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Annotated Bibliography

Adler, Ben. “Answer to Youth Conundrum in Your Pocket.” Politico. 18 Sept 2007. Web. 26 Oct.
Recently, young voters have become an increasingly important demographic in deciding
elections. Young voters, who change addresses frequently and often don’t have landlines, have
been difficult to contact by traditional get-out-the-vote (GOTV) methods such as direct mail,
phone banks, and door-to-door canvassing efforts. A recent study performed by researchers at
Princeton and the University of Michigan indicates that text messaging voters may be a
promising alternative GOTV method. Researchers sent study participants text message reminders
to vote on the day before an election. Their reminders increased the likelihood of voting by 4.2%
and only cost $1.56 per vote. Volunteer phone banking, with a comparable impact, costs about
$20 per vote, and door-to-door canvassing, which is about twice as effective (7-9%) costs about
$30 per vote. Unfortunately, cell phone service providers don’t allow mass text messaging
without explicit customer agreement. This “opt-in” component, which limits applications of
voter text messages considerably. Perhaps, campaigns will use the technology to distribute
talking points to supporters instead.
For the first page of the article the running through my mind was, “cha-ching,” and I may
have been drooling as I read, but my dumbfounded excitement was crushed by the word “optin.” If campaigns and independent or nonpartisan organizations could use text messages to reach
out to voters and remind them to hit the polls, youth turnout would undoubtedly spike, but the
cellphone companies would never allow it. It truly is unfortunate that such a cheap, effective
youth mobilization technique is so close but just out of reach. Of course, I’ll mention it in
passing in my paper when discussing the importance of the youth vote and youth mobilization,
but right now, the research is inapplicable. It almost brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it? Perhaps
Congress could pass legislation opening a loophole for government sponsored text message
voting reminders.

Annotated Bibliography
American Political Science Association. n.p. 5 Oct. 2014. Web.
Since it was founded in 1903, the American Political Science Association (APSA) has
grown to serve over 15,000 members in over 80 countries around the world. “As the leading
professional organization for the study of political science,” the APSA links political scientists
from dozens of different fields to enhance international awareness and understanding of politics
and political mechanisms. The APSA publishes three peer-reviewed journals including the
American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, and PS: Political Science and
Politics. The American Political Science Review publishes cutting edge research; Perspectives
on Politics seeks to promote public understanding and awareness of political science and connect
political scientists with the broader academia and encourage inter-disciplinary study for the
development of political science and academia as a whole; PS: Political Science and Politics.
The APSA also provides a comprehensive list of all published political science journals
organized by topics such as general, American Politics, Policy Studies, Political Theory,
International Politics, and Associations. APSA task forces publish seven extensive annual reports
on a variety of political science fields including “Negotiating, Agreement in Politics” and
“Political Science, Electoral Rules, and Democratic Government” among others.
The APSA will surely be very valuable to my research in the coming months. Although I
don’t have free access to the journals online or in print because I am not a member, I now know
exactly what to look for in university libraries and online databases. I can further narrow my
search using the archives and table of contents features provided for the APSA published
journals. I can also use parts of the APSA annual reports. The reports are 100-200 pages long, but
they do effectively synthesize a majority of information needed for basic understanding and
analysis into several relatively short sections. If I still can’t find what I’m looking for in the
archives or reports, I have the opportunity to turn to the APSA’s impressive list of peer-reviewed
political science journals. Some journals of the journals are on the list, but a majority will have to
be accessed via libraries. It is a shame that I can’t access most of what the organizations tools
without a membership, but that’s not going to stop me from taking advantage of the tools and
research that I do have at my disposal.

Annotated Bibliography
Analyst Institute. n.p. 20 Oct. 2014. Web.
The Analyst Institute is a "progressive" think tank dedicated to researching the voting
behavior, political participation, and voter mobilization to support progressive campaigns.
Applying cutting edge Analyst Institute research in the field, progressive campaigns can be more
efficient and effective. For instance, the Analyst Institute worked closely with the Obama
campaign in 2012, and the New York Times attributes his success-in part- to the campaign's
application of Analyst Institute research. Typically, progressive campaigns are more reliant on
voter turnout than comparable conservative campaign, so it is not surprising that much of the inhouse research performed at the think tank concerns voter mobilization. The primary research
focus is modernizing campaigns for the digital age to more efficiently target and contact an
increasingly online electorate. The website includes a blog, a contact us page, information on
research methodology, an "ask an analyst" section, and a library. The library provides access to
peer-reviewed articles drawn from a plethora of academic journals concerning voter mobilization
as well as published in-house research performed by the Analyst Institute itself. The "ask an
analyst" section contains research briefs and applications so campaigns have immediate access to
otherwise dense research.
The Analyst Institute is a goldmine of relevant information. Its primary focus is the same
as the focus of my paper. How serendipitous is that? And we're both progressive, so we were
meant to be; it's undeniable. I'm certainly going to annotate a few of the peer-reviewed articles in
the library because so many of them concern voter mobilization. But I think the "ask an analyst"
section will be the most useful. The research briefs condense 22 pages reports into 2-3 page
application reports. No fluff, no complex statistical analysis, just pragmatic applications, any
number of the applications could become my project, and I plan on discussing the others in my

Annotated Bibliography
Ashworth, S. & Mesquita, E. B. “Is Voter Competence Good for Voters?: Information,
Rationality, and Democratic Performance.” American Political Science Review 108.3
(2014): 565-587. Print.
It is widely believed that the “democratic dilemma” is that “people who are called upon
to make reasoned choices may not be capable of doing so.” Ashworth and Mesquita research
would indicate that sometimes voter information improves democratic performance, other times,
it inhibits performance. Similarly, some forms of voter irrationality improve performance while
others make performance worse. The common argument suggests that when voters are
uninformed or under-informed, elections are neither “a useful mechanism for selecting public
leaders nor a credible check on the behavior of those leaders,” but elections and democratic
performance cannot be analyzed by focusing only on the voters. “Elections are a strategic
interaction between politicians and voters.” To understand how lack of information affects
democratic performance, one must first understand how it affects this interaction. Politicians will
inevitably adjust their strategies with voter information. For instance, voter information may
increase or decrease extremist moderation. “When reelection incentives are large, increased voter
information leads to stronger incentives for moderation by extremists…when reelection
incentives are weak, increased information leads to weaker incentives for moderation by
extremists,” but it is still difficult to analyze performance because moderation is not necessarily a
boon. When extremists moderate, in the short term, voters are more satisfied with policies, but in
the long term, they are less likely to elect true moderates and may fall victim to extremist
policies when reelection incentives are low. “Our point is not that democratic performance would
clearly be better or worse were voters less informed or less rational.” The conclusion of the study
is instead that “decontextualized facts about voter characteristics simply do not have any
normative implications for democracy one way or the other.” Instead, research should focus on
the interaction between voters and politicians to better analyze the effects of voter information on
democratic performance.
First let me say that was just about the densest article I’ve read to this date, and I
apologize if my summary was equally dense. To be honest, I don’t think I understood it very
well. I read the article in hopes of finding data that might suggest increased voter information or
rationality leads to increased participation and democratic performance, data which I could
readily call upon in my paper to support an argument for increased access to information,
particularly nonpartisan information, to increase voter turnout. I found nothing of the support.
Instead, I walked right into a murky swamp of statistical analysis and complex political science
terminology, which had me scratching my head for the better part of two hours. The conclusion
is clear though: performance is dependent on voter information and rationality so much as it is
dependent upon the political response to voter information. But that conclusion isn’t of much use
to my paper, especially because I was barely able to slog through the 20 pages of text leading up
to it, and that’s making no mention of my complete inability to understand the 15 variable
statistical analysis. As you might have guessed, I don’t intend to use this article in my paper
except maybe to point out that voter information campaigns have farther reaching political
implications than just increased turnout.

