Appendix B

Appendix B

Appendix B

Sample State Outreach Plans

Educating registered voters on the when, where, and how of voting is not only a state-by-state task but a hyperlocal endeavor. Here are snapshots of communication channels for several states, we chose to focus primarily on California, Ohio, and Mississippi — three states with vastly different demographics, levels of urbanization, and political majorities.  

After assessing each state’s composition and potential best communication avenues, we mapped out all local- and state-specific verticals, including local media outlets, advocacy and civic organizations, businesses, school and university voting initiatives, sports teams, election officials, influencers, and lists of specific collaboration contacts. The goal of this initiative was to set a recommended road map for achieving full message saturation in each specific state that may be replicable across the country.

 

Table of Contents

California

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, no race or ethnic group constitutes a majority of California’s population — 39 percent of residents are Latino, 37 percent are white, 15 percent are Asian American, and 6 percent are Black or African American. A full 94 percent of California residents live in urban areas. Broadband and cell phone penetration across the state are far-reaching, with 92 percent of Californians saying they have a cell phone and 58 percent of those owning a smartphone.

The California secretary of state currently produces a robust voter information pamphlet, which is mailed to each registered voter household as required by law. The secretary’s office also offers voting-related materials and assistance in 10 languages, and released an app “Vote California” in 2016 that users note has weak functionality and mostly just redirects them to the SOS website. Many other cities and counties have their own applications, including the City of Long Beach and Santa Clara County, though based on the number of views usership seems low.

A strong digital strategy should be at the forefront of an informational campaign in California. Although 91 percent of the population speaks English, information should be translated into the most common languages, which include Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog. All other verticals — such as radio, TV, print, and civic organizations — should still be utilized. Because of long commutes among major freeways, the use of billboards could also be effective.

Ohio

Ohio is 81.7 percent white, 13.1 percent Black or African American, and 4 percent Hispanic or Latino; the percentages of other racial groups are very small. Nearly a quarter of Ohio residents live in rural areas. Meanwhile, the state’s two most populous cities — Columbus (922,223 people) and Cleveland (381,000 people) — are starkly different in terms of demographics and growth. Columbus’s population is growing 10 percent every decade; Cleveland’s population is rapidly declining and one-third of its residents (three times the national average) live in poverty. The digital divide among even just these two cities is vast: Based on 2018 statistics from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Cleveland is the 33rd worst-connected city in America, with 27.42 percent of households lacking any type of broadband connection. Columbus homes without connectivity amount to 12.71 percent. 

The state Ohio’s secretary of state website hosts basic voter information and voter publications online. In 2016, the secretary of state released an app called “Ohio Voter Info,” which allows voters to find polling locations, check registration status, see sample ballots, etc. — but it only has full information if individual counties have uploaded it to the state’s linked website: www.electionsonthe.net

Because of Ohio’s geographical composition, it is recommended that all communication verticals are implemented across the state, with a focus on TV, newspaper, radio, and civic organization in an effort to breach the digital divide.

Mississippi

Mississippi is 58.59 percent white and 37.67 percent Black or African American. The state has the fourth-largest rural population in the United States, at 51.2 percent. Rural Mississippi experiences a staggering digital divide, characterized by a lack of internet access. Some 16 percent of residents in the state don’t have access to broadband that meets the unrealistically low minimum speeds set by the FCC. Also of note, 83 percent of the state’s population is affiliated with a Christian-based faith, 

The Mississippi secretary of state is required by law to compile a voting pamphlet, though there is no mention of how the pamphlet should be distributed; the law does require that the information therein be published in a newspaper in each county of the state. No information related to mobile applications is available for the state or three largest counties. 

Given the digital divide, nontraditional community outreach will be particularly important in reaching and mobilizing these residents. It is recommended that the focus be on verticals such as physical displays and noticeboards, TV, newspapers, and local radio. Reaching out to churches in the state may also be helpful in disseminating information.

Local and State-Specific Verticals

CALIFORNIA

Advertising 

Civic Organizations

Corporate

Government 

Local and State Media

OHIO

Advertising 

Business Associations

Civic Organizations

Corporate 

Government

Local and State Media 

Social Media Channels

MISSISSIPPI

Civic Organizations

Government

Local and State Media 

Social Media Channels

*Please get in touch with The Voter Communications Task Force for a list of specific contacts at each organization listed. 

“Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos .Aenean non turpis vitae ligula tristique sagitt isras varius erat pulvinar eros pretium”

For media and other inquiries

Contact Tiffany Shackelford at tshackel@usc.edu