Friday, October 29, 2010

Why People Vote

What’s the difference between a voter and a non-voter? Not much, actually. There are four main reasons people vote:

1. Personal contact from someone they know. Encouragement and reminders go a long way.
2. Repeat messages. The more you hear it, the more you internalize it.
3. They have a reason to vote. When they have something at stake, voters are more likely to make it to the polls. And in this election, who doesn’t?
4. It’s easy to do. If a voter has the ability to vote early (in person or by mail) or can get to their polling location on Election Day, then they are more likely to vote.

Pretty simple stuff, right? So how does your nonprofit turn your clients and community members into voters? Earlier this week, we created a list of 5 Things Your Nonprofit Can Do to Get Out the Vote, but in case that's not enough here are some other suggestions:
  • Talk to you friends, your family, your colleagues, and your community about voting. You can send text messages or make phone calls. It’s also easy to incorporate discussions about the election into everyday interactions with clients and constituents.
  • Turn up the volume. The election should be visible to everyone who visits your nonprofit. Make announcements and include reminders in emails to staff and your supporters.
  • Create urgency by reminding people of what is at stake this November: the future of your nonprofit, your community, things like social services and benefits, and more.
  • Make voters feel comfortable with the process. Ask if they need help and make resources like sample ballots and nonpartisan voter guides available.
For more ideas, visit our website,

(Image Source)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Latino Vote in 2010

Every election, news outlets and commentators do their best to predict who is going to vote and what that that will mean when all the votes are tallied. This year, the Latino vote has received particular attention. An earlier Nonprofit VOTE blog covered a report by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund which found that 61% of Latino registered voters said they would "definitely" vote in the November midterm elections. (Learn more about the survey.)

But who exactly comprises the Latino electorate? The Pew Hispanic Center has mapped the Latino electorate (the image above), and we know that 5.5 million Latinos voted in the 2006 midterm. But there are lingering questions about what Latino turnout will look like this year and if voter identification requirements will deter eligible voters (not just eligible Latino voters).

Many Latino groups are working hard to get out the vote in their communities. The Ya es Hora, ¡Ve y Vota! coalition and the Univision network declared October 26 "Ya es Hora Day" in an effort to encourage Latino voters to go to the polls this November. Univision aired special coverage and public service announcements about the electoral process and the importance of the upcoming elections. Ya es Hora get-out-the-vote efforts also include calling "low-propensity (infrequent)" Latino voters across the country in addition to offering webinars. (Join NALEO and the Lawyer’s Committee tomorrow at 1pm EST for a free webinar on “Voter Protection Basics”.)

The work of these and other organizers seems to be paying off -- A poll released by Latino Decisions on October 26 "shows that the number of Latino registered voters who say they are 'almost certain' to show up at the polls is now 75.1% -- a full 10% higher than it was four weeks ago." Hot issues may be one factor driving Latino voters to the polls: the NALEO study found that interest in the immigration issue was a significant factor in increasing the likelihood of voting.

Both parties are taking note that the political power of the Latino electorate is on the rise, and will continue to grow, in part, because Latinos constitute the largest minority group in the U.S. and their numbers are expected to grow from 40 million to over 100 million by the year 2050.

(Image Source)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

5 Things Your Nonprofit Can Do

Want to get your nonprofit involved in the election but not sure what to do? Try out some of our suggestions below to make this Election Day a success!

1. Increase visibility around the election. Turn up the volume by including voting reminders in all of your communications. Post signs and decorate with streamers to create a celebratory atmosphere and increase excitement.

2. Ensure staff and volunteers are equipped to answer basic questions about the election. They should know when polls open and close, how to help locate a polling site, and have contact information for your local election board and national voter hotlines available.

3. Make personal contact. Reach out to voters by integrating conversations about the election into your services and meetings. Make announcements and ask individuals if they are planning to vote, or if they have already voted. Personal reminders and offering help to a voter are highly effective get-out-the-vote tactics.

4. Post a sample ballot or nonpartisan voter guide. Many voters--new and experienced--still have questions about voting, and they're more likely to vote if they know what their choices will look like on the ballot.

