Graphic by Kate Strassman

Momentum for Vote by mail surges

Are Americans too scared to vote?

Six months before the presidential election on November 3, America is having a serious conversation about HOW we’re going to vote, which is gaining as much momentum as WHO we are going to vote for.

The topic of “voting by mail” is experiencing a surge of momentum, rising from 14 to 62 in the past 4 months. It has so much momentum, in fact, that it has an MFactor score almost as high as Democratic nominee, Joe Biden (MFactor of 69).

WHAT IS DRIVING VOTE BY MAIL’S MOMENTUM TODAY: A POLARIZED DEBATE OF SAFETY VS. FRAUD

As we dig into what is driving the momentum today, we see a polarized debate along partisan lines, with President Trump leading the charge against it. “Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters,” he said, although he himself had just cast an absentee ballot in the Florida primary. “They’re fraudulent in many cases.”

Concerns about fraudulent voting have existed for decades; there is consensus on the need for fair and representative elections. The fear over voter safety is new — in America, at least — and is led by the most indefatigable voters — seniors — who worry that waiting in line in mass-populated voting stations could become a dangerous health risk.

ADJUSTING TO NEW NORMS FOR THE SAFETY OF VOTERS AND POLL WORKERS

Looking ahead, it’s feasible that in-person voting will be a risk to public health in November. Imagine the difficulty of forcing fifty people in a school gymnasium to practice social distancing; or the effort involved in wiping down the voting booths and machines, replacing pencils / stylists and protecting the workers, who have typically been mostly seniors. Even with all the precautions in the Wisconsin primary last month, over fifty poll workers and voters contracted the virus.

Other industries are putting new plans into place to adjust to new norms and ensure consumer and employer safety. Why should voting in the 2020 election be an exception? We’ve seen grocery consumers already show newfound respect for the team members and delivery people — who went from fighting to make a fair living wage to being heroes serving us on the frontlines. We expect sentiment toward poll workers to be the same — why put them at risk when there’s an alternate solution.

MOMENTUM IS BEHIND FINDING A SAFER VOTING SYSTEM

As studies prove that there is no evidence that voting by mail benefits one party over another, like the one conducted by the Democracy & Polarization Lab of Stanford University in April 2020, the conversation is shifting toward safety: how do we have an election that voters will feel safe participating in, both for themselves and for those who operate the voting stations.

HOW TO GAIN MOMENTUM FOR A SAFE ELECTION

With an MFactor for COVID-19 that has been trending toward 100 for months, we know COVID-19 concerns will linger throughout the fall.

Changing the voting system from in-person to mail cannot be a “wait and see” situation. To gain support and have infrastructure in place for a process that makes voters feel safe, precautionary measures must be taken months in advance.

“Voting by mail” needs to hit all 5 drivers of momentum for us to come to a process that ensures voters feel safe in November:

  • DISRUPTION: Change it from an “election day” to “election process” by extending the period of time to vote by mail, providing an opportunity for everyone to vote over a period of time at their convenience.
  • INNOVATION: Implement our first country-wide vote-by-mail system. We have tried a number of new processes as we’ve been sheltering at home that have exceeded our expectations. Voting by mail might be the next one.
  • POLARIZATION: The “fraud vs. safety” debate is healthy as it gets more people engaged in the topic of voting by mail
  • STICKY: Creating inclusivity in the voting system for the first time will leave a lasting impact on society.
  • SOCIAL IMPACT: Voting by mail will create a truly representative 2020 election because voters will feel safe participating in it.

What’s to come — Momentum for the United States Postal Service?

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What is MFactor?

The MFactor is our proprietary algorithm that quantifies Cultural Momentum. The MFactor is a single score that is based on the Newtonian definition of Mass times Velocity. The MFactor can be tracked over time to compare anything you google:

  • People of interest (any political candidates/politicians, celebrities, artists, etc.)
  • Political issues / movements / trends
  • Brand/Product (e.g. across any industry or subcategory)

Our data has consistently been ahead of trends. Why?

We go beyond traditional methods (social media analytics, polling, etc.) by using data science algorithms to compute new metrics that reflect polarization and how “sticky” the issue is — how much people want to talk about and debate it and how emotionally invested they are in their position (velocity) — which is how things work in the real world.

Momentum Maker, Author of Maximum Momentum, Founder & CEO of Decode_M