History of Voter Projects

Successful social movements have long made civic engagement work part of their programs.

Then …

Chavez Registration Bumper Sticker

… And Now

In recent years, civic participations projects have been less about voter engagement and more about registration on a large scale. National registration drives in the 2004 election season added some 4.2 million newly registered voters from minority and underrepresented constituencies to the rolls.

Most of the registration and GOTV work is carried out by field organizers, recruited and employed by national organizations, flown in to crucial districts for a short and intensive period. It’s a controversial method which Anthony Thigpenn argues is not measurably effective because it lacks a key component: voter engagement. Furthermore, it lacks almost any element of grassroots organizing. Voter projects that are not led by members of the community cannot be sustained across elections, as Henry Serrano observes.

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The "invading army" approach to voter turnout work hasn't been measurably successful, Anthony Thigpenn says

Anthony Thigpenn: "invading army" approach isn't measurably effective