Expanding the Franchise:

How the Right Question Strategy can turn non-voters into new voters

I see that if I don’t vote, then other people are going to keep making decisions for me. This, at least, gives me a chance to have a say in who’s going to be making those decisions.

-Adult learner in a literacy program, Indiana


Voting rates among low-income Americans are the lowest of all population groups. Traditional voter engagement efforts have barely moved the needle. 

We are ready to change that. At RQI, we have learned from people in low-income communities around the country about the obstacles to their participating in decisions that affect them. They have named what is stopping them from voting: They do not feel their voice matters, and they do not see the connection between their lives and the decisions elected officials make.

The unique, nonpartisan, and scalable Right Question Voter Engagement Initiative offers an educational strategy designed to increase voting rates for the long term.

The Right Question Strategy helps people learn to ask their own questions, participate more effectively in decisions, and see connections between services they receive and decisions made by elected officials. We have seen over and over again the transformative effect of the strategy, as it allows people to develop a sense of agency and see for themselves the value of voting.

The Right Question Strategy can be used in many settings: with individuals in one-on-one social service contexts, in workshops, or in group-learning experiences. It is a free, simple, and powerful way to bring more people into the voting booth.

Our democracy urgently needs to hear the voices of people who have traditionally not voted.

You can join our effort and become a democracy builder!

The “Why Vote?” Tool

Use this resource to engage potential new voters. Through this process, participants think about connections between services they receive and decisions elected officials make, and they see for themselves the value of voting.

Voter Engagement Workshop: Asking the Right Questions About Voting

Use these presentation slides in a group setting to facilitate a voter engagement workshop using the Right Question Strategy.

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I thought about things that never would have crossed my mind. I really want to vote now and I feel much better prepared to vote!

I was always trying to figure out how to get my students to see why they should vote, but I never had an effective way for doing it. The Right Question Strategy is amazing. It works like magic. It gets them to see on their own why voting is important.

I don’t think I have ever had a student who have voted before, except maybe voting for homecoming queen or teacher of the year. Other than that they never voted in an election to the city council, the school board or anything else… After doing the workshop many students gained an appreciation voting is a right and is an important freedom… had quite a few that actually voted. They come back really proud. They went to the county elections and voted for the school board. It actually makes a difference.

I learned that my opinion counts.

Students were more engaged than ever. They came back the next day excited about conversations they are having with other people about the election. They are more motivated to vote and feeling more confident about their ability to understand what’s going on and to have a say in the elections.


Catalyze Democratic Participation in New Ways:
Our Vision of Microdemocracy

Learn More
Discover how teaching effective participation skills to people using social services can lead to traditional democratic action such as voting

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