Sep 6, 2022 - Politics

Dems use "vote-shaming" to increase turnout

Illustration of a giant hand pointing at a tiny voting booth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A leading Democratic super PAC is looking to boost young voters' turnout in November through a public pressure campaign, reminding them it's a matter of public record whether individuals cast a ballot or sit out the election, Axios’ Lachlan Markay reports.

Why it matters: Studies have shown "vote shaming" can be an effective strategy to increase voter participation. Priorities USA's approach uses digital ads and social media to reach more than 8 million young people who are newly eligible to vote this year.

Driving the news: "Who you vote for is secret,” says one of the ads posted last month on social media. "But whether you decide to cast a vote or not is public. So keep making your community proud this November."

Zoom in: San Francisco voter turnout in even years, when we vote for the president and/or congressional representatives, is typically higher than odd-numbered years. In November 2020, for example, voter turnout was 86.3% compared to 41.6% in November 2019, when residents elected Mayor London Breed.

  • San Francisco has a ballot measure this November that would move the scheduled 2023 elections for mayor, sheriff, district attorney, city attorney and treasurer to 2024, and every four years thereafter.
  • Called the Voter Participation Act, the ballot measure aims to increase turnout for local elections.

What they're saying: "This will probably double — maybe even more — voter turnout," Supervisor Dean Preston, who sponsored the measure, told the San Francisco Examiner.

The other side: Breed has called the measure a power grab, saying Democratic Socialists "want to change elections in San Francisco in order to have more control and power."

What we're watching: Voter turnout in San Francisco's handful of highly competitive midterm races, including the one for district attorney, school board and District 6 supervisor.


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