John BerardJohn Berard

As with lawyers, it is often said of PR pros that those representing themselves have a fool for a client. I hope not.

Ever since the Electoral College diverged from the popular vote (again) and gave us President Trump, I have watched the systematic assault on the institutions and aspirational values of the nation.  It made me wonder why so few people voted in that election which, even before the evidence of 2017, was so important.

So now I have taken on myself as a client, hoping to promote www.6NOV18.com into a peer-to-peer movement that can get us and our friends to the polls for the next national election.

I am asking people to pledge to vote in our next national election on November 6, 2018.

Let me explain.

Donald J. Trump has fueled a vocal opposition whose activism helped defeat some policies unacceptable to a majority of Americans.  But, until legislators now enabling the President are turned out, little more can be done.

That chance next comes on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 when all of Congress and much of the Senate are up for election.  The question is: Will people turn out? Because #Resistance without voting is just noise.

Voting is the most basic, simple, civic act of democracy.  Yet the turnout in the United States doesn’t crack the top 25 of developed nations. Ever. As a result, politics and governance are not guided by national demographics but by the narrower traits of those who vote.

President Trump’s election is more than enough evidence of the problem.  Last November, of the 244 million American’s eligible to vote, only 200 million were registered and just 136 million went to the polls.  

Right now, most efforts to change that are focused on the vote’s supply side -- ensuring people have the chance to vote.  These efforts take the form of challenging restrictive voter ID laws, undoing gerrymandered districts and promoting ways to register and where to vote.   

This is good and important work, but it will take time.  Right now, outcomes can be affected if the millions of people who already can vote, do vote.  That is the mission of #6NOV18 – a name taken from the date of the next national election.  The focus is on the vote’s demand side; stoking the desire for people who have a right to vote to register and cast it.

That’s because -- when national elections can turn, as the last one did, on 33,000 votes out of 136 million cast -- raw vote matters. It will matter quite a lot on #6NOV18.  And when the supply side efforts create additional opportunity to participate in our democracy, raw vote will matter even more.

So, “Why don’t people vote?” That question has long drawn the attention of social scientists.  Out of all of it has come some actionable insights, including this: People are more likely to vote if the people they know vote. 

This makes all those “I voted” stickers we get on election day too late to have an effect on others. We need to be more upfront; earlier and more often. We need to let our friends know now we are voting in November.

#6NOV18 – whether on Twitter @6NOV18, on Facebook at /6NOV18 or online at www.6NOV18.com -- seeks to rally those who vote in a way that can rally those they know to vote, too. It is a way to channel all the awareness, interest and anger into the one act that can restore national values to the nation.  Come Tuesday, November 6, 2018, there is a chance to be heard in meaningful ways. It falls to each of us and those we know. 

Are you in?  Sign on, say so and show up at www.6NOV18.com.

If you have a question or a suggestion, you can reach me at answers@6nov18.com.

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John Berard, a veteran of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, FleishmanHillard and Zeno Group, is an advisor to a small group of public relations agencies; each of which partners with his firm Credible Context to add geographic reach, subject matter expertise or talent in support of client initiatives.