Running an election is challenging enough — you coordinate the country’s largest single-day workforce, you manage an intensive chain-of-custody, you prepare multiple overlapping ballot styles, you convert historic churches into temporarily accessible polling places, you audit and canvass the votes — the list goes on.
But on top of running an election, you also need to convince people to show up.
Voter turnout is relatively decent during presidential elections, but midterms are another story. According to the Election Performance Index, in 2014 Maine had the highest turnout at 59% and Texas had the lowest at 28%. These numbers are decidedly low, and there’s no easy way to raise them.
That’s why Cumberland County, New Jersey took a creative approach: a county-wide turnout competition where the winning municipality earns bragging rights and a beautiful glass-blown trophy.