Annotated Bibliography

“Ask an Analyst: ‘How often should I contact voters in a GOTV campaign?’”. Analyst Institute.
n.p. 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
Data suggests that although multiple contacts may increase voter turnout, fewer contacts to a
larger number of voters may be the best use of campaign funds. A study conducted by the
Analyst Institute and Our Oregon tested the effective of early mail, late mail, both, and neither on
voter turnout. The data from the study indicates that two mailers had a larger effect than just one,
as conventional wisdom would suggest. Two mailers increased turnout by 2.63 percentage points
over no contact, and single mailers increased turnout by an average of 2.02 percentage points.
Given the ratio of effectiveness, it would be much more effective to contact 2,000 voters once
than 1,000 voters twice. When analyzing cost per vote, the choice becomes even clearer. The cost
per vote gained per mailer is much higher ($27.40) when contacting the same voter twice
because the “second contact to the same person has such a smaller effect than a single contact.”
Other research supports this pastern, which is often termed “diminish marginal returns” because
although additional contacts netted more votes, each successive contact was much more
expensive and less effective than the last. Finally, the study indicates that GOTV efforts are
much more effective closer to Election Day. “People are driven by deadlines,” so “contacts will
be more effective when they are received closer to that deadline.”
This “Ask an Analyst” article on the frequency of voter contact will be of moderate
importance to my paper. There are article did a great a job of presenting results of the study
without the statistical jargon that can so often bog down peer-reviewed papers, and it somehow
managed to convey the results in no more than three pages, a feat just short of miraculous. Allin-all, the article was easy to understand and gave a clear message to GOTV campaigns: contact
more voters less often. I intend to give GOTV campaigns that same message in my paper when
discussing the most effective partisan and nonpartisan GOTV methods. This article is of
particular importance because unlike many others, it discusses cost per vote as well as general
statistics, making the results more practical and directly accessible to GOTV campaigns. It
doesn’t offer much in the way of project ideas, but I didn’t expect it would.

Annotated Bibliography
“Ask an Analyst: ‘What issues should I use in my GOTV mail?’”. Analyst Institute. n.p. 11 Sept.
2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
Although conventional wisdom might suggest that campaigners need to “give people
reasons” to vote, the data suggests otherwise. In fact, including issue messages in GOTV mailers
probably does more harm than good, according to a 2013 study conducted with the Ohio
Democratic Party. In the study, GOTV messages were mailed to Democratic women who had
voted inconsistently in odd year municipal elections. The first contained no issue content, the
second added a pro-democratic message, the third added an education policy message, and the
fourth added a message about women’s empowerment. All four mailers had a positive effect, the
largest came from not mentioning the party or the issues. Simply encouraging voters to vote was
the most effective at mobilizing voters. One explanation of the results may be simply that giving
reasons to vote or candidates to vote for distracts voters from voting. It is better to ask for one
action at a time. Another explanation may be that most people already think that voting is the
right thing to do. People tend to accept messages that are consistent with their existing attitudes,
i.e. attitude-congruent messages, so when a voter receives a mailer simply encouraging him to
vote, he will more readily accept it. By espousing a particular issue or candidate, a mailer may be
delivering an attitude-incongruent message to a number of voters, which may cause them to
ignore or counter-argue the message. Moreover, research shows that “persuasion messages to
voters who have already made up their minds can demobilize voters.”
The “Ask an Analyst” article is obviously relevant to my research on voter mobilization.
One might assume any mailer is a good mailer because after all, contact is contact, but obviously
some methods of contact are more effective than others. This general concept alone is very
important to my research. More is not necessarily more, and even if it were, it is obviously more
cost-effective to pursue the best tactics. I will of course include this concept as well as
information regarding the most effective mailers in my paper in a discussion of the effectiveness
of campaign based GOTV efforts. And because nonpartisan mailers proved to be the most
effective, I will also include information in the article in a discussion on apolitical GOTV efforts,
which I think will be the primary subject of my project. The article also provided links to other
reports and ask analyst articles provided by the Analyst Institute, which I intend to consult.

Annotated Bibliography
Bean, C., Kwashima-Ginsberg, K., Kiesa, A., & Rose, A. S. “Closing the Leadership Gap: How
Educators Can help Girls Lead.” The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning
& Engagement (CIRLCE). Tufts University Jonathan M. Tisach College of Citizenship and
Public Service. June 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
The report presents the finds of a survey performed on educators regarding the roles of
women and girls in leadership. In the professional, government, and even education sectors,
women are greatly underrepresented in leadership positions. For example, women hold on 20
seats in the U.S. Senate and only 30% of leadership positions in education even though they fill
75% of teaching positions. “Schools provide a venue for addressing persistent gener leadership
gaps by creating a pipeline of girls and young women who are interested in taking on future
leadership roles.” In school, students have access to more varied leadership roles than in any
other setting. Educators can be extremely influential in their students’ lives and play an important
role in shaping the perceptions of their students in regard to leadership. All of these factors
contributed to the commission of this three-part study by the National Education Association in
partnership with CIRCLE. Part one explored educators’ definition of a good leadership, and
found that it is generally egalitarian, i.e. gender neutral. Part two explored educators’
observations on what leadership roles their students seek out. It was discovered that girls are
more likely to take leadership roles than boys in “English and language arts classes, student
government…, in art and culture clubs, in community service projects, and on school
publications,” while boys are more likely than girls to take on leadership roles in “math and
science classes, athletic activities, and science clubs.” In a word, girls and boys are likely to
follow paths delineated by gender stereotypes. The results clearly evince the influence of gender
stereotypes on boys and girls and the need for educators to work to minimize their own gender
bias and reverse “gendered messages” that students have already received. The final part of the
study explored unconscious gender bias in educators by having them describe one of two
identical candidates for student council president. The only difference between the candidates
was that one was named Jacob, and the other Emily. Jacob was more likely to be described as
stereotypically male (e.g. “confident,” “aggressive,” and “charismatic”), while Emily was more
likely to be described as stereotypically female (e.g. “bubbly,” “hard-working,” and
“compassionate”). The results reveal that “even individuals who express gender-egalitarian
beliefs can still hold stereotypical beliefs at an unconscious level.”
The evidence presented by CIRCLE is undeniably convincing. It is clear that educators have
unparalleled access to the development of their students, especially in regards to leadership and
beliefs about leadership and that relatively simple steps may be taken to remedy gender bias. For
example, educators could encourage both genders to take on atypical leadership roles and
espouse the contributions of women stereotypically male leadership positions. That said, the
study was not what I expected. I was hoping it would analyze the issue from a policy standpoint
because that’s where I’d like to go with my research and my project. I don’t think I want to focus
on what the individual can do. Instead, I want to focus on what the government can do to
influence individual actions. Although the issue is certainly serious, it doesn’t interest me as
much as I expected, so I don’t think I’ll be using this source or perusing this topic.

