In 2022, Unstoppable Voters supported over 200 voter mobilization actions, reaching nearly a million people all across the country.
Here’s what we learned works to reach voters and turn them out in record numbers:
Center celebration, hope, and joy
Create cheer lines for first-time voters. Make up witchy, wondrous voting rituals. As one partner told us, people were happy to talk to them about voting if there were solutions involved — that made people feel better. Work good feelings into everything.
Use mystery, whimsy, and surprise
Tap into curiosity with the unexpected. Does someone expect to see a giant whale kite at the beach? Or performers standing on four street corners of the same intersection giving free spoken word performances? Or dozens of teens spinning signs in perfect unison? You know they don’t! That’s when you can get people’s attention, make a connection, and move folks to action.
Create irresistible imagery
Embrace spectacle. Think up fabulous ways to take up space — width, depth, and height. Turn your message into a metaphor and create the visual of what you’re trying to get across. Our Unstoppable Voters groups have done this with huge flags, fields of tents, fun and funky step and repeats, and much more.
Make it youth-friendly
The youth vote is hugely important, so make activities with them and that will truly engage them.
And don’t forget to engage the future voter, too: have pro-voter activities to keep kids occupied. Then, early on, they learn the importance of voting — and while they’re making kites, drawing dream worlds, or exploring the belly of a whale, you can talk to the people with them, who are of voting age, about the importance of them getting out to vote, too.
Make it personal
Voting can be complicated, scary, dangerous, and challenging, for so many reasons. One-on-one connections can really help. We saw this done to great success with creative canvassing, the creation of a personal voting concierge service, and more innovative ways to get people to feel comfortable engaging in deep conversation about voting and why it matters.
Experiment & refine
In activism, a lot of times folks plan and plan and plan but don’t get on their feet to test and experiment before the big event. We worked with groups to take ideas from sketch to draft to realization, with lots of edits in between, for maximum impact and success.
Thanks to the organizations featured in the video above for all of their exceptional work: Fair Count, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, Panthers Vote, Ohio State University, Poder Latinx, QLatinx, All Voting is Local, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Pineapple Health, RideShare2Vote Aware, Just Act, #ArtistsWhoVote, Democrasexy, Alianza, YBLOC, Compton Cowboys, and all the members of our 2022 Unstoppable Voters Fellowship, Action Accelerator, and trainings.
Want to learn more?
We’re hosting a live online event on February 9th with many of the voting champions featured in the video above, to dive even deeper into how to apply these ideas to successful pro-voter work. Learn more and register for the event here.
Want to work with us to apply these ideas to your 2023 pro-voter campaigns?
Reach out to us — we’d love to hear from you! We offer trainings, fellowships, research, resources, and so much more.
You can also sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date with open calls, upcoming workshops, and lots of other exciting Unstoppable Voters news.
What is Unstoppable Voters?
Through the Center for Artistic Activism’s expansive Unstoppable Voters program, we support creatively risk-taking, strategic, ambitious organizations, people, and projects that address urgent and specific anti-voter attacks. We provide training and community building for individuals and groups who are passionate about protecting the freedom to vote and bringing the needed innovation to that fight. And we provide funding and support to help manifest that innovation and bring real, measurable impact. To date, we’ve helped over 80 organizations and over 900 individual activists, artists, and everyone in between make voting accessible, safe, joyful, powerful, and irresistible.