Turnout turns into Victory

The Detroit News ran this story today entitled “Unlikely voters pick Kilpatrick,” which described the Mayor’s effectiveness in mobilizing “uncommon” voters. To be clear, an “uncommon” voter is defined here as one how has never or has rarely voted in the past (excluding 1st time voters).

The story drives home an important point for all those who are interested in the electoral process: inspiring action will lead to victory, whereas inspiring apathy leads to defeat. An example used in the story is a middle-aged, unemployed, “uncommon” voter. This man should have been chomping at the bit to vote for the challenger, but instead he cast his ballot in favor of the incumbent. Why? I say it’s because he was inspired enough to say that I want to give this guy another chance, and not willing to take his chances on not voting (remaining “uncommon”) and letting other citizens decide who his Mayor would be.

All candidates care about mobilizing their “base,” their core of supporters who back them no matter what. Truly effective campaigning, however, is about reaching far beyond that to form relationships with what this article terms “unlikely voters.” It’s easy to get people excited about something or someone they are already excited about. The challenged is inciting that same passion in the otherwise uninterested.

As I’ve stated in this blog before, I support the Mayor in his second term. I applaud the efforts by his team to mobilize Detroiters to vote. I see the recount as an activity that will solidify the already certified victory. I am encouraged through conversations with the Mayor that he will not be on our list next year to be the incumbent people vote against.


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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