Annotated Bibliography

Bergan, D. E., Gerber, A. S., Green, D. P., & Panagopoulos, C. “Grassroots Mobilization and
Voter Turnout in 2004.” Public Opinion Quarterly 69.5 (2005): 760-777. Print.
Voter turnout increased in the 2004 election cycle to 60.3 percent from 54.2 percent of the
voting eligible population in 2000. The paper seeks to determine “the degree to which grassroots
mobilization efforts contributed to the surge in voter turnout.” Increased voter mobilization
activities, including door-to-door canvassing and volunteer phone banks, are-in part –responsible
for the increase in voter turnout. Bulk analysis of mobilization data suggest combined both sides
knocked on 30 million doors and made 120 million volunteer calls. Statistical analysis of
experiments documenting door-to-door canvassing efforts suggest that a voter with 50 percent
chance of voting would have a 58.1 percent probability of voting after a visit by a canvasser.
Multiplying by 30 million doors indicates that door-to-door canvassing generated 2.4 million
votes. Studies on volunteer phone calls indicate a comparable 3 percent increase, but on a largescale, it is likely that volunteer phone banks would become more mechanical and less persuasive,
so we assume a 2 percent bump instead. That means 120 million calls generated about 2.4
million more votes. These two figures total about 5 million votes, but do not account for
diminishing returns. Failure to account for diminishing returns is somewhat offset by ignoring
other forms of political communication and voter mobilization. The relative scopes diminishing
returns and additional mobilization from other forms of communications would suggest that
grassroots mobilization efforts generated approximately 4 million votes, i.e. 3 million more votes
than in 2000 according to comparative analysis. That being said, the 17 million vote spike in
2004 far exceeds estimates for the effect of mobilization efforts. The remaining 14 million votes
might be attributed to the popular perception that the election was “historic” and that there were
stark ideological differences between the candidates.
The statistics presented in the mobilization paper will be vital to my paper when I discuss
grassroots mobilization, the primary topic of the paper, but I’ve got to be honest, the paper was
more demoralizing than anything else. Vastly increased mobilization efforts and funding in 2004
generated only 4 million votes, that’s a drop in the bucket of the electorate and barely a third of
the 2000-2004 spike. Of course, 4 million votes could easily be the difference in an election if
one party failed to mobilize its base, but that’s not the point. No matter how hard volunteers and
campaigns work to mobilize voters, perceptions of the importance of the election will be more
important to mobilization. Other than educating voters on the intrinsic importance of every
election and political importance, there’s not much that can be done to influence beliefs about
importance. Grassroots mobilization, the easiest mobilization technique, is also relatively
ineffective, barely equal to the effects on social media on voter turnout according to an Analyst
Institute. Basically, I’m disheartened because this particular essay indicates that no matter what I
do with my project, there’s not much I can do to influence turnout.

Annotated Bibliography
Cho, Youngho. “To Know Democracy Is to Love It: A Cross-National Analysis of Democratic
Understanding and Political Support for Democracy.” Political Research Quarterly 67.3
(September 2014): 478-488.
The study explores how informed understanding about democracy affects support for its
institutions. Unlike other political institutions, democratic governance is dependent upon “a
broad and deep foundation of public support.” Recent data suggests that “more informed
understanding of democracy leads to more committed support for it,” but Cho asks why. “Why
do citizens with informed understanding about democracy support it and reject is authoritarian
alternatives?” According to two behavioral scientists, Gibson and Caldeira, “someone’s specific
understanding about a political institution serves as a biased framework with which to formulate
positive or negative attitudes for it. Informed individuals are more likely to pay closer attentions
to the functions of democracy and develop opinions about these functions. They are also more
likely ignore messages challenging their understanding and accept messages supporting their
understanding. This will create a positive or negative bias in informed individuals. Those who
are well informed about democracy, i.e. those whose understanding is coherent and beyond mere
recognition of the term, will be more likely to support democracy itself due to the
aforementioned positivity bias. Statistical analysis of forty-four heterogeneous democratic
societies confirmed this hypothesis. Additionally, Cho revealed that the effect is greater in
countries with longer histories of democracy because “democracy begins producing positive
returns…once it passes a certain degree of institutionalization.”
I know that you might be thinking that Cho’s research is only tangentially related to my
own, but I contend that it is in fact some of the most important research to voter mobilization.
Part of my paper will concern increasing voter access to affordable, reliable and nonpartisan
information to increase participation at all levels. Cho’s research can serve as the very foundation
of my claim. Cho’s research indicates that increased information and understanding leads to
increased support for democracy. Voters who support democracy as an institution and understand
its functions and dependencies will be much more likely to take their place as a necessary cogs in
effective democratic process. Essentially, Cho’s research indicates, information campaigns on
democracy as a whole rather than just the election process, could go a long way towards building
support for democracy and mobilizing voters, especially because the United States has such a
long history of democracy.

Annotated Bibliography
CIRCLE Staff. “Voter Turnout Among Young Women and Men in the 2012 Presidential
Election.” The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. Tufts
University Jonathan M. Tisach College of Citizenship and Public Service, May 2013. Web.
5 Oct. 2014.
CIRCLE’s fact sheet on voter turnout among young voters contains a number of statistics
breaking down 2012 voting behavior by gender, race, education, and employment and compares
statistics to 2008 values. As a group, 45% of young people1 voted in the 2012 election, a 6-point
drop from 2008, but still higher than the turnout in 1996 and 2000. A 1-point decrease in the
gender gap meant young women were 7% more likely than men to vote. African-American
women voted at the highest rate of any young race-gender demographic, but turnout among
young African-American women did decrease by four percent, while white female turnout
decreased by seven percent. 2012 also marked a decrease in turnout for young Asian females and
Latinas. Like women, all young male demographics saw a decrease in turnout, but the gender
gaps in white and African-American demographics grew substantially. Educated young women
and men were more likely to vote than those less-educated, and employed women and men were
more likely to vote than their unemployed coutnerparts. The study also breaks down candidate
support by race and gender. Young women in general, particularly African-American women
were more supportive of the president than men were. 98% of young African-American women
and 82% of young Latinas voted for the president. Young people in general were more liberal
than older demographics. The Latina demographic was the least liberal, but 66% of them still
supported the president.
Although the data may seem dry and unimpressive without accompanying analysis, I intend
to use it in my paper on voter participation. Obviously, I’m not going to list every nitty-gritty
statistic, but I can use several of them to evince a claim that democracy is faltering and
participation is falling. The 4-pages of data charts also allow me to manipulate data to make it
more applicable or more powerful. Certainly the fact sheet won’t be the foundation of my
research, but it wasn’t intended to be. It was intended to provide easy access to data, which can
be quickly used to support my thesis, and it will do just that.

1 The “young people” demographic describes individuals aged 18-29.

Annotated Bibliography
Goldberg, Dylan. Interview. 20 Oct. 2014.
Dylan Goldberg graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in
Government and Politics. While at University, Dylan was working full time as a special
legislative aid for Guy Guzzone and the Marlyand Democratic Party in the Maryland State
Legislature. Recently elected to the Democratic Central Committee of Howard County, Dylan is
one of the most politically active Democrats in region. Right now, he is serving as the Field
Organizer of Courtney Watson’s campaign for County Executive. As Field Organizer, Dylan
works as a fulltime volunteer and staffer for Courtney. He spends all day everyday making phone
calls, recruiting volunteers, knocking on doors, or working closely with Courtney to connect with
electorate and mobilize voters. Every day, Dylan does everything he can to get-out-the-vote.
Voter mobilization is his livelihood, and he is unsurprisingly very knowledgeable on the subject
and has already directed me to multiple journal sources and newspaper articles and has provided
anecdotal descriptions of his experiences mobilizing voters in the field.

Annotated Bibliography
Grofman, Bernard, and Kline, Reuben. “Evaluating the Impact of Vice Presidential Selection on
Voter Choice.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 40.2 (June 2010): 303-309. Print.
In wake of the controversy surrounding John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin for vice
president and claims that the selection was responsible for his defeat, Grofman and Kline
analyzed data from the 1968-2008 presidential elections to determine the true impact of vice
presidential selection. The researchers analyzed the probability of voting for the Republican
ticket among nine categories of voters, labeled DD, DN, DR, ND, NN, NR, RD, RN, RR, where
the first letter indicates presidential preference, and the second letter indicates vice presidential
preference. The primary method of measuring impact is comparing voters whose candidate
preferences conflict to those whose preferences are consistent, namely comparing DR to DD and
RD to RR. The thirteen point gap on the Democratic side (.17 and .04) and the 12 point gap on
the Republican side (.86 and .98) indicate the potential importance of vice presidential
preference. The actual impact of these voters more limited than the raw data suggests. These
voters make up a small proportion of the electorate, 11% on average. Furthermore, the
demographic is shrinking annually. Thus, the net impact of RD and DR preferences on vote
choice is 1.4% on average. Because voters exist on both sides, the net impact is less than .6% of
votes shifted. RD voters outnumber DR voters 2 to 1, so there is, on average, a .4% Democratic
bump. Standalone statistical analysis of the 2008 election reveals that the difference between RR
and RD voting preferences was three times the historical average, indicating that there was high
potential for Palin’s selection to be disastrous. When DR voting and the small size of the RD
population are taken into account, however, it is clear that Palin’s selection was not responsible
for McCain’s failure and only generated a .4% democratic bump, which is consistent with the
historical average.
Bernard and Kline communicated the results of their research very effectively. The writing
wasn’t nearly as dense as I expected it to be, and I was even able to understand a majority of the
statistical analysis. The research itself was also very interesting and quite frankly eye-opening.
Personally, I had always believed that vice presidential selections, particularly McCain’s 2008
selection of Sarah Palin, significantly on the outcomes presidential elections, but as it turns out, I
could not have been more misguided. While the research was thorough and consistent with
previous studies, it is important to point out its shortcomings. Voters’ presidential preferences
may be impacted by their vice presidential selections, so the data and may be skewed by
immeasurable bias. The data is also unable to account for the voter mobilizing effects of vice
presidential selection. McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin, for instance, may have mobilized the
far right, which did not find him very attractive. Though it is very narrow in focus, I will
incorporate this research into my paper if I choose to write about active voter behavior.

