Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

July 21, 2004

by J

GOTV Puzzlement

In which I display my ignorance about traditional party/activist/machine politics...

I don't understand the psychology behind Get-Out-The-Vote efforts. Specifically, I don't understand how a big push for voter registration works. Apparently, there are people who don't register to vote, but if you get them to register a few months ahead of time, somehow they magically remember to go vote on election day? How does that work?

Or, is it more that if you get them to register, you probably get their contact information and so can be focused in your efforts to target and remind people to vote?

I'm sure it's some combination of these and more. And it's probably just that I'm baffled by the thought that someone would not register to vote on their own. I come from poor white rural folk, and one of the first things I did after turning 18 was register to vote. Maybe I'm just strange.

I do sort of understand the impetus behind what ACT is doing -- they want to knock on doors, form personal contacts, and create a massive infobase that will help them GOTV on election day. I guess getting people registered is just the first step. Still, various nefarious voter list purges notwithstanding, it's not that hard to register to vote. I'm surprised that it's not more of a personal priority for people. Although I completely understand why some parties are interested in suppressing turnout, undemocratic and unAmerican though that approach might be.

Just some noodlings... I'm too fed up with the news and the political parties and the blogs lately to have much to say at the moment.
Posted by J at July 21, 2004 10:38 AM

As I understand it, there are some people (unlike us) who don't start paying attention to campaigns until just before election day. And unfortunately, by that time, in some states, it's too late to register. So these theoretical folks want to vote, but can't.

Getting them motivated to register now will allow them to vote later. Or so the theory goes.

Posted by: Dori at July 21, 2004 06:20 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
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Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
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Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
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Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
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