Voter turnout can vary widely across states and within cities and counties, even when structural factors are the same. A shared sense of responsibility among residents for taking care of their communities may be part of the explanation.
To increase voter turnout, other approaches are needed—ones intended not to inflame passions about what may be at stake in a particular election but instead to connect more voters to the process of voting and to the value of participating in our democracy.
Changing from winner-take-all single member districts, which limit voters' choices and races' competitiveness, to a multi-party system could significantly increase voter turnout.
Studies of voter registration systems around the world and recent reforms in the United States suggest that automatic voter registration can significantly increase registration rates and enhance turnout.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Stanford Social Innovation Review have partnered to publish a 15-part series of articles exploring whether and how philanthropy and nonprofits can improve US voter turnout and civic participation.