Ok, I feel I better break it down into several points and before I answer the question "How can we engage more people in the democratic process?" , I think we have to look at of what makes the people turn away or "not care enough" to begin with.
There are several reasons, none of them is outweigh the other, but it's more like a collection of reasons, depending on of whom we talk about.
1. Don't care. Don't care, because don't like to intellect or don't like to be socially active and just want to live with a good supply of burgers and soda and cable TV with re-runs of popular tv-shows.
2. Don't have time. Work most of the time to make money (focus of life), or just want to be sure that he is paying his bills and the kids college
3. Turned off by politics. Either previous bad experience or no experience in politics makes the person not to participate anything that involves politics and parties and government.
2 parts for this:
a. Cannot/will not participate. Either an immigrant, (illegal or not) have no other purpose to be here; a non-citizen (can't vote), but to make more money (than he could make at other countries), but deep-down his heart pulls to his home country and he always has that "backdoor-exit" with an airplane ticket and a suitcase of money, if the country goes up in flames, he will pull out but will not feel obligation to the USA.
b. Cannot/but want to participate. Same deal (legal/illegal), but does not hold a citizenship because too early, or denied/can't get/ on hold about citizenship. There are many of these people (you know it or not), although they are actively following every step of Washington, they might be willing to participate with nails and teeth, but either language barrier or social barrier, they are blocked out to spread their voice.
1. Hard, but possible. *(everything is possible ;-) Someone needs to go out for these and explain them, that those burgers will cost a lot more very soon and the tv cable might get disconnected if he can't pay the bills. Also needs to explain, that politics and government is only as hard as someone makes it out to be. In reality, it does come down to the price of burgers and the cable tv and the friday-paycheck at the end of the day. If nothing else, do something about those burgers and TV, these people need to have a simple/ easy way of explaining without going into the "hard" details that he lives here and possibly will die here one day and just like the how a drop of ketchup can save the day for a 100 fries (it's a nightmare not to have ketchup for unsalted fries), his voice can be that drop of ketchup into our government.
2. Fair difficulty. One word: Accessibility. These people need easy-quick access to information available. These people are looking for answers and since the limited time to be active in any process or activity, time and money has to be in perspective at foremost.
3. Easier time. He/she knows the ins-outs of politics and the power of voice. He just needs that "kickstart" like a car with a dead battery, but full of gas. This person needs to be offered with something unique and new and something that makes sense (Obama doing it excellently) and this time it's different. I have no doubt, that many of these people "kickstart" themselves, once the words reach them. For these people, only heavy campaigning and reach out by ads and articles are the best options, and once they have their info, they will get onboard.
3. For the group "a". These people needs an explanation, that the country they are at are just as important as their home country, since they are here (whatever way they came) and the if they can't vote or participate, at least try to convince close friends or relatives who can, because the USA is still superpower and going by the butterfly-effect (USA is a very big butterfly here), the smallest lift on the wings can send shockwaves all around the globe, reaching effecting the most unlikely places, ....such as their "whatever" home country. Another thing. Do not underestimate non-citizens and "barely" americans. In other countries- compare to USA- other nation's people are far more involved in politics and even though they might not see a point of dealing about the USA, they have to be informed, that it is still important, if nothing else, but to get some favorable relations to their own country, thus showing an example of caring globally about democracy not just locally.
For the group "B" of immigrants. You don't really have to motivate them more than they are (count me in) unless they start to feel the loss of faith, that they voices do not get out or do not count important.
Also with multi-language/ foreign language (foreign as- non english/non-spanish), bring on some translations to the campaign ads and articles and news, let the more people have the comfort of understanding the situation and the process better. I understand, that USA is an "english/spanish" tounge, but look, If i want to sell a car and there are more ways to advertise than 2 , then let's use all avenues of approach for the biggest impact.
Now grab all these classes and roll it into a big ball to represent the population of USA. Tailor a system, that best suits the giant "ball" and also tear that ball apart again and tailor the "process" to be suitable for each individual group.
I think even you'd be suprised of the resutls.
-from a non-citizen immigrant.