Annotated Bibliography
Hajnal, Z., & Lee, T. “The Untold Future of American Politics.” New York Times. 4 June 2014.
It is well known that sometime around 2050 the racial and ethnic minorities of today will
overtake the Caucasian population and become the majority. Right now, the Democratic Party is
the party of the minority voter. In 2008, Obama won 95% of the black vote, 67% of the Latino
vote, and 62% of the Asian American vote, and the minority attraction to the Democratic Party is
not limited to Obama. Democratic congressional candidates garnered comparable minority
support in 2010. Most assume that the growing minority population and undeniable minority
attraction to the Democratic Party indicate the coming demise of the Republican Party, which has
become increasingly associated with white males. When asked in surveys, however, most
minority voters say they don’t fit into either party well. A majority of Latino (56%) and Asian
American (57%) voters identify as “nonidentifiers”, those who claim that they do not think in
partisan terms or consider themselves independent. Still, minorities are “politically approachable
and readily mobilized.” When approached by political parties, many previously apolitical voters
become engaged political participants. This means that the future is not set in stone; the
Democrats do not hold all the cards. The future lies with the party that most effectively targets
and engages minority voters. To target minorities, “political parties should run multifaceted and
multiracial campaigns” with “a mixed strategy of broadly based meat and potatoes issues…with
tightly packaged appeals to targeted electorates. Many issues of great concern to one
demographic are often inconsequential to others, so a “multipronged approach can slowly build
up support from a...diverse array of interests.”
I intend on writing about voter mobilization and political participation. Obviously, I cannot
truly understand how to mobilize the electorate and how to engage the public without
understanding why citizens are not already engaged. Although it is not a peer-reviewed paper, the
article does present compelling statistical evidence that growing political ambivalence among
minorities is a serious problem facing get out the vote efforts. Clearly, minority voters feel left
out of the discussion. They feel as though they have been forgotten by Washington. The
“multiracial campaign” strategy suggested by very well remedy minority discontent and apathy
and may dramatically increase voter participation among minorities. I would be a fool if I didn’t
discuss this article in my paper.

Annotated Bibliography
Issenberg, Sasha. “Nudge the Vote.” New York Times. 10 Nov. 2010. Print.
Issenberg’s article serves primarily as a history of behavioral science in politics. The
relationship between behavioral science and politics began in 1998 with an experience performed
by Yale political scientists Alan Gerber and Donald Green. Gerber and Green used experimental
groups of voters in New Haven, Connecticut to determine the relative effectiveness of various
get-out-the-vote (GOTV) tactics. Their results revolutionized how campaigns are run, and kickstarted a new field of behavioral science in politics. Before 1998, there was very little data
regarding the effectiveness of campaign tactics. “Everything you did in a winning campaign was
a good idea, and everything that you did in a losing campaign was a bad idea.” Since 1998,
behavioral science experiments have become increasingly important to campaigns. Both parties
pour millions of dollars into behavioral science think tanks and consultants to determine how to
run more cost-efficient and effective campaigns. For instance, the Analyst Institute, a somewhat
clandestine think tank funded by the Democrats, has spent the last eight years advising
democratic campaigns on how to GOTV. Its experiments have been largely successful and
informative and have debunked many myths in politics. For instance, the Institute has shown that
“voters pay less attention to glossy four-color brochures…than they do to spare envelopes,” and
“voters respond better to everyone-is-doing-it messages emphasizing high turnout than don’t-bea-part-of-the-problem appeals describing how few Americans vote.” That being said, the Analyst
Institute, and the behavioral scientists in general, haven’t had the same success trying to find out
how voters decide among candidates.
To be honest, the 6-page history of behavioral science in politics was somewhat boring,
apart from the mentions of tactics that have been identified as effective, but the article itself may
prove very useful. It was enlightening as to just how important experimentation has become in
politics. Moreover, it suggests that there may be a vast body of evidence describing the effective
GOTV efforts that I’m attempting to identify, and it’s relieving to know that the Analyst Institute,
a multi-million dollar consultation firm, is seeking “to establish a set of empirically proven ‘best
practices’ for interacting with voters. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do! If I could access the
Analyst Institute’s website, I would have everything I need to write a well-informed paper at my
fingertips. Even if I can’t access the Analyst Institute, I intend to write about the effective GOTV
methods Issenberg identified.

Annotated Bibliography
Jerdonek, Christopher. “Bringing the Election to the Voters with Instant Runoff Voting.”
National Civic Review 95.4 (Winter 2006): 48-53. Print.
The essay makes an evidence-based argument for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) election
reform, which can increase voter participation without increasing election cost. IRV is used to
determine a majority winner in a single election. Voters mark candidates in order of preference
but are not obligated to mark more than one candidate. Then, the ballot count proceeds like a
series of runoff elections. The first round counts first choice votes. If no candidate wins a
majority, the second round begins. The candidate who received the fewest votes drops out, and
voters for that candidate have their second choice counted. This process repeats until one
candidate wins a majority of the vote. In 2004, the city of San Francisco began using IRV for
local elections and has seen a dramatic increase in voter participation, particularly among poor
and non-white voters. Before San Francisco implemented IRV, if no candidate won a majority,
the city held runoff elections in December. Turnout for December runoffs was dangerously low.
In 2001, only 17% of registered voters participated in the runoff election for city attorney. In
2005, no candidate one a majority of first choice ballots for assessor-recorder, which would
have required a run-off election in December had it not been for IRV. “IRV permitted…turnout
to spill over, for free, to the decisive round of the runoff.” Based upon the turnout of the 2001
runoff, one estimates that 70,000 voters would have participated in the 2005 runoff.
Participation with IRV was then a 168% increase. The increase is likely an underestimate
because the assessor-recorder runoff would have attracted less attention than the city-attorney
runoff. The five neighborhoods with the highest percentages of non-whites had the highest
increases in participation. In Oakland, a referendum was placed on the ballot to replace local
primaries with IRV voting in November. Oakland’s nonpartisan primaries attract 35% fewer
voters than its November elections, but three out of four races are decided in the primary and do
not even proceed to the November election. Oakland IRV would increase voter participation by
50% in predominately Caucasian communities and 100% in predominately non-Caucasian
communities.2 IRV merges a low turnout races with high turnout races, bringing the election to
the voters, not vice versa.
Although voter participation and election reform is of great interest to me, I doubt I will use
Jerdonek’s research in my paper. It is undeniable that IRV greatly increases voter participation;
however, it is applicable in very few cases. Most elections do not require that a candidate
receives a majority of the votes to be elected, so most elections don’t hold runoffs at all.
Additionally, IRV voting is not universally applicable to primary elections. IRV can only replace
nonpartisan primaries, which are both controversial and rare. Simply put, IRV reform is
unrealistic. While comprehensive reform is attractive, it may be wiser to pursue less radical
albeit less effective methods of voter mobilization.

2 “A census tract is predominantly something if that something makes up at least
60% of the Voting Age Population.”

