An Introvert’s Guide to Talking to Voters

In a recent email from the national Indivisible organization (which was founded AFTER Indivisible AVL, by the way!), co-director Leah Greenberg addressed beautifully one of the big objections we hear from people who shy away from canvassing. If you’re an introvert, please read! And then sign up for our next canvass here.

“Election season is in full swing! So I wanted to write about a subject that’s very close to my heart: doing voter contact when you’re an introvert.

“If you’ve met me or seen me speak, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a shy person. Back when Indivisible went viral in 2017, I was terrified of public speaking (sometimes I still am). I’m an open introvert. I’m happiest at home with a book.

“But I LOVE voter contact. I’ve been canvassing since I was fourteen. I logged 25,000 steps a day for Hillary in Philly in 2016. I hopped on Indivisible’s phonebanking system to call voters while I was taking care of my newborn in 2020. And this year, I just got back from knocking doors along with southern California Indivisibles for two key House races.

“Here are the three reasons why I, as an introvert, love voter contact (and you will too):

  1. “When I do voter contact, I’m on a mission. If you drop me into a party where I don’t know anyone and ask me to mingle for an hour, I’m going to run away. But if you hand me a walksheet and tell me to go knock on the doors of thirty low-propensity Democratic voters, I’m in. What’s the difference? With voter contact, I’m not just having idle social interactions. I’ve got a job. I’ve been trained up to do my job. And I can make it into a game. How many doors can I hit? Can I have at least three good conversations, the kind that seem like they really might make the difference, in a shift? That’s when things get fun.
  2. Voters are interesting and I learn stuff from talking to them.  Real people — their life stories, their ideas, their decisions — are so much more fascinating than the caricatures we often reduce them to in politics. When you have a conversation with a voter, you’re watching in real time as they grapple with competing needs, pressures, hopes and fears — often in ways that will surprise you. Connecting to other humans, and fully appreciating how weird and complicated and delightful they are, is really rewarding. And you don’t need to be a charismatic social butterfly to do it well — you just need to be curious, empathetic, and a good listener. (We introverts are great at that!)What’s more, talking to voters gives you the chance to test your own approaches, to see for yourself what works and what doesn’t. You might be out there trying to persuade people, or to get out the vote — but at the same time, you’re learning yourself.
  3. “”Nothing breaks the cycle of election anxiety like doing the work. If you’re a politically engaged person (and you’re on this list, so you probably are), you’re probably in an increasingly nervous state right now. You know that this election is do-or-die for democracy. You’re following the polls. You’re doom-scrolling through updates on social media. You’re bouncing between a confusing combination of hope, fear, and helplessness.Voter contact is the cure. When you’re talking to a voter, you’re not on the sidelines anymore — you’re taking action. And the data is really clear: having conversations directly with voters is the single best and most important thing you as a volunteer can do to win an election. Taking action will make you feel powerful, connected, and like part of the solution. It’s kind of like going to the gym — you know you’re going to feel better afterwards (and hey, if you canvass, you also do enough walking that you get to skip the gym!).”

We couldn’t agree more!