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  • Writer's pictureJeff McHugh

Voting: How Local Radio Hosts Help

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum

The most important thing you can do for your audience and your community on Monday and Tuesday is to use your voice and your influence to get out the vote. Remember how we were taught as broadcasters to “serve the needs and interests of your communities of license?” Election day may be your most important day of the year for serving the public. Here are some thoughts to consider for your show.

Kill the “my vote doesn’t matter” myth. George W. Bush beat Al Gore in Florida by only 1784 votes ---only one half of a percent difference. With around 4500 polling places in Florida that means that Bush won by less than one voter per polling place.

Use peer pressure. In one election, when voters were reminded that their participation was a matter of public record and that their neighbors knew whether they voted or not, voter turnout shot up by almost 8 percent.

Remove barriers. Remind listeners that they can get free rides to the polls from Uber, Lyft, Lime scooters, and many public transportation systems. Reinforce polling place hours so voters know there is plenty of time to vote before and after work hours.

Involve listeners. Air voter voices saying, “My name is BLANK from BLANK, and I voted today!” With every caller on air, make a point of asking, “Have you voted today?”

Here is a great article to pass on to listeners who may get turned away at their polling place. FYI: Voter turnout in the United States lags behind other developed countries at around fifty-five percent.

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