are invisible.
  • TV ads not effective.
  • TV – no lasting impact.
  • Managing a canvass operation is difficult.
  • Hard to raise a field army.
  • Campaign consultants look to boost their bottom line.
  • Financial resources are already available.

THE STUDY
There’s a refrain we hear about political campaigns every election cycle: “this year, campaigns waged an unprecedented ground game, having a face-to-face conversation with almost every single voter.”

Baloney. As academics who study campaigns, we hear this claim all the time. But we also know it’s important to investigate whether data backs it up. We did. And it doesn’t. In fact, there’s a paradox at the heart of American campaign craft. Mountains of rigorous research show that campaigns should be having personal conversations with voters at their doors. But, campaigns spend almost all their money on TV ads — and, every year, most voters say they’ve never had a conversation about the election at their door. What gives?
Why campaigns’ “ground game” matters.

The Most Effective Way — By far the most effective way to turn out voters is with high-quality, face-to-face conversations that urge them to vote. How do we know? Nearly two decades of rigorous randomized experiments have
proven it.

Alan Gerber and Don Green ran the first of these “field experiments” in 1998. The professors randomly assigned voters to receive different inducements to vote: some received postcards, some received phone calls, some received a visit from a canvasser, and some received nothing.

Phone And Post Cards Not Effective — The experiment found that voters called on the phone or sent postcards were not noticeably more likely to vote than those sent nothing.

But Canvassing Was Different — Just one in-person conversation had a profound effect on a voter’s likelihood to go to the polls, boosting turnout by a whopping 20 percent (or around 9 percentage points).

[In our investigation, we have demonstrated that 20 contacts over the course of a year via an informative newsletter has shown to be a replacement for the strong impracticality of visiting each and every voter once each year in person. —ed.]

Politically Potent — The nearly two decades since Gerber and Green’s first experiment have consistently borne out their finding that personal conversations have special political potency. Hundreds of academics and campaigns have tested the impacts of various campaign tactics with randomized field trials. High-quality canvassing operations emerge as consistent vote-winners. On the other hand, impersonal methods have consistently failed to produce cost-effective results, no matter how you slice the data or which populations researchers examine.

Knock Numbers Often Conceal Lackluster Ground Games — Quality counts: field operations’ “knock” numbers don’t tell you much Given the widely acknowledged importance of a good “ground game,” campaigns like to tout statistics that show they’re knocking on huge numbers of doors. These statistics can make their ground games sound quite substantial.

But, in reality, large “knock” numbers often conceal lackluster ground games. Why?

Rushing Through Neighborhoods — Campaign operatives often rush through neighborhoods, hurrying to rack up impressive numbers of “knocks.” However, these hurried efforts often fail to reach most voters at all and entail only perfunctory interactions with the voters they do. Campaigns’ ground games can thus sound sizable in terms of “knocks” when they haven’t had any conversations with voters at all.

Impacts Minimal — And, to actually affect voters, research shows that having an actual conversation is crucial. Canvassing seems to work best when voters who don’t care much about politics engage in a genuine conversation about why voting is important. So, when canvassers rush through scripted interactions, just trying to cram their message into voters’ minds, the impacts they leave are minimal — voters might as well have been sitting through a television ad. On the other hand, research has consistently found that authentic interpersonal exchanges usually have sizable impacts.

Poor Follow Through — But facilitating that breed of genuine personal outreach isn’t what many “field” campaigns actually do. Green has seen this in practice. He has found that many canvassing operations have effects “smaller than what we obtained from our initial study or in our follow-up experiments with seasoned groups such as ACORN.”

But, Green went on to say, “When I’d inquire about the details of these subpar canvassing efforts, I would often discover that the scripts were awkward or that there was limited attention to training and supervision.”

This suggests a picture that should frighten candidates, campaign managers, and donors alike. Even if field operatives have racked up millions of “door knocks,” when one looks under the hood of these operations, there often isn’t much reason to believe they’re having many quality conversations with voters at all.

Ground Games Are Invisible — . . . Another reason to doubt campaigns are running good ground games? Voters don’t appear to be seeing them.

