DemLabs blog

"In November, a supermajority of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to former felons who’ve completed their sentences. Florida legislature advanced a bill that will strip hundreds of thousands of these individuals of the franchise once again", reported Slate.

"Florida’s legislature has voted to effectively nullify that vote and disenfranchise a huge swath of the state’s formerly incarcerated population once again...This requirement will prevent hundreds of thousands of ex-felons, and maybe even more than 1 million, from regaining the franchise. Florida is a pioneer of “cash-register justice,” charging defendants “user fees” to finance its criminal justice system and saddling them with massive fines upon conviction. These fines put most defendants in a crippling financial hole from which few ever escape", reports Slate.

The League of Women Voters of Florida and their partners are coordinating training for volunteers to help persons with felony convictions register to vote. The League has a tiny budget and limited time to mobilize volunteers. This is how they are using free apps, social media videos and geo-fenced mobile ads to quickly mobilize volunteers and returning citizens.

Background
Florida Amendment 4, also referred to as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, is an amendment to the Constitution of Florida passed by ballot initiative on November 6, 2018, as part of the Florida elections. The proposition restored the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions (except murders and those with felony sex offenses) after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.

To assist with the heavy burden created by SB 7066, the Florida League of Women Voters has crafted a CLE approved training for volunteer attorneys and non-lawyer volunteers to help persons with felony convictions register to vote. Training courses begin June 15th across Florida in Orlando, Gainesville, Panama City, Jacksonville, Seminole, Tampa, Key West, Tallahassee, Miami, Palm Beach and Key West. The League is using a multi-pronged strategy to reach the most volunteers and returning citizens. This includes compleling video appeals, Facebook appeals and targeted geo-fenced mobile ads.

See the actual video here.

Custom video campaign
A 40 second video was created with Lumen5 a free app promoting training available for volunteers. The video was distributed through different channels: on the League's web site,Facebook and Vimeo. The video directs volunteers to a link where they can register for training to help returning citizens regain their right to vote.

Geo-fencing
Law schools in the vicinity of the workshops were geo-fenced to identify potential volunteers. This involved drawing a virtual boundary around the law schools to identify students to target. Such mobile advertising strategies are widely used in business. They protect the identity and phone numbers of individuals, while still providing advertisers with the means to target ads to people who were inside the area selected within a certain time period.

Mobile ad campaigns

The League of Women Voters designed ads with a simple call to action and directed volunteers to a link with more information and registration form. These ads appear in mobile apps that potential volunteers were using on their phones. Canva is a free, easy-to-use app for designing mobile ads and graphics. Credit to Lauren Snow, a progressive digital designer on the DemLabs team for designing these mobile ads.

Compared to mailing letters
Mobile ads are very cost-effective and cost typically less that $10/CPM - or $10 to deliver 1,000 mobile ad impressions. Consider that for the 50 cents needed to print and mail a letter (that may or may not be opened) you could deliver a mobile ad to 50 people!

  • Mobile ads are only sent to people who were physically in the selected area and time period.
  • Campaigns can be executed within days.
  • Different mobile ads and calls to action can be tested to maximize the response rate.
  • The average click-through-rate for mobile ads is 0.7%. The mobile audience is tightly defined, in this case with students at chosen law schools in the vicinity of the workshop. Those who click through are thus more likely to take action than a loosely targeted direct mailing.

Compared to Facebook Ads
Mobile ads are delivered through different apps on the recipient's phone beyond just Facebook. The cost-per-click (CPC) on Facebook is estimated at $1.72 across all industries. Campaign results depend heavily on both the creative design of the ad and how accurately the target audience is defined. Facebook allows audiences to be defined based on age, gender, location, occupation and other criteria. This may include being a lawyer or belonging to the bar association.

Geo-fencing has the advantage of targeting people who demonstrate an affinity to your cause based on where and when they were physically. In this project law students and faculties were targeted based on their interest in helping restore voting rights to returning citizens.

Takeaways
Consider new approaches, like the League of Women Voters in Florida to reach more people, faster and for less money. Free apps such as Canva to design ads, Lumen5 to create videos and geo-fenced mobile ad campaigns are very cost-effective solutions.

Learn more about this campaign and other free/affordable solutions here.

Deepak
Co-Founder, DemLabs

Please share this article. Democracy Labs is a SF-based, hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation to support progressives. Donate here to support our work.

Subscribe to DemLabs Bulletin

A Project of The Advocacy Fund

DemLabs is a Unique Collaboration of Leading Technologists,
Creatives and Political Professionals

