Gen Z: Activating the Youth Voter Turnout

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Case Study: HeadCount

Historically, young eligible voters are the most difficult to get to the polls, even for an extremely competitive Presidential race. We worked with HeadCount to meet Gen Z where they are, appeal to their challenges, and communicate with them on their level.

The Challenge 

Statistically speaking, driving youth voter turnout is a big, big challenge. Over the course of our nation’s history, turnout among the 18-29 age range peaked in 2008, during Barack Obama’s historic presidential run, at just under 50%. But beyond that single race, the percentage of eligible youth voters that actually cast a vote ranges between upper teens, for midterm election years, to upper thirties for general election races that include the race for the Oval Office.

The Strategy

There are a million reasons why young voters don’t head to the polls, and the last thing they would respond to is another authority figure telling them why voting matters. They will, however, listen to each other.

There are passionate, active voters in their midst, and by connecting with them, we could educate and encourage them to speak up with their friends who say they won’t vote. So instead of looking at all of eligble Gen Z voters, we opted to focus on these passionate pollsters, turning them from voters to influencers in their peer groups.

We worked with HeadCount to provide them with a game plan on how to talk to their friends about voting. In our initial concepting, we compared it to other difficult or awkward things they already talk about with their friends to make them feel more comfortable.

If you can talk about racism, you can talk about voting.

If you can talk about cancel culture, you can talk about voting.

If you can talk about your anxiety, you can talk about voting.

Visually, we leveraged HeadCount’s primary typeface “Cactus Bold” with slight alterations to add interest and create a more unfinished, and organic look. The type treatment was combined with more playful, yet clean illustration. This established a visual style that could be modified based on the topic.

We focused on Instagram as our platform, as it skews towards a younger audience and created carousel images since they’re easy to share in Instagram stories. Frame by frame, these images provided a guide on how to talk to friends, what to say when they raised objections, and resources to help our new influencers, and their newly-educated friends.

Implementation

  • Listening to the Voters

    After initial concepting, HeadCount saw that a blunt headline of “So your friends aren’t voting…” resonated better with our target audience, as did using photographs over illustrations.

    What resulted from our collaboration was a collection of guides that were shared widely across Instagram by passionate voters, aiding in conversations, and getting the youth vote out to the ballot box in an especially polarizing national race.

Results

These guides, and the conversations they helped foster, helped HeadCount hit a new organizational milestone: over 1,000,000 (yes – one million) new voters registered across the nation.

Additionally, youth voter turnout was up to Obama ’08 numbers – between 52-55% of eligible 18-29 year olds voted in the 2020 Presidential Race.

Ready to drive growth and impact through digital strategies?