Laser Talk: Best Practices For Empowering non-Voters to Vote

Laser Talk: Best Practices For Empowering non-Voters to Vote

Laser Talk: Best Practices For Empowering non-Voters to Vote

We have a problem.  For long-term climate action, we need people to vote. But, in the recent Ontario election, 43.5 percent of voters voted – the lowest voting turnout in election history.  

Most Canadian non-voters don’t vote because they are not interested in politics. As well, on average, Stats Canada data reveals that young adults vote much less than older adults. 

Empirical data in Canada has found that non-voters are more cynical. Cynicism breeds apathy and there is plenty of cynicism out there. Thus, these results are not surprising. 

Thankfully, at CCL, optimism is one of our core values. We were trained long ago to avoid cynical and doomsday messaging. They overwhelm people, and make them anxious and scared. Consequently, they tune out. 

Robb Willer’s 2011 research Apocalypse Soon?: Dire Messages Reduce Belief in Global Warming by Contradicting Just-World Beliefs has been a touch stone for us for over a decade. Dr. Rene Lertzmann and Dr. George Marshall have continued that education. We have learned from Dr. Katharine Hayhoe to instill truthful hope when writing and communicating. 

Lastly, a Canadian organization, Climate Access, recently provided education on how to effectively message about climate change. Evidence shows that structuring a climate narrative around the message triangle of challenge ➡️ pathway ➡️  benefits is empowering.

What else can we do to empower people to vote?

Did you listen to the July 2022 monthly call with Nathaniel Stinnet of the Environmental Voting Project? They are not in the mind-changing game. They are in the behaviour-changing game.  The Environmental Voter Project has one advantage that we in Canada don’t have and that is public records of people who did not vote. But they have some dont’s and do’s to consider.  They don’t endorse candidates, lobby for policies or try to persuade people to vote for climate. They know people care about those issues.  They do go after behaviour. They normalize voting

If you hear of any Canadian group working on such a strategy to normalize voting in elections in a non-partisan way, please tell us. This is an evidence-based strategy we need to support. 

Thank goodness for evidence. We don’t have time to guess. Every communication and strategy needs to be thoughtfully carried out. The above data should help us all.

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