Chris Neary is a producer for On the Media.
Mail That Shames You Into Voting
Two Listeners Got Mail We Said They Wouldn't Get
Monday, November 05, 2012 - 01:04 PM
A few weeks back, producer PJ Vogt and I did a story about how campaigns work these days. In it, I talked about direct mail that campaigns use to, subtly or not subtly, guilt you into voting. It's very effective in getting more people to vote. The examples came from Sasha Issenberg's book The Victory Lab. One particular experiment, Don Green (who we spoke with) and two other researchers sent out a series of letters, each of which turned the screws tighter and tighter on voters.
One example I mentioned is a letter that provides you with a "voting report card," which notes how frequently you've voted. It's a reminder that whether you vote or not is public record. Another example I listed, in part for comic relief, is a letter that shows how often your neighbors have voted. (It was the most effective letter.) After Brooke read that one for me, I said, and here's where I need to apologize, this:
NEARY: And, by the way Brooke, you’ll never get that last letter. Campaigns hate to send out anything that prompts virulent hate mail in return, and one of those researchers got some of that mail.
Well, it turns out that while campaigns might shy away from those mailings, other political organizations aren't shy. We've received two examples of these sorts of letters sent in by real, actual OTM listeners.
First, listener Rachel Lieberman got a voter report card mailing from MoveOn.org. (She notes that the report card isn't accurate, she just voted at a different address. Here's hoping it doesn't lower her citizen GPA.)
And from listener Taylor Maxwell, exactly the sort of letter I went out of my way to claim she probably wouldn't get. It's from Americans for Limited Government. Names and addresses redacted, or else we'd be co-shaming.
You should vote tomorrow, even if no one is watching. Though probably someone is.