A political organization running a field campaign shared data with us that helps quantify just how invisible the ground game is to the very voters supposedly being inundated with it. (The organization requested anonymity when making public their internal research findings.) During October 2014, this organization ran a field campaign in a hotly contested Midwestern gubernatorial race. According to most accounts, this gubernatorial race witnessed the same allout ground game as other elections this year, and this organization should thus be thought of as only one of many blanketing supportive voters with personal conversations urging them to vote.

A Critical Evaluation — What this organization did allows us to critically evaluate how widespread the ground game was — it ran an experiment in which some voters it was targeting were randomly assigned to receive a knock on their door from organization field staffers while others, a “control group,” received no contact from the organization (but still received identical efforts from other groups). After the election, this organization conducted an ostensibly unrelated survey in which they asked voters in the two groups what campaign contact they recalled receiving over the last few weeks from any political organization.

Personal Contact Not Remembered — The results? The “control” group who received no contact from this organization remembered getting a knock on the door from any campaign only about 21% of the time. But just one conversation at the door from this organization doubled that figure, to over 40%. With just one contact yielding such a large increase, it’s hard to believe the ground game in that race reached anything near saturation.

Other Types Of Appeals — But what about for mail, phone, and televisionbased appeals? The numbers for these modes show exactly the opposite: voters were saturated. This organization found that around 9 in 10 voters it targeted recalled receiving phone calls, mailers, or seeing TV ads about the same election. The disparity between these numbers and the same figures for field raise questions about the idea that the ground game is already in full swing.

Spending More On Unproven TV Ads Than On Canvassing

The same disparity between field and other techniques manifests in patterns of campaign spending. A recent investigation by the New York Times provides a window into how SuperPACs spent their dollars over the last three election cycles.

The Results Are Puzzling — Over 80% of these groups’ spending went to TV advertising, followed by mail and online advertising to round out about 90% of spending in total.
Field Work, Budgeted Less Than 5% — Finally, in a distant fourth, came field work — capturing less than 5% of campaigns’ budgets. Somehow, many campaigns aren’t managing to spend much more on the most effective form of voter contact than on radio.
TV Ads Not Effective — But, even though campaigns spend a very large share of their budget on TV ads, the research on the impacts of TV ads doesn’t bear out the idea that they powerfully influence elections:

Little Evidence That TV Ads Mobilizes Turnout — First, there’s little evidence supporting the idea that TV ads can mobilize voters to turn out. In 2008, Jon Krasno and Green exploited quirks in media market boundaries to measure the impacts of presidential advertising. Ryan Enos and Anthony Fowler have examined the impact of the presidential campaigns’ TV ads in a similar manner.

The results? — Voters who receive the heavy volume of TV advertising associated with presidential campaigns are no more likely to vote than voters who see barely any. When it comes to turning out new voters, there’s not much evidence
TV ads are of much use. . .

TV – No Lasting Impact — There is similarly limited evidence that TV ads have an enduring impact on voters’ attitudes towards candidates. Yes, ask voters how they feel within hours of seeing a TV ad, and we sometimes see evidence that they’ve been swayed. But these effects usually fade quickly. In one study, Seth Hill, James Lo, Lynn Vavreck, and John Zaller examined the impacts of presidential television advertisements and found that their effects disappeared within days at most. Likewise, in a collaboration with the Rick Perry for Governor campaign, Gerber, Green, and James Gimpel and Daron Show found that Perry’s ads had a noticeable immediate effect but left no lasting trace. . .

Why Not More Personal Contact — Why aren’t more campaigns focused on having personal conversations with voters?
We academics are still scratching our heads about this one. Here, we’ll mention just a few possibilities.

Managing a Canvass Operation Is Difficult — First, managing a canvass operation is difficult and requires considerable recruitment, training, and supervision. It’s a lot easier to write a check to an ad agency or mail firm.

