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To up voter turnout: Say ‘thank you’

Apparently, getting a person to vote is simple.

Here are two methods backed by social science:

  1. Say “thank you for voting.” As wild (or naive) as that sounds, it works. A 2011 study from Costas Panagopoulos at Fordham University found that “gratitude can be harnessed effectively to increase turnout.” 
  2. Ask a person to vote. Melissa Michelson, a political science professor at Menlo College, says an invitation to vote is extremely powerful, especially when delivered in person or on the phone. Some people just don’t think of themselves as voters — but that can change if you ask. ”The bottom line is that voters in these communities need to feel included and invited in,” she told me. 

Other research shows that social media can have a similar effect. 

Here’s the LA Times on the recent study that focused on Facebook:

A single election day message, sent to more than 60 million users of the social networking site, increased turnout in the November 2010 congressional election by 340,000 votes, researchers reported Wednesday.