Annotated Bibliography
Kennedy, Liz. “Protecting the Freedom to Vote.” National Civic Review 101.3 (Fall 2012): 3137.
Kennedy’s essay makes an argument in favor of the passage The Voter Empowerment Act of
2012 (VEA). Kennedy claims that the right to vote is undermined by systematic weakness as
well as direct, purposeful attacks on voting rights. According to Kennedy, the first challenge to
“protecting the freedom to vote” is registration. In 2008, the voting rate for registered voters was
90% while the voting rate of the voting age population was 64%.3 It follows then that increasing
registration should increase participation. Currently, the burden of registration is placed on
citizens; however, the VEA automates the registration process and transfers the burden to the
government. While automated voter registration should greatly increase participation, some
prospective would inevitably fall through the cracks and find themselves unregistered on
Election Day. The VEA anticipates and accounts for this circumstance with Same Day
Registration, which enables unregistered voters to register and cast their ballots on Election Day.
“Coupling automated voter registration with Same Day Registration, as proposed in the VEA,
offers an opportunity to create a truly universal voter registration system where every eligible
citizen can participate in our elections.” The VEA contains several more provisions to combat
threats to the right to vote. The act outlaws “Voter Caging,” which is the practice of mailing
voters to confirm their status as registered voters and using returned mail, or rather, the lack
thereof, to generate lists used to purge registration lists. The law would also outlaw knowingly
providing voters with false information with the “intent to prevent” them voting, enhance
provisions of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, provide assurances for the
integrity of election officials, and establish a national standard to reincorporate ex-felons into the
In a purely statistical sense, Kennedy’s argument is unquestionably compelling, but the
essay is rather incendiary and a much of her argument is loosely based in anecdotal evidence and
appeals to pathos. She describes the American voter registration system as an archaic and evil
institution, which systematically disenfranchises minorities and the poor, through carefully
crafted “bureaucratic chicanery,” a description which is a bit off-putting to say the least. She
alienates by claiming they are largely responsible for the intentional disenfranchise of the
American electorate, but instead of evidentiating her claim with examples of legislation, she cites
the writing of a far right politico, Paul Weyrich, a man who is hardly representative of the beliefs
or actions of the Republican Party. She quotes Martin Luther King Jr. in a poorly disguised
attempt to develop her argument emotionally and build credibility. Instead of developing her
argument and credibility, the quote highlights her lack of substance. While I agree with the
legislation Kennedy champions in her essay, because she is unable to develop a coherent and
effective argument, I do not think I will be using her essay.

3 The voting age population (VAP) can be a misleading statistic because it includes
convicted felons, who’ve had their right to vote revoked. Voting eligible population
(VEP) is a more accurate statistic.

Annotated Bibliography
Kohut, Andrew. “Regular Voters, Intermittent Voters, and Those Who Don’t: WHO VOTES,
WHO DOESN’T, AND WHY.” Pew Research Center for the People and & the Press. The
Pew Charitable Trusts, 18 Oct. 2006. Web. 6 Oct. 2014.
The report, based on a survey conducted in association with the Associated Press, explores
the attitudinal and demographic differences among regular voters, intermittent voters, registered
but rare voters, and unregistered voters, particularly differences between regular and intermittent
voters. Regular voters constitute 35% of the adult population and report that they always vote;
intermittent voters constitute 20% of the population and report less certainty of voting; registered
but rare voters constitute 23% of the population and rarely make it to the polls, and finally
unregistered voters constitute 22% of the population and say they are not registered. Intermittent
voters make up the single most important “swing” group. If one party is better able to mobilize
its intermittent voters, then it will be more successful in elections. The most important difference
between intermittent and regular voters is that six-in-ten intermittent voters say they don’t know
enough to make informed decisions at the polls compared to 44% of regular voters. Intermittent
voters are also characterized by feelings of boredom. Intermittent voters are more likely to be
mistrustful of others. Their mistrust may prevent them from interpersonal connections that lead
to political participation. They are less likely to have been contacted by a candidate or party
encouraging them to vote. Intermittent voters are less educated and affluent than regular voters,
but like regular voters, they do feel guilty when they don’t vote, and they acknowledge the
impact of their votes. Unregistered voters are more socially isolated than more active groups.
30% claim it is too difficult for them to get to the polls, which may suggest that despite
registration and voting reform (e.g. Motor-Voter Laws) there are still barriers to political
participation. The remaining 70% of unregistered voters does not give a dominant reason for
failing to register. Some say they don’t have time; others say they have recently moved; still
others say they just don’t care. Compared to intermittent, rare, and unregistered voters, regular
voters are more affluent, educated, religious, older, and more likely to be white. Non-voters are
more likely to Democrats than Republicans.
The Pew research report has of course provided many useful statistics for my research,
many of which I hope to incorporate into my paper, but much more importantly, it has
dramatically narrowed my research focus. Before reading the paper, I was only hesitantly
dabbling in voter mobilization research. Now, I know that I want to focus on the topic. The paper
highlighted several reasons for failure to participate including boredom and lack of information,
which I can now research. Hopefully, I will be able to find and advocate innovative solutions to
increase participation across all demographics. In addition to narrowing my research, the paper
also made me aware of the challenges facing participation and registration reform. For instance,
the partisan make-up of intermittent voters explains widespread Republican resistance to reform.
The paper represents my first sure step towards writing a successful and informative paper of
voter mobilization.

Annotated Bibliography
Lessig, Laurence. “We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim.” TED. 3 April 2013.
Lessig begins his talk by describing a country known as Lesterland, which is statistically
identical to the United States. It has 311 million residents, .05% of whom, or 144 thousand, are
named Lester. Each election cycle, there are two elections: the Lester election, in which the
Lesters vote, and the general election, in which the people vote. The general election decides the
ultimate winner, but a candidate must perform exceptionally well in the Lester election to run at
all in the general election. Candidates must work to please the Lesters as well as the people,
creating “conflicting dependencies.” The United States is Lesterland, says Lessig. Instead of the
Lester election, there is a money election, in which “funders” vote. Funders are the .05% of
Americans who donate the maximum amount of money. Within this influencial class, there are
132 people who gave 60% of superPAC money in 2012. According to the Supreme Court, “the
citizens have the ultimate influence,” but this is only after the funders have had their way with
the candidates. Elected officials spend 30%-70% of their time fundraising. Of course, they target
funders, and as they do so, they adjust their actions and opinions to be more attractive to the
funders and become dependent on the funders. Candidates are dependent on the funders as well
as the people. In a sense, we have a democracy, but it is undermined by these “competing” often
“conflicting dependencies. In Federalist 52, Madison described congress as a branch “that would
be dependent upon the people alone,” but there is an increasing dependence on the funders. So
long as the funders are not representative of the people, this is a “corruption.” It may be a bipartisan corruption, but funders have established “an economy of influence” to preserve the
status quo and block reform. No issue, from climate change to tax reform, can be tackled
effectively while this corruption obstructs reform. The solution is simple: spread the “funder”
influence by enacting a law to establish “small-dollar-funded elections” and “citizen-funded
campaigns. The corruption can be defeated, not by being a Republican or a Democrat, but by
“being citizens.”
Lessig’s TED talk was very well organized and put together. His extended Lesterland
metaphor drew attention to the absurdity the “conflicting dependencies” afflicting American
government. He made a very convincing 3-point argument we have failed to maintain the
representative democracy envisioned by the founders, supported by both statistics and anecdotal
evidence. He concluded his speech with a very stirring call to action, which I am compelled to
answer in my paper and my project, but I hesitate. I hesitate because although Lessig asserted
that funder corruption is a “solvable issue,” he didn’t really outline a clear solution. His calls for
“citizen-funded campaigns” and “small-dollar-funded elections” were vague at best. He listed
several campaign finance reform efforts, including Maryland Representative Sarbanes grassroots
reform, but a little research reveals that none of the efforts were notably successful. As much as
I’d like to believe that “love” can reform campaign finance, I just don’t think it’s going to
happen, but I may address the campaign finance reform in my paper.

