2020 Election Challenge*
Your “Election Challenge” is to use psychology to persuade at least three people to vote for a U.S. presidential candidate of your choice on Tuesday, November 3. In each case, these people should be individuals who would otherwise vote for another candidate or would not vote at all.
Why does leadership at the federal level matter? It matters because it can affect issues that are most important to you. Whether you are passionate about student debt, immigration, economic spending allocation (to schools, defense, the social safety net, etc.), social justice, or other issues, both local and national level leadership make a big difference.
Part I. “Approach” three people
In this part of the assignment, your task is to get at least three people to vote for the U.S. presidential candidate of your choice. Use social psychological principles in your persuasive appeal. These people can be:
- Registered voters who were planning to support a candidate other than yours
- Registered voters who were not planning to vote in this election
- Unregistered voters whom you persuade to register and vote for your candidate
Note: You can “approach” anyone (given social distancing and CDC guidelines) face-to-face, online, via face time or zoom. I would not recommend approaching total strangers online as they may not give you the time needed. Also, please note that you don’t need to change minds to get credit for the assignment; the challenge is simply to make your best effort and analyze the experience. Even if you’re not eligible to vote in the upcoming U.S. election, see if you can persuade three eligible voters to support your chosen candidate. To make the assignment as fair as possible, students who are U.S. citizens should not trade their own vote in order to persuade others to support their candidate, and they should not count their own vote among the three.
Keep in mind that it usually much easier to convince people to vote*, than to convince them to vote for your candidate. Voter turn out matter too! The more people who are able to vote, the more our leadership represent the voice of the people. One way to boost voter turn-out is via personal conversations between people who trust each other. (Links to an external site.)
Part II: Write About Your Experience
Turn in a one or two-page description of your activities, the reactions people had, and your best estimate of how many votes you ultimately secured for your candidate. When drafting your paper, make sure it explicitly discusses at least three concepts from the course. For example, you could use concepts related to source attributes, routes to persuasion, fear appeals, foot in the door technique, foot in the face technique, cognitive dissonance, attitude inoculation, etc. Please see the text for more ideas.
FYI: How and where to register to vote: Nationally (Links to an external site.) or if you live in Texas (Links to an external site.)
*If you find that you do not want to do this assignment, you can opt-out. Instead, turn in a paper that focuses on using psychology (and in particular the concepts from this unit) to increase voter turnout. You will need to discuss at least 3 concepts from the text and find one empirical, peer-reviewed journal article on the topic to support your conclusions.
(c) Jamie Hughes 2020 (adapted from action teaching.org)
THE LINK FOR personal conversations between people who trust each other https://qz.com/1449789/votewithme-app-shows-if-friends-and-family-voted/
THE LINK FOR NATIONALLY https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote