The Knight Foundation recently released research about the barriers and motivators for local voting, specifically focusing on “drop-off millennial voters,”–people ages 20 to 34 who voted in the last national election but not in recent local elections. Local elections are missing millions of millennial voters who participate in national elections but not ones in their cities; researchers conducted focus groups with these drop-off voters in Akron, Ohio, Miami and Philadelphia to find out why.
- The biggest obstacle to local voting the participants cited was a lack of information. Millennials in the focus groups said they simply did not know enough about the candidates, ballot initiatives, and issues covered in local elections; they did not feel informed enough to vote wisely, so they didn’t vote at all.
- Millennials care about several local issues but did not make the connection between local government and these issues; thus, they do not see the importance of voting.
- Mobility is another issue: Studies have suggested that people who move to a new city are less likely to vote locally than long-standing residents, and young adults move more often than any age group.
To remedy these issues, the report recommends “Providing more trustworthy information about local elections“. As trusted messengers, nonprofits are perfectly positioned to fill this information void. In addition to providing information about who and what is on the ballot, nonprofits can also help to illuminate the connections between voting and outcomes in the community.