Increasingly Harder To Raise A Field Army — It’s also gotten harder to raise a field army. Decades ago, a rich network of civic organizations — think churches, Elk Lodges, and labor unions — could supply ample volunteers for field work. But, as these organizations’ memberships have flagged, professionally- managed, centralized, DC-based groups with weaker grassroots ties have tended to take their place. As a result, knocking on millions of doors now requires recruiting tens of thousands of temporary field staffers or new volunteers. When faced with a logistical challenge of that scale, it becomes mighty appealing to write a check to an ad firm instead.

Campaign Consultants Look To Boost Their Bottom Line — There’s also a more cynical possibility — campaign consultants urge campaigns to spend more on ineffective tactics because it boosts their bottom line. Candidates and campaigns rely on consultants’ expertise when allocating precious campaign resources. But many consultants take a cut of ad fees, making a healthy commission when campaigns squander their resources on TV. On the other hand, waging field campaigns tends to be a low margin business and thus prove less financially appealing for consultants to recommend to clients.

Campaigns Can Do Better — As effective as high quality field campaigns are today, they’re more likely to get even better as the research improves. Recent research has shown that the power of personal conversations extends far beyond voter mobilization, and includes the potential to build lasting support for marriage equality and abortion. Successful turnout interventions also seem to have lasting impacts on individuals, leading them to become lifelong voters, as well as on their cohabitants (emphasis -ed.). But to take advantage of these innovations, campaigns need to seriously increase their focus on field.

Financial Resources Already Available — The good news is, the necessary financial resources for waging real ground games are already available — campaigns just have to spend their money right. Consider what would happen if campaigns diverted just some of the money they currently spend on TV towards field. Nearly $1.2 billion was spent on TV ads during the 2014 election cycle, capturing about a third of campaign spending. Imagine if campaigns diverted just 30% of that amount to field, for a $350 million ground game — many times more than the amount campaigns actually spent
on field this year.

Field Operatives — Field operatives can often be hired for about $20 an hour (including overhead) and could have two high-quality 20 minute long conversations with voters every hour, for about $10 per conversation. That all adds up to a staggering reality: campaigns could have had a 20 minute conversation with every single registered voter in a state with a close Senate race — and still afford to blanket the airwaves with ads.

David Broockman and Joshua Kalla are graduate students in the Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley.

[ED. NOTE: Brookman and Kalla envision a 20 minute conversation in an election cycle. This appears very unrealistic given the short attention span of our citizens. The Enlightened Voter arrives 20 times a year. A reader will conservatively spend at least 10 minutes on each issue. That amounts to a minimum of 200 minutes per year per voter receiving quality “conversations” — vs. Broockman and Kalla’s 20 minutes! ]

 

APPENDIX 2

Testimonials

“Dan Isaacson’s publication, The Enlightened Voter, is a highly informative civic education newsletter that has illustrated the importance of civics education in increasing voter turnout. The newsletter includes original material as well as contributions by nationally-known columnists. It is extremely well written and researched. At a time when Florida is one of America’s most important swing states, educating the electorate can be instrumental in the outcome of elections. All voters in Palm Beach County ought to read The Enlightened Voter.” —Tom Gabor, Ph.D. Author, Confronting Gun Violence in America.

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“If facts form the proper basis of politics, Dan’s publications are the best tools the party’s neighborhood teams have.” —Hon. Mark S.

“This issue is a masterpiece. It really zeroes in on ‘Truth, Justice, and (unfortunately NOT) the American Way.’ This issue is an excellent marketing tool…and should help to generate some new readers as well as some donors. It really hit the mark.” —Debra K.

“I admire all that you do!!! You are reaching people!!” —Prof. Robert Watson

“I can’t tell you how much I love and admire The Enlightened Voter. I always print out my copy to read leisurely, and to lend to others so they’ll come to learn those highly important facts you so adroitly present. You may have noticed how many people I forward my subscription to, trying to encourage them to subscribe and donate. At some point last year, I was able to get our Dem.Club’s board of directors to make a nice donation for your Spanish language version.” —H.R.

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“Great newsletter. The article “What’s So Awful About Requiring A Government Issued Voter ID?” should be published in every single newspaper in the United States and read as a PSA on all radio and TV stations. I’d like to see the Rs go through this process. After the first 15 minutes, they would change the law.” —Maggie D.

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