To date, the California Votes Initiative has uncovered or confirmed the following best practices for voter mobilization efforts in low-propensity voter communities.
1. Campaigns should ideally use face-to-face canvassing.
2. Phone bank calling is enhanced by pre-screening and follow-up with those who earlier expressed an intention to vote.
3. Canvassers should be well-trained and drawn from the local communities of interest.
4. An information-rich message may be more effective than a basic one.
5. Going to the field too early can decrease the effectiveness of a campaign.
There are plenty more publications of interest from the James Irvine Foundation (including “The Implications of Nesting in California Redistricting”) available here and copied below:
Click a title to jump to that publication:
- New Experiments in Minority Voter Mobilization: A Report on the California Votes Initiative (September 2007)
- The Implications of Nesting in California Redistricting (August 2007)
- Survey of Political and Civic Engagement in the Inland Empire (July 2007)
- Collaborative Regional Initiatives: Civic Entrepreneurs Work to Fill the Governance Gap (November 2005)
- Drawing Lines: A Public Interest Guide to Real Redistricting Reform (February 2005)
- Organized Religion Initiative: What’s Faith Got to Do With It? (November 2003)
New Experiments in Minority Voter Mobilization: A Report on the California Votes Initiative
This report evaluates the effectiveness of various voter outreach strategies designed to increase turnout among infrequent voters in California. As part of the California Votes Initiative, the Irvine Foundation supports a group of nonprofit organizations enlisted to mobilize voters in low-income and ethnic communities in the San Joaquin Valley and parts of Southern California. This report documents findings from the first phase of the initiative, covering the June 2006, November 2006 and March 2007 elections.
Download (Sept 2007) (PDF, 1 MB)
The Implications of Nesting in California Redistricting
A number of proposals are currently being debated to reform the process of drawing state Assembly and Senate district boundaries. A new report by the Institute of Governmental Studies analyzed the possible impact of one redistricting proposal, known as nesting. The report shows that nesting, which aligns two Assembly districts within one Senate district, would simplify election administration, but it would also increase the number of cities and counties that are divided between districts and would limit the ability of the state to comply with the Voting Rights Act.
Download (August 2007) (PDF, 3 MB)
Survey of Political and Civic Engagement in the
Explosive growth in the Inland Empire region of Southern California is producing a population that is more diverse ethnically, less Republican and less likely to volunteer in civic organizations, according to this report by University of California, Riverside. Based on a survey by UC Riverside political scientist Karthick Ramakrishnan, the report is part of a larger project funded by the Irvine Foundation looking at civic and political participation among residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Download (July 2007) (PDF, 690 KB)
Collaborative Regional Initiatives: Civic Entrepreneurs Work to Fill the Governance Gap
Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs) are partnerships of government, business, and community representatives working together to promote the economic vitality and improve the quality of life in their regions. From 1997 to 2004, Irvine invested more than $20 million in 17 CRIs in California to see if such regional collaboration could help create
long-lasting solutions. This report, resulting from three years of research and analysis by the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) at UC Berkeley, finds that CRIs can be important vehicles for engaging a range of stakeholders toward addressing economic, environmental, and social issues at the regional level.
Download (November 2005) (PDF, 380 KB)
Drawing Lines: A Public Interest Guide to Real Redistricting Reform
The California State Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger are considering sweeping changes to the way California draws electoral district boundaries. A recent, Irvine-funded joint report by the Center on Governmental Studies and DÄ“mos, an independent think tank, has informed these discussions with its recommendations for key components to be included in any redistricting plan. The report and a newly drafted Addendum analyze current proposals in the context of these recommendations.
Download (February 2005) (PDF, 895 KB)
Organized Religion Initiative: What’s Faith Got to Do With It?
This initial report on Irvine’s experience with its Organized Religion portfolio suggests that faith-based institutions can make significant contributions to the broad field of civic engagement. Faith-based civic engagement projects, working with congregations and their leaders, offer promise to renew the idea of mediating institutions for the
twenty-first century. Unlike social service agencies based on
program-delivery models, congregations have “unprogrammed” space in which participants or members can decide together what ought to be done. In the first instance, people tend to see themselves as clients or recipients. In the second, people more easily see themselves as people with agency, influenced by shared values, acting together in public.
Download (November 2003) (PDF, 46 KB)