By Manuel Pastor, Gihan Perera, & Madeline Wander
In some sense, integrated voter engagement (IVE) is not all that new: its basic argument is that voters need to be contacted and involved between elections and not just during elections. What is new is that it is being practiced now by state-based groups more rooted in grassroots organizing than in electoral machinations, more aimed at creating a permanent infrastructure for civic engagement than in electing any one candidate or party, more focused on seeing an electoral moment as simply one way to build a long-lasting movement that can achieve steady momentum on social justice.
In this report, the authors detail what IVE is, why it is important now, and how it played out in the state of Florida in 2012, with some comparisons to experiences in other states, including California, Ohio, and Virginia.
They suggest that IVE holds great promise for scaling up change.
- For one, organizations build up their contact lists as they knock on doors and in the year following, work to turn those contacts into new members who will turn out for policy campaigns.
- Second, IVE takes neighborhood concerns and addresses them by equipping community members to get the people and policies into place that will positively affect their neighborhood.
- Third, because it requires social movement organizations to reach beyond their own comfort zone—to mobilize thousands, not hundreds—it creates a practice of “moving the middle” through values-based approaches that can widen the base of supporters for social justice.