Data collected by the Pew Research Center in 2014 found that only half of the least financially secure Americans are registered to vote, and only one-fifth planned to cast a ballot in that year’s midterm election. These voters also didn’t follow politics very closely — only a quarter knew which party controlled Congress, and only 14 percent had gotten in touch with an elected official in the last two years.
“Most people are registered to vote but you’ll find that they’re not turning out to vote,” says Alexandra Gallo, an organizer with West Virginia Citizen Action Group who participated in a panel on rural organizing. “They don’t feel that it matters or that it’s going to make a difference, or they don’t want to vote for the lesser of two evils.”
“You don’t just show up and knock on people’s doors,” she continues. “You have to develop trust. They want to know why you’re there. How long you plan to stay. And usually, when people are showing up, they assume that they have some money associated with their being there that probably will never get to the community.”