55,399,782

39.9%

It’s no secret that a huge sector of eligible voters, upwards of 40 percent, don’t vote. In 2016, 39.9 percent -- 55,399,782 of eligible voters -- didn't vote. For decades, Democratic efforts to engage these voters have failed, because they’ve been half-hearted, under-funded and lack a cohesive message that resonates with non-voters. Issues profile research has revealed that approximately two-thirds of these non-voters would be likely to vote for Democratic candidates and support liberal policies.

"My vote doesn't matter..."

According to a Pew Research study from 2017, the reason most non-voters stay away on election day is because the majority of them believe the machine of government is broken and that their votes won’t make a difference.

 

From the Pew study

"The unregistered were more likely to say they do not vote because they dislike politics or believe voting will not make a difference, while people who are registered but vote infrequently say they do not vote more often because they are not informed enough about the candidates or issues."

In late November of 2019, the Brookings Institute released an analysis of the 2018 and 2019 election cycles that revealed an upward trend in new voters hitting the ballot box, predicting a record increase that foresees about 20 million new voters entering the process in 2020.

From the Brookings Report:

"The turnout gain from a midterm election to the next general election has averaged 18 points, but the difference has varied from a low of 11 points in 1996 to a high of 23 points in 2016. Turnout in 2018 was 50%.

 

So simply, the average gain from 2018 to 2020 would put turnout near 70%, a level we haven’t seen in more than a century. A lower-end gain would return us to the levels reached during the 1950s and 1960s. And a gain of 23%—along the lines of 2016—would set an all-time record, putting turnout above 70%.

 

While this might be exceptionally high, even a more modest increase will bring 20 million new voters to the polls, generating long lines in many areas and testing the resilience of our election administration."

Find The 40 Campaign

With an upward trend in new voters on the horizon, Democrats need a campaign aimed at engaging eligible non-voters. If voters believe government is broken and their votes don't matter, then we must prove to them otherwise. 

Find the 40 Campaign is a data-driven campaign that will be funded by People Over PACs. Our Instruments of Good initiative is a mini-documentary series highlighting real stories about the real impact of local and state government in the lives of real people. Using mainstream and social media channels, Instruments of Good will break down the complexities of government and policy into simple human stories of compassion and triumph. Government is not broken. Government works! This is the message that will empower and engage the 40 percent.