5. Know where to turn. You aren’t expected to know all the answers. Have contact information for your local election board available. Advertise toll-free voter information hotlines such as 866-OUR-VOTE and 888-VE-Y-VOTA.

For comprehensive information on voting in your state—such as finding your polling place and checking your registration—use NonprofitVOTE's 50 state map.

This list was featured in NonprofitVOTE's special midterm election edition of the Nonprofit Voter. Read it and then subscribe!

(Image Source)


Trick or Vote this Halloween

A couple of months ago we introduced you to Trick or Vote, a nonpartisan organization that uses Halloween to “scare out the vote.”

Inspired by research that shows face-to-face interaction is the single best way to get someone to vote, Trick or Vote knocks on doors when you most expect it—Halloween!

Halloween is this Sunday, only two days before Election Day. So before hitting up your favorite haunted house, consider getting out the vote in your neighborhood. Dust off that costume, gather your friends, and find an event near you, because you’re never too old to Trick or Vote.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last Week's Webinar

Missed last week's webinar on Get Out the Vote and Election Day for Nonprofits? Not to worry! You an still access all of the information and ensure that your nonprofit is prepared for Election Day next week!

Please don't hesitate to contact any of us with any questions.

Julian Johannesen
phone: 617-357-8683

Sophie Lehman
phone: 617-357-8683

You can download the PowerPoint presentation, as well as the the audio portion of the presentation in MP3 format. You can also view the presentation and listen to the audio online.

All of our previous webinars are available online on our webinar page. Other free voter engagement resources are available on our website.

Here are some helpful links that were mentioned during last week's webinar:
Thanks for joining us for our 2010 webinar series!


Monday, October 25, 2010

How are you getting to the polls?

For some, that's not always an easy question to answer, which is why many groups get out the vote by offering rides to the polls. However, free rides to the polls seem to be on the decline, or at least chatter about them is. Unfortunately (and understandably), time-strapped and resource depleted organizations have found it increasingly difficult to offer this service. One reason offering rides has become a less common get-out-the-vote tactic, is simply because it can be a difficult enterprise to organize and coordinate. But that’s not stopping some groups this election cycle.

A group of young organizers at the University of Nevada, Reno have added a unique twist to the idea: pedicab rides to the polls. Similarly, the Minnesota Participation Project is spearheading a coalition of nonprofit organizations that will be offering free nonpartisan rides to the polls on November 2nd in the Twin Cities metro area. To reserve a seat, call 1-877-50-RIDES and leave your contact information. You can also sign up to serve as a volunteer driver.

Rides to the polls are a great way to facilitate voting in your community. If you’re a nonprofit interested in offering rides, see if you can collaborate with another organization. Just make sure that rides are equally available to all (regardless of political affiliation).

If you’re looking for a ride for yourself or a client, both major parties generally offer rides to the polls, but again it depends on where you live. Try a quick Google search (make sure to include your city) or check your local paper to see if someone in your area is offering rides this year.

If that doesn’t work, you can ask to carpool with a neighbor, use public transportation, or dust off that unicycle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help—it doesn’t matter how you get there, just that you get there!

(Image Source)


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Voters get polling place wait times, absentee ballots online in 2010

Want to vote early but not sure how long it will take? Several counties in Florida have wait time estimates at early voting sites located on their websites including Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, and Pinellas. Early voters in the District of Columbia and Utah can also find out about how long they can expect to wait before voting as well.

For the first time in the country, absentee voters in Maryland have the opportunity to receive their ballots from an online delivery system thanks to a partnership between the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland and the state board of elections. Voters must complete an absentee ballot application, select the option to have the ballot posted to a secure website, then sign and mail the application. The system “assigns a security number and creates a personalized mailing label with a barcode to ensure only one ballot is counted per person,” according to The Washington Post.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Simple Solutions: Sample Ballots and Voter Guides

Research by the nonpartisan Easy Voter Guide Project shows that one of the major reasons individuals don’t vote is because they think the voting process is difficult. That same study also found that many first-time voters can’t read the official ballot pamphlet or sample ballot, are uncertain about what will happen at the polls, and think that voting feels like taking a test. Moreover, the study also revealed "performance anxiety" across all voter types.

