What is GOTV? I must admit that when I first heard of GOTV years ago, I thought it was probably yet another cable channel to add to the 500 channels we already didn’t watch. Actually, it’s an election term that means Get Out The Vote.
Does GOTV matter? Nationwide, roughly 40% of eligible voters show up at the polls during midterm elections, as we will hold on November 6. Turnout is a bit higher in the years there is a Presidential election, but still nothing to brag about (pretty consistently 60%). Sadly, we North Dakotans are about the same. Our midterm turnouts are a few percentage points higher than the national numbers, but that’s it. Congratulations, we’re average.
Why don’t people vote? There are many possible reasons. Perhaps they believe their busy schedule won’t accommodate it, they think there are no good candidates on the ballot, or maybe it could be simply apathy. Others may convince themselves that their vote really doesn’t matter, they might feel they don’t know enough to vote, or they believe the election system is corrupt. Regardless the reason, only 4 out of 10 eligible North Dakota voters will likely vote this November.
What about barriers to voting? Our state has very reasonable voting requirements. First, we are the only state in the country that does not require voter registration. In North Dakota, you merely need to show a form of identification with your name, birth date and residential address at the polling location to vote.* If your identification doesn’t have one of these features, you can even supplement it with a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or similar document. Our state also offers “no-excuse needed” voting by absentee ballot.
Does it really matter? The most hotly contested race in North Dakota without a doubt is the race between Kevin Cramer and Heidi Heitkamp for the U.S. Senate. The last time this particular senate seat was up for election, it was decided by less than 3,000 votes. Taken as a percentage of all voters in that election, that was less than 1 percent!
Are you going to vote? Yes, please! You may see polls that say one senate candidate is ahead of another, but I wouldn’t bet the next 6 years of U.S Senate representation on those numbers. Think back to the last presidential election for a recent example of polling accuracy.
Please stand with Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota and help GOTV. We need you and others who share your biblical values to stand for your beliefs and put the right people into these important legislative positions!
President and Executive Director
P.S. To see how your state legislators voted on key family bills last session, go HERE and review their voting records. Note that some legislators did not get higher ratings because they were absent on certain votes, so I encourage you to review the detailed voting records for your district legislators.
*There is currently much debate over the recent court decision requiring Native Americans to also comply with these requirements, even though many only have P.O. Boxes. While it is relevant to the larger discussion of voter turnout, the focus of this email is on broader voting trends.
Paid for by Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota