Caution: Election Season Ahead
This November, voters will be asked to consider a wide variety of issues including some very important on a local scale.
Obviously, the best choice is to vote for what benefits your organization, but local governments have to be careful not to come off as biased when sharing ballot question information.
This is where an educational communications campaign can come into play. Although you can’t straight out tell people which way to vote, there are still ways to share information and simplify the ballot measure so residents can more easily make an educated decision.
1. What Does this Even Mean?
Ballot language is confusing, that’s the unfortunate truth about elections. You may not be able to simplify the language voters see on the ballot, but you can use your other communication outlets to share a simplified version of the ballot question. For residents, break down what the jargon means and find a way to provide examples of how the measure affects their lives when possible.
2. Yes Vs. No
Sometimes ballot language doesn’t always make it clear what happens with a yes or no vote. So why not make that clear in your communications? Using solid facts and figures lets voters know the pros and cons of the potential outcomes in simple language. This might even help make a case for the outcome you want in an unbiased way.
3. Paint the Town
Sharing election information is a great opportunity to think of new ways to communicate with your residents. Keep using all your typical channels to get the word out (website, social media, newsletters, etc.), but why not try something new? Maybe use it as an opportunity to meet with groups that you’ve wanted to form relationships with. Or maybe you want to give a Telephone Town Hall or another form of live Q&A event a try. Anything to reach and educate people who are not always engaged.
4. Where My Attorney At?
We have a love-hate relationship with government attorneys. Although they tend to make our simple messages more complicated, it is important that they keep governments in line with election protocols. Make sure your organization attorney is involved with election communications throughout the process and that they take a peek at your main messages before anything is published. You might have to compromise to get the messages just right, but at least you’ll sleep better at night.
5. Rock the Vote
Finally a friendly reminder – don’t forget to share general information about the election like how residents can register, when ballots will be mailed, where they can be returned, etc. No matter what, it’s just important that people vote!