Annotated Bibliography
“Low Marks for the 2012 Election: Voters Pessimistic About Partisan Cooperation.” Pew
Research Center for the People & the Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts, 15 Nov. 2012. Web.
26 Oct. 2014.
The Pew report presents data on voter attitudes towards the 2012 presidential campaign and
candidates as well as polling data on attitudes towards partisan cooperation in the future. “On
most measures, voters’ views of the 2012 campaign fall short of the election four years ago.”
Only 58% of Democrats, gave Obama an A or B for the way he conducted himself (down from
76%), but three fourths of Republicans give Romney the same grade (up from 63% in 2008).
Party satisfaction remained constant among Democrats (90%) and increased to 60% among
Republicans. Both Republican and Democratic voters express increased dissatisfaction with
pollsters and the press, which received the lowest grade of any campaign players included in the
survey (32% of voters gave the press an A or B). Many voters (68%) say there was more
“mudslinging” than in previous elections, a substantial increase from 2008 (54%). In spite of
these criticisms, an overwhelming majority of voters (87%) say they learned enough from the
campaigns to make an informed decision, and only 28% of voters were not satisfied with the
choice of candidates. These results seem to contradict evident voter dissatisfaction. The internet
served as the primary source of information for nearly half of voters (47%), but it still trails
television (67%). Voters regarded the presidential debates in particular to be informative. Moving
forward, only 56% percent of voters, down from 67%, think Obama will be successful in his
coming term.
Although I am writing about voter mobilization and I intend to explore the reasons why
many don’t vote, it’s also very important that I have data on those who do vote to better
understand why people vote and what might dissatisfy those who are already taking advantage of
the system. If we could improve the system for those who already vote, we might succeed in
drawing nonvoters to the polls. One of the biggest reasons nonvoters give for not voting is
insufficient information on the candidates, but those who do vote don’t seem to have any trouble
accessing and analyzing candidate information. If we could raise awareness about the availability
of information and perhaps increase access to information to nonvoters, it is likely that we could
increase voter participation. Voters identify the internet and television as their primary sources of
information. Those who cannot afford access digital information might find it more difficult to
vote and may be more likely to stay home from the polls. Perhaps then, increasing the quality,
availability, and affordability of print sources, particularly nonpartisan print sources, could fill
the information void that nonvoters seem to be grappling with. There is also evident political
dissatisfaction among voters, which is likely to be multiplied among nonvoters. By studying the
root causes of voter dissatisfaction, we may be able to alleviate some of the dissatisfaction
among nonvoters and mobilize voters.

Annotated Bibliography
Mancini, Pia. “How to Upgrade Democracy for the Internet Era.” TED. 15 Oct. 2014. Lecture.
The Argentinian political system has remained the same since its inception 200 years ago.
“We are 20th century citizens doing our best to interact with 19th century design institutions that
are based on an information technology of the 15th century.” The government was designed with
an understanding that everyday citizens would have limited access to information, and the best
possible design under such parameters was one in which the few make daily decisions for the
many, while the many only vote once every couple of years. “The costs of participating in the
system are incredibly high.” You either need to have a great deal of wealth or devote your entire
life to politics. Finally, the language of the system “is done for lawyers, by lawyers.” All barriers
to information distribution have been lowered with the advent of internet, but the system expects
its citizens to remain “passive recipients of a monologue.” The system only produces two kinds
of results: “silence and noise.” Silence is political disengagement. There are those who say that
as citizens, we are naturally apathetic, but can citizens really be expected to go “the center of the
city, in the middle of a work day, to attend a hearing that has no meaningful impact whatsoever.”
Conflict is bound to arise, that is the noise. Even though citizens have access to the ballot boxes,
many still feel the need to take to streets to make their voices heard. “We must update the slogan
‘No taxation without representation,’ to ‘No representation without a conversation.’” In today’s
day and age, democracy can be so much more than just voting every couple of years. The most
important question we have to ask ourselves is “If the internet is the new printing press, what is
democracy for the internet era?” To answer her own question and to “upgrade democracy”
Mancini has built an app known as Democracyos. Democracyos allows for increased access to
information and provides a platform for conversation and debate. Every project that gets
introduced in Congress gets translated into basic language and explained on Democracyos, and
then users are able to “vote” on the bills and compare their own votes to how their
representatives are voting. Mancini offered the platform to traditional political parties to “build a
two-way conversation” with voters, but she failed. The parties were not willing to change the
way they make decisions, so the Democracyos organization funded its own political party in
which candidates would always vote according to the decisions their constitutients made on
Democracyos. The party didn’t win, but Democracyos became part of the conversation, and next
month, Congress, as an institution, is launching its own version of Democracyos to discuss three
pieces of legislation. We must use the internet to “translate noise and silence into signal in the
21st century.”
I don’t even have words for what I just watched. Democracyos is an incredible,
groundbreaking platform. It’s an absolutely revolutionary tool in the internet age. It offers
unprecedented connection between voters and their representatives in Congress. It uses the
power of information to redistribute power and give the people a meaningful voice. This is
exactly what I was looking for. Democracyos does more than get out the vote; it encourages
meaningful debate and issue analysis in everyday citizens and gives them an opportunity to truly
influence public policy. Real, honest-to-God, political participation at the fingertips of every man
and woman (who can afford a phone, tablet or computer) in Argentina. That’s priceless. It could
be the most meaningful change in government since the Greeks first developed democracy in

Annotated Bibliography
Athens two thousand years ago. I know it may not be possible, but if I could bring a similar
platform to the United States for my project, that would mean the world to me. Even if it may not
be possible now in high school, I’m not going to forget about Democracyos. I may very well
pursue the development of such a system in college or in my career. For now, I would be more
than happy to try to build a system with a similar function in local government, right here in
Howard County. It could change everything.
Miller, Claire. “How Social Media Silences Debate.” The New York Times. 26 Aug. 2014. Print.
It is true “people who use social media are finding new ways to engage politically.” That
being said, “there’s a big difference between political participation and deliberation.” Many
people may believe that the internet encourages debate, discussion, and political participation
because it can connect many diverse heterogeneous people and ideas and give “even minority
voices a bullhorn,” but researchers at the Pew Research center investigating the effect of the
internet on the spiral of silence have discovered that “the Internet reflects the offline world.”4
People gravitate toward like-minded friends and avoid expressing minority opinions. In some
ways, the social media actually deepens the spiral of silence by making it easier for people to
surround themselves with like-minded individuals, and in most cases, the choice to hide
divergent information isn’t a choice at all. “By tweaking their algorithms, [internet companies
and social media websites] show us more content from people who are similar to us” and hide
potentially divisive content. Meanwhile, harassment from online bullies hiding behind keyboards
who attack people who express their opinions further discourages meaningful debate. According
to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, people were much less likely to discuss
controversial topics on social media than in person, but “if Facebook users thought their
Facebook friends agreed with their position on the issue, they 1.9 more likely to join a discussion
there.” Social media creates a vicious culture of exclusion and discourages meaningful debate.
Miller’s editorial on a Pew Research study concerning the online spiral of silence could be very
important to my paper. It is true that much of the information I’ve consulted regarding online
political participation and the effects of social media on political participation, most notably a
study performed by the Analyst Institute, has indicated that social media can be used to increase
political participation. But Miller raises an important point: “there’s a big difference between
political participation and deliberation.” Democracy is reliant on informed decision-making. If
voters are selectively exposed to the opinions of their likeminded friends and organizations as
determined silently by computer generated algorithms, then are they truly informed? Voters
cannot be expected to decide between candidates when they are only exposed to very specific,
partisan information. Although the spiral of silence cannot be done away with, its effect can at
least be minimized by limiting the power of companies to distort information to more closely

4 The spiral of silence is a theory in behavioral science that says people are less
likely to express their views if they believe they differ from those of their friends,
family, and colleagues.