Nonprofits can help assuage these anxieties by making sample ballots and voter guides available (ideally in multiple languages). Armed with these tools, every voter—new or experienced—can feel confident and secure when they head to the polls.

Depending on where you live, your ballot might read like a small receipt or an encyclopedia. It never hurts to read up. You can use our website to find your sample ballot.

Voter guides are often available from a number of sources, such as your local branch of the League of Women Voters, newspapers, or other nonpartisan groups. For example, the California Voter Foundation published its nonpartisan 2010 Online Voter Guide to help Californians approach the 2010 ballot where "a typical voter will confront at least twenty voting decisions."

You can also visit Ballotpedia for comprehensive information on the ballot measures in your state. And if you're looking for information on the candidates, the Vote Easy tool is a fun and simple way to find out how closely political candidates identify with your views on 12 different issues.

Making sample ballots and nonpartisan voter guides available to staff, volunteers, and clients is one of the many easy and safe ways nonprofits can conduct voter engagement activities. For more ideas and resources on what nonprofits can do, visit our website.

(Image Source)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rx Democracy: "A Prescription for America's Civic Health"

On Wednesday October 20, Dr. Rishi Manchanda addressed "Innovations at the Intersection of Health Care, Democracy, and Civic Engagement" as part of the Kennedy School’s Democracy Seminar Series. Dr. Manchanda is the founder and chair of Rx Democracy, an organization that represents "a nonpartisan network of America's best clinicians, health professionals and students helping our patients to improve their health by participating in community and civic life."

Why pair democracy and health care? For starters, in 2008, 2.3 million registered voters did not vote due to illness or disability (14% of the 16 million registered voters who didn't vote). Furthermore, states with lower voter turnout also have poor self-reported health (which in the world of self-reported statistics, is actually reliable). Dr. Manchanda showed that health disparities tend to mirror and drive widening civic participation gaps, but acknowledged that less is known about how poor health outcomes and health disparities are influenced by a lack of power and political efficacy. However, we do know that health often begins with where and how we live, work, learn and play. In turn, those environments and experiences are linked to our ability to access information and advocate for ourselves.

Dr. Manchanda called health care the "predominant institution of our time" (it represents roughly one-sixth of the U.S. economy), but lamented the fact that the field has not become a better advocate for civic participation. Rx Democracy was founded, in part, to address that concern, and has done so with success: In 2008, clinics and offices that partnered with Rx Democracy registered 26,000 voters. Dr. Manchanda sees civic engagement as yet another health intervention--increased civic engagement can lead to better health and healthier people participate more. Additionally, increased interest in the social determinants of health has made it easier to incorporate civic participation into the ongoing dialogue around patient care beyond the exam room.

Still, Dr. Manchanda noted that it can sometimes be difficult to convince practitioners that civic participation is a critical part of their mission and that "politics" isn't a "dirty" word. However, incorporating civic engagement into the clinical setting can be as simple as asking a patient at intake, "Are you eligible and interested in registering to vote?" making registration forms available, or putting up a get-out-the-vote poster.

Rx Democracy is not alone in recognizing the links between health and democracy. Vote and Vax is an initiative that uses Election Day to safely and conveniently administer flu vaccinations. Vote and Vax works with local public health providers to assist them in holding vaccination clinics at or near polling places across the country. Vote & Vax launched its first multi-state program in 2004, but significantly expanded its efforts in 2008, ultimately delivering 21,434 flu vaccinations at 331 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia in November 2008. Of those vaccinated through the project, 47.7% were "new" recipients, meaning they had either not received a flu shot in the preceding year or would not have otherwise been vaccinated.

Like nonprofit organizations, there is a great deal the health care field can do to promote civic participation. It's relatively easy, too, because of the established and trusting relationships doctors, nurses, and other providers have with their clients. So take your doctor's advice: exercise more, watch what you eat, and vote!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Early Voting Data Already Flowing

Early voting is one of this season's buzz words, and we've already explained the differences between early voting in person and early voting by mail, as well as covering the kickoff of early voting in many places across the country.

