Increasing Voter Participation in Indiana
The freedom to vote is the among the United States’ most important political rights outside of the original Bill of Rights, and arguably the most hard-won privilege. According to the Indiana Election Division, only 1,873,281, or 58% of registered Indiana residents, cast a ballot in the November 2016 election. This turnout was identical to the 2012 general election, but down from 2,805,986 in 2008 general election. In 2014, the United States Elections Project estimated that Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the country for the 2014 midterm elections in which only 30% of registered Indiana residents cast a ballot. As such, this project is driven by three main goals: 1) understand and identify why voters, specifically between the ages of 18 and 24, are staying home on election day; 2) explore what it means for young people to be civically engaged in contemporary America in meaningful ways; and 3) develop a transmedia experience that engages this audience in the hopes that it will encourage them to become more involved in their political systems. To address these two important concerns, two main activities will be employed. First, ethnographic and empathy research will examine how and to what extent young people value their personal roles in the American political process. Semi-structured interviews will comprise the bulk of this research. Additionally, design thinking with young audiences will explore both why young people aren’t voting in greater numbers, as well as what might motivate them to do so. These methods offer a human-centered approach that places the audience at the heart of the issues at hand.