Annotated Bibliography
align with voters’ apparent preferences. I will admit that Miller’s words make me hesitate. Does
participation really matter if it’s devoid of discussion and meaningful debate?
“Nonvoters: Who They Are, What They Think.” Pew Research Center for the People and the
Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts. 1 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
The Pew Report conveys the results of a nationwide survey conducted in November 2012
to determine who nonvoters are and how their opinions compare to those of their voting
counterparts. On the whole, nonvoters are less educated, less affluent, and younger than likely
voters. Hispanics make up 21% of nonvoters, but only 7% of likely voters. By contrast, whites
make up 59% of nonvoters and three quarters of likely voters. Nonvoters were much more likely
to support Obama (59%) than Romney (24%), and they were also more likely (52%) to feel that
the government should do more to solve problems than voters. Unsurprisingly, nonvoters express
little interest in politics, don’t give much thought to the election and don’t tend to follow public
Although the data is undeniably relevant to my topic, I can’t help but feel somewhat
unimpressed by the report. I could have described just about every trend in the report without
glancing at it. Shocking as it may be, I was hoping it would have been slightly more in-depth. I
was hoping it would have explored the reasons why nonvoters choose not to participate in the
political system, but it did not. Of course I can use the statistics to introduce my topic and discuss
the immediate necessity of effective voter mobilization. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can use it
to develop my topic.

Annotated Bibliography

Petracca, Mark. “Elections Offer Only an Illusion of Participation.” The New York Times. 17
March 1988. Print.
In a letter to the Editor of The New York Times, Professor Mark Petracca makes an
argument that participation is not defined by the vote. He criticizes political pundits for
“lambasting the American public for its poor performance at the polls.” If Americans are
increasingly staying away from the polls, they are not to blame. Instead, “it is the new politics of
political consultants, mass media, public relations, polling, targeted mailings, and political action
committees,” which encourage Americans to “stay on the sidelines.” Americans don’t have the
means to participate in mechanisms that matter. Their votes are tallied, but their voices are not
heard. Get out the vote efforts may make the vote logistically easier, but “they will not make the
vote meaningful again unless voters are given back the instruments of electoral empowerment.”
With power in the hands of big business and wealthy interests, Americans are being actively
ignored by their representatives. Instead of attempting to make it easier to vote, get out the vote
efforts should focus on making the vote more meaningful by redistributing power and influence
in Washington.
This is the second source I’ve consulted that has suggested that political participation isn’t
a matter of logistics, but rather a question of influence. Petracca claims that Americans are aware
that “elections offer the only the illusion of participation” in a political system dominated by
special interests. I cannot tell you how much I agree with his claim that the root of the problem
lies in the distribution of power in Washington. Of course I will discuss this claim in my paper as
well as grassroots efforts to remedy it; I would be a fool to ignore his words, no matter how
incendiary they may be. But I fear that if Petracca is correct, there’s not much I can do to
influence participation with my project. Even well-funded efforts to redistribute influence
Washington are only marginally effective and have not produced meaningful change since the
1970’s (which has largely been reversed by Supreme Court decisions). Campaign finance and the
relationship between political influence and wealth are very difficult to discuss and even more
difficult to regulate. If Petracca is correct, there is not much I can do to impact participation in a
meaningful way; there’s not much any of us can do. That is terrifying. But it is important to note
that Petracca doesn’t present any statistical support for his claims, so there may be hope for us

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Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts, 1996. Web. 5 Oct.
The Pew Research center is a fact tank that informs the public about “the issues, attitudes,
and trends shaping America and the word.” Pew conducts, demographic research, media
analysis, social and political science research, and conducts public opinion polling. As a nonpartisan institution, the Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. Instead, the
organization simply reports and interprets data. The PewResearch Center for the People & the
Press is just one of seven research centers represented on the website. While other centers
concern religion, social trends, the internet, and global issues, the Center for the People & the
Press concerns domestic politics. The center offers access to published research papers and
survey analyses, as well as direct access to comprehensive datasets and polling methodology. A
homepage provides immediate access to up-to-the-minute research and data, and a search bar
provides quick access to entire papers as well as relevant sections of broader papers. Papers
range in length from several pages to 14 sections and over 200 pages. Each paper includes
visual depictions of data through graphs and charts, and graphs are often accompanied by links
to interactive graphs, which a reader can use to manipulate data parameters. And many papers
include author contact information.
I think that the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press will be an invaluable
source for my paper, but it can be rather intimidating. The research is easily accessible and the
papers aren’t written with lofty language and don’t require higher understanding of statistical
analysis, but 120+ page papers are obviously scary. I initially assumed that all of the research
was that extensive but some searching revealed that many of the papers were more accessible.
The direct access to data sets could also be very useful, but a cursory examination of several
data sets indicates that I may not be able to penetrate and use the data effectively. My favorite
features are the interactive graphs and research author contact information. Manipulation of the
graphs and the data they represent may allow me to better mold data to my thesis, while I can
use the author contact information to ask questions, enhance my understanding of the research,
and interview experts. I think the blend of professional and novice assistance provided by the
research center will enable me to use the site very effectively for my research.

Annotated Bibliography
Schultheis, Emily. “Political Advertisements Go Mobile for 2012 Elections.” Politico. 28 Nov.
2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
Geo-targeted mobile advertisement is becoming an increasingly common part of political
campaigns. Since its debut in the 2010 midterms, geo-targeted political ads have grown in
popularity dramatically. The technology allows “campaigns to reach voters where they are” and
can give specialized, persuasive information at a fraction of the cost of television advertisements.
Young people in particular are susceptible to the new form of advertising, but the trend is by no
means confined to youth. The fastest growing smartphone demographic is 55-64 year old adults.
Mobile ads are “more intimate” and the mobile market is “ripe…for campaigns as Americans
spend more and more time on their smartphones.” Campaigns around the country are finding
creative applications for mobile ads. For instance, in Florida, Senator George LeMieux targeted
the location of a shuttle launch with an ad that “associated his opponent with the end of the space
program.” Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia used the technology to get-out-the-vote
(GOTV) on Election Day by informing voters about where they could get free rides to the polls.
I know what you’re thinking, “You’re researching mobilization, why do you care about
mobile advertising?” Well why don’t you ask Representative Perriello? Geo-targeted
advertisements could be seamlessly and creatively incorporated into GOTV drives. GOTV
advertisements could direct voters to the nearest polling place, organize carpooling efforts, or
just remind voters to get out and vote. Even though there are no comprehensive academic studies
on geo-targeted mobile advertisements, the relatively inexpensive advertisements could easily
impact voter turnout. Moreover, the advertisements serve as a potentially effective means of
contacting the otherwise elusive youth demographic. Of course, I’ll bring up geo-targeted
advertisements when I discussing the youth mobilization in my paper.
Shopland, Jamie. Interview. 22 Oct 2014.
Jamie Shopland graduated from Hood College with a Bachelor of Arts in Law and
Society. She has held several positions in both the corporate and government sectors since her
graduation in 2012. In 2012, she served as the Deputy Maryland Data Director for the Obama
campaign before taking up a position as special assistant to Howard County Councilwoman Jen
Terrassa. Currently, Jamie is working as the Field Director of Courtney Watson’s Campaign for
Howard County Executive. She is responsible for coordinating the campaign’s volunteers,
interns, and activists as well as processing and analyzing the vast amount of data the campaign
collects on voter preferences and voter contact. Together with campaign manager Amanda
Pleasant, Jamie uses the data to design and implement cost-effective and efficacious campaign
strategy aimed at mobilizing the greatest number of voters. In Howard County, a county of
numerous yet complacent Democrats, voter mobilization is of particular importance. Her
experience mobilizing voters and designing mobilization strategy enables Jamie to offer expert
opinions on my research and recommend sources for further research. And as a member of the
exclusive Analyst Institute, Jamie has access to numerous classified Analyst Institute research
reports, which she has expressed interested in sharing with me.