Interest and participation in early voting has dramatically increased in recent years: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of voters who cast their ballot prior to Election Day increased from 20% in 2004 to 30% in 2008. These rates are in stark contrast to the 4% who voted early in 1972.

This year, First Lady Michelle Obama--always a trendsetter-- led by example, casting her ballot on Thursday October 14 in Chicago.

Although Election Day is more than two weeks away, the United States Election Project is already compiling data on the number of ballots cast early this year.

As exciting as it may be to make predictions based on new data that is emerging daily, the Early Voting Information Center (EVIC) used their blog to caution readers (particularly the media) that the early voting numbers coming out are only a tiny percentage of the overall votes--and of early votes. EVIC points out that typically less than half of early votes are cast more than seven days prior to Election Day, and advised waiting “at least until Monday the 18th or better, Monday the 25th, before writing the inevitable early vote story.”

While it may be too early to draw conclusions from the data, it's not too early (or late) to see if early voting is an option for you. Visit your state page to learn more.

(Image Source)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Voting rights for the mentally ill in Kansas

Supporters of an amendment on the ballot which secures the right to vote for thousands of Kansans worry an unfair stigma may keep it from passing in November. The amendment would prevent the mentally ill from ever losing their right to vote in the state. Right now, the Kansas Constitution allows legislators to yank suffrage rights away.

No one is on the record against the amendment, but advocates for the mentally ill are still worried it won’t pass.

Lynn Kohr is leading a peer-to-peer group in Wichita for those dealing with mental illnesses. She suffers from schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. With medication she lives a productive life, but says she continually deals with discrimination from those who don’t understand mental illness.

“People think people with mental illness are dangerous or uneducated or violent things like that people still honestly believe,” she said. “The actual truth to that is it‘s very, very rare and usually people that have that kind of problem are in treatment.”

Currently in Kansas, people like Linda can lose their right to vote simply because of their diagnosis. Although no laws have been passed to that effect, the Kansas Constitution allows lawmakers to take away suffrage rights of anyone diagnosed with mental illness.

Read more.


Calling All Likely Voters

With Election Day only weeks away, new polls are popping up everyday and each one claims to have the accurate stats on where the American people stand. But why do the numbers vary so widely?

One reason is that pollsters often survey “likely voters.” But who is a likely voter? Well, the Huffington Post published this article to explain who they are and how pollsters identify them. Some key points from the article are outlined below.

In 2008, 213 million adults were eligible to vote, but only 68% of those adults told the U.S. Census that they were registered to vote and only 62% turned out to vote. We can expect turnout to be lower this year because historically, participation in midterm elections is significantly less than in presidential elections (voter turnout was 40% in both 2006 and 2002). Therefore pollsters target likely voters in an effort to make their numbers more precise, rather than diluting the data by sampling all registered voters--many of whom will not vote.

But how do pollsters know who the likely voters are? It’s tricky because (early voters aside) they can ask people if they plan to vote, but survey respondents often exaggerate their true intentions. In 2006, the Pew Research Center asked adult voters less than a week before the election if they planned to vote. 68% said they were registered and planned to vote in the election, while 54% said they were registered and rated their likelihood to vote as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. Ultimately turnout was only 40%.

Thus pollsters must take into account other factors to help them identify likely voters and produce more accurate data. For example, a different Pew study found that eligible voters who report intent to vote, have a history of voting, posses knowledge of voting procedures or who have high interest in or knowledge about politics are more likely to vote than those who do not.

Each polling group utilizes a different method (or a combination of methods) to identify likely voters, which is one of the reasons why their data varies. It doesn’t mean they’re all wrong, but just make sure you're one of the 218 million eligible voters that actually votes this year.

(Image Source)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

DC Passes National Popular Vote Law

On Tuesday October 12, District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the National Popular Vote bill. The new law is part of a nationwide effort to award the presidency to the winner of the national popular vote, bypassing the Electoral College. DC adds its three Electoral College votes to those of six other states: Massachusetts (who passed the bill in August), Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington.