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Stewart, Rory. “Why Democracy Matters.” TED 29 Oct. 2012. Lecture.
Rory Stewart is a British Member of Parliament (MP) who knows the world is losing
faith in democracy. In 2003, George W. Bush said in his State of the Union Address that
Democracy would bring peace to the world because respect for the citizens would translate into
respect for foreign nations and their citizens. Meanwhile, scholars argued that democracy would
bring prosperity and security, overcome sectarian violence, and ensure that states would not
harbor terrorists. Since then, democratic governments in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and
Saharan Africa have been plagued by corruption and have failed to provide any inherently
“democratic” benefits. Recent polls report that 84% of citizens in the United Kingdom think
“politics is broken”, and over 40% of Iraqi citizens want a monarchial government. Thus, one
might conclude that democracy has failed entirely, but Stewart says that it is not that democracy
has failed but rather that we are misconstruing its intrinsic value. “The point about democracy is
not that it delivers legitimate, effective, prosperous rule of law…Democracy matters because it
reflects an idea of equality of liberty. The idea that each individual should have an equal vote,
an equal say in the formation of their government.” To breathe new life into democracy, we
must remind ourselves that democracy is “a state of mind.” It’s not just about structure. It’s
about an interaction between politicians and their constituents. Politicians must be honest with
their constituents. They cannot continue to present themselves as “omniscient beings.” They
must also have the courage to tell their constituents that they don’t always know what’s best for
themselves. But constituents must allow their representatives to be honest. The media, which
mediates the relationship between politicians and their constituents, must allow politicians to be
honest. “It is necessary not just for the public to learn to trust their politicians, but for the
politicians to learn to trust the public.”
Stewart’s talk was thought provoking. We think of democracy as a vehicle to achieve
greater ends, and as a result, we allow ourselves to devalue democracy when we fail to achieve
those ends. Instead, we should value democracy’s instrinsic ability to mobilize the electorate
and empower the individual. But empowerment is dependent on the relationship between
politicians and their constituents, and in recent years, this relationship has crumbled. If we
revitalize this relationship; if we can restore trust and respect; if we can reduce dependency on
special interests, we can rejuvenate democracy itself. The thesis is a powerful one, but there is
no recipe for success. Laws and grassroots movements cannot repair this relationship. We have
to trust one another, but who takes the first step on the path towards honesty and openness? It is
unclear to me, and I believe it was unclear to Stewart, who could not even conclude his speech
with a call to action because he did not know whether the citizens should act or the politicians
should act. Who can act first? Stewart’s talk was beautiful, but perhaps, too idealized. I may
reuse his rhetoric, but not his content.

Annotated Bibliography
Teresi, H., & Michelson, M. R. “Wired to Mobilize: The effect of social networking messages on
voter turnout.” The Social Science Journal (2014). Print.
Teresi and Michelson’s study was designed to determine what effect-if any-political status
updates had on voter turnout. It was hypothesized that students exposed to political status
updates would be more likely to vote, especially young voters (i.e. less than 30 years of age) and
voters who share gender and cultural identities with the author (i.e. white women). The
researches friended 604 students at a large southern university 5 weeks before election. 300
students were put into the control group and exposed to apolitical status updates, and the
remaining 304 students were assigned to the treatment condition and exposed to a mixture of
apolitical and political status updates. The political status updates exposed test subjects to
general information regarding where and when to vote as well as the norm of the author’s own
political participation. Over five weeks leading up to the election, the control group was exposed
to 23 apolitical status updates, and the treatment group was exposed to 14 political status updates
and 9 apolitical updates (identical to 9 of the control group). The results supported the
hypotheses. 31% of the participants assigned to the treatment condition and exposed to political
status updates compared to 22.7% of participants assigned to the control condition. That is “a
massive and statistically significant difference of 8.22 percentage-points.” When restricting to
the test to young voters, the difference increases to about 11 percentage-points. The results are
similar to those of studies analyzing more traditional GOTV tactics including phone banking and
door-to-door canvassing, which are of course much more expensive and time consuming than
posting status updates.
The study is obviously relevant to voter mobilization, the intended topic of my research
paper. While somewhat muddled by dense statistical jargon, the results were easy enough to
understand: social media contact works. What’s more, the paper leaves work to be done. The
study did not address voter registration at all. It was performed after registration in the region
had closed, and the status updates didn’t provide information on registration nor did they
encourage it. If I were a college student, perhaps I could redesign and re-administer the
experiment to analyze registration rather than voter turnout, but alas, I am not. Instead, I will
include the research in my paper on voter mobilization in a discussion of effective tactics in the
digital age, and I will use social media to generate awareness for and interest in the voter
registration drive I intend to hold at Centennial.

Annotated Bibliography
Levine, Peter. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
Tufts University Jonathan M. Tisach College of Citizenship and Public Service, 2010. Web.
30 Sept. 2014.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or CIRCLE,
conducts research on “the civic and political engagement of young Americans.” The website
homepage features a slideshow cycling through pictures of featured research topics. Below the
slideshow, there are brief descriptions of the latest research conducted and links to the full
papers. For instance, at the top of the list is a paper on voter registration published on the 22nd.
Above the aforementioned slideshow, there are a series of dropdown menus titled. The first
menu, research topics, provides links to 15 subpages, each offering access to papers regarding a
specific research topic (e.g. Youth Demographics, Political Participation, and Civic
Knowledge). Next, a “Quick Facts” menu provides access to fact sheets concerning topics like
“Trends by Race, Ethnicity, and Gender” and “Youth Voting.” The next menu, “Research
Products”, provides access to research tools like data sets, maps, books, and working papers (indepth analyses of civic engagement topics). There are several other tabs, but the final menu
worth mentioning is the “About CIRCLE” menu. The menu contains an expert guide as well as
a contact us page, which provides a brief bio on each CIRCLE staff member as well as his or
her contact information.
CIRCLE’s website is the best thing to happen to my research since sliced bread. There are
no other words for what I’ve found. It’s a treasure trove of information and sources. Not only
does it provide access to up-to-the-minute research on civic engagement, but it also provides a
plethora of research tools to supplement my own studies. Instead of just relaying and reiterating
information provided by other authors, I may be able to truly conduct my own research and
reach my own conclusions using CIRCLE’s data sets, fact sheets, and working papers.
CIRCLE’s unique combination of research and researcher tools truly empowers young
researchers like myself. But that’s not all. I may also be able to use CIRCLE for human sources
thanks to the convenient contact us page. Perhaps, I’ll be able to sit down with a few senior staff
members or research consultants to discuss young voter mobilization strategies, trends, and
research. I am legitimately excited by CIRCLE’s website, and in the coming weeks, it may very
well become the foundation of my research.

Annotated Bibliography
“Youth Engagement Falls; Registration Also Declines.” Pew Research Center for the People &
the Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts. 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.
The Pew report on youth engagement in politics reports that “young voters are significantly
less engaged in this year’s election” than the 2008 election. Only 18% of young voters say they
follow campaign news very closely, that is just half of those who did so in 2008. Only 61% of
young voters say they are highly engaged in the campaign, down from 75% four years ago and
fully 25% behind the senior demographic, 86% of which is highly engaged. Although young
voters are much more likely to support Obama than Romney, “the drop in youth engagement
does not have a political tilt” partly because it is offset to falling participation among moderate
Republicans. Faltering participation is not limited to the youth demographic. Among the 40-64
year old demographic, there has been a 12-point decline in percentage of Obama supports giving
a lot of thought to the election and an 8-point decline among Romney supports. Only the senior
demographic appears impervious to decreasing participation. Voter registration rates, especially
among young voters, have also declined since 2008. There has been an 11 point registration
decline among young voters, a 9 point decline among voters aged 30-49, and a 4 point decline
among voters 50-64. Again, the senior demographic remains unaffected.
It goes without saying that I intend to call on many of these statistics when introducing my
topic, particularly when discussing the importance of youth voting. Clearly, the data indicates a
political participation crisis in America: political parties are increasingly unable to communicate
with and engage young voters. Again, I will use the Pew statistics to support my claim and my
argument for youth-targeted get-out-the-vote methods. While the article does help me develop
my argument for youth get-out-the-vote efforts, it also raises some important questions about
senior America. Most importantly, why exactly hasn’t participation fallen among senior citizens
in the last four years, and why is senior participation so much higher than the participation rates
among other demographics? If I can answer these questions, I believe I will be better able to
understand what drives voters to the polls and how I can help get them there.