However, the Agreement Among the States to elect the President by National Popular Vote only takes effect when it has been approved by enough other states to guarantee that the majority of Electoral College votes would go the winner of the national popular vote. The bill has been passed by states possessing 76 electoral votes, 28 percent of the 270 votes necessary to put the law into effect.

Recent polling shows strong support for the National Popular Vote plan in the District of Columbia (76%), Idaho (77%), Nebraska (74%), South Dakota (75%), Kentucky (80%) and several other states.

Read the DC press release here, and learn more about the National Popular Vote here.

(Image source)


Friday, October 8, 2010

Student support brings back UT campus early voting location

University of Texas-Pan American student leaders worried that closing a campus polling site would prevent many of their peers from voting.

However, due in part to overwhelming support from UTPA students, faculty and staff, it’s not a scenario they’ll have to contemplate any longer. Under a new agreement, the Hidalgo County Elections Department will reinstate an early-voting polling location on the UTPA campus that was cut last month due to county budget constraints and low voter turnout in March. In addition, the county has offered to host a similar site at South Texas College’s Pecan Campus.

Keeping a polling location on the UTPA campus will boost turnout among students who often don’t have time to leave the university between classes and have busy work schedules when off campus, said Amber Arriaga, a past president of the Hidalgo County Young Democrats.

University President Robert Nelsen, who called the county’s elected officials in a push to get the site restored, said he would work with Hidalgo County to make the university a permanent site. Beyond being convenient for students, he views it as a teaching tool.

“It isn’t natural to go vote. You have to learn it,” Nelsen said. “If it’s there (on campus), and you vote for the first time, it’s a real learning experience.”(Continue reading this story.)

To learn more about voting as a student in your state, visit the Brennan Center's interactive online student voting map.


Info from Yesterday's Webinar

Thank you to those of you who attended yesterday's webinar "Voter Education and GOTV for Nonprofits," with Robynne Curlee and Sophie Lehman.

Please don't hesitate to be in touch if you have further questions.

Bridgette Rongitsch
phone: 651-757-3085

Sophie Lehman
phone: 617-357-8683

You can download yesterday's PowerPoint presentation here. You can also download the audio portion of the presentation in MP3 format. In addition, you can view the presentation and listen to the audio online here.

As we mentioned, in 2006, lower income voters with household incomes of less than $50,000 per year turned out at a rate 21 points below higher income voters. You can read the full report on 2006 turnout in our report, America Goes to the Polls.

Don't forget to register for next week's webinar "Get out the Vote and Election Day." You can also access our previous webinars by visiting our webinar page.

Visit "Find Resources" to access our numerous resources. Many of our publications are available to order, free of charge to 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Here are some to help you get ready for the election:
  • Order a "Voter Participation Starter Kit for Nonprofits and Social Service Agencies" or view it online.
  • Get a Vote November 2 Poster by filling out this form.
  • To learn more about voting in your state, visit your state page.
  • Place a web badge on your website to help visitors access important voting information.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Nonprofits? Why Now?

A recent report by the American National Election Studies (ANES) may surprise you. It found that far less than half of Americans are contacted by a major political party during an election cycle. Although this statistic seems to contradict the numerous campaign ads and media coverage we see, most voters have not been, and are not being approached about voting.

Research shows that the most effective way to engage voters and increase turnout is through direct contact. With the political space left unoccupied by the major parties, there is a great deal nonprofits can and must do to reach out to their communities. And with so many issues that could greatly impact nonprofits and the people they serve, there is also incentive for them to do so.

Don’t think nonprofits can make a difference? The nonprofit sector is bigger than you think: there are over 1 million nonprofits in the U.S., and 1 in 10 people are employed by a nonprofit organization. In the 2006 midterm election, the voter registration gap between low-income and high-income citizens was over 19 percentage points. Many of the nation’s nonprofit agencies work with underrepresented communities and can be particularly effective in mobilizing their communities because individuals come to them for services.

Many nonprofits are already taking action, using literacy classes, training programs, health services, and citizenship ceremonies to encourage they people they serve to register and vote. State nonprofits associations across the country are working with us to train their members on how to conduct nonpartisan voter engagement activities. National service provider networks like the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Alliance for Children and Families have challenged their affiliates to educate their clients about the election and to register voters.

Despite pursuing different missions, nonprofits across the board are learning that increased civic participation in their communities helps them to better provide services and ensures that the voices in their community are heard. In Massachusetts, the Providers’ Council hosted a human services gubernatorial forum, while Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, in partnership with the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation, is organizing a children’s gubernatorial forum.

Nonprofits can make a huge difference in helping our communities participate and vote. Why wait?

A version of this post was the lead story in our October newsletter. Read the newsletter here and sign up to receive monthly updates from Nonprofit VOTE here.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Native Vote 2010

Native Vote 2010 is an initiative of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), designed to encourage American Indian and Alaska Native people to exercise their right to vote. To ramp up for this year’s midterm election, Native Vote re-launched its website and held a number of events including a kickoff teleconference to discuss strategy, and a webinar on Voter Education in Indian Country.

To assist regional organizations, tribal governments, and organizers in their work, Native Vote developed a toolkit and is distributing bi-weekly e-newsletters in an effort to increase awareness about the importance of voting.

With many tribes spread across rural, hard-to-reach areas, Native Vote is working hard to ensure American Indians are not disenfranchised. Recently, the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota was left without an election official to conduct the general election. However, the Tribe was able to work with local counties, advocate for ballot access, and eventually worked out a solution with two neighboring counties that allowed the community to vote early for this year's election. Read more about their success here.


Monday, October 4, 2010

AALDEF needs Election Day volunteers

To track Asian American voting patterns and ensure voters are being treated fairly, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund conducts a non-partisan survey of Asian American voters, and monitors elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act (which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination).

On November 2, 2010, AALDEF and several other Asian American groups will be monitoring the elections and conducting non-partisan voter surveys at polling sites in Asian American neighborhoods in at least ten states. Volunteers are needed to administer a multilingual voter survey in 3-hour shifts and document voting problems on Election Day. Polls are generally open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

There will be a one and a half hour training session for all volunteers. To sign up, go to


Friday, October 1, 2010

The New American Vote

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) hosted the 2010 National Immigration Integration Conference in Boston on September 29 - October 1.

During one of the breakout sessions, four panelists addressed “The New American Vote,” its importance, and how to help it grow. The panel featured:
Tova Wang focused on the “significant and persistent” participation gap between naturalized and native-born citizens: in 2008, the turnout gap between these two groups was a hefty 10 points (64.4% of native-born citizens voted while 54% of naturalized citizens voted). Native-born citizens are also more likely to be registered to vote. Wang traced the disparity to a number of factors, including socio-economic factors, length of time in the U.S., language barriers, location, and discriminatory practices. To reduce the gap, Wang suggested that voter registration be offered as part of all naturalization ceremonies.

George Pillsbury focused on the work that nonprofit organizations can do to help reach underrepresented and new American communities. Nonprofits are in the unique position where clients come to them, and they can easily (and legally) incorporate voter education, registration, and get-out-the-vote activities into their ongoing services. Pillsbury encouraged organizations to “turn up the volume” and talk to people about voting.

Miriam Stein impressed the importance of knowing your legislators and making an impression. She brushed aside the average citizen's impressions of the legislative process, e.g. legislators only listen to folks with money. Instead, Stein said that the two most important influences are a legislator’s constituents (after all, they want to be reelected) and legislative leadership (because they decide what gets talked about). She noted that, “we are all constituents, and we all have influence.”

Anna Lucia Stifano discussed her experience with the Latino community and why Latinos frequently don’t vote. She pointed to linguistic and cultural barriers and that the how and why of voting are often foreign. Stifano encouraged more civic education trainings, and suggested that the key to increasing participation was to inspire communities--including those who are ineligible to vote, such as legal residents. Everyone in the community can do something, even if it isn't casting a ballot: they can help others vote, they can canvass, they can volunteer, and they can make their voices hear.

The U.S. is one of the few democracies that requires the citizen to undertake the voter registration process, instead of having the government automatically register voters. And often, the people who aren’t voting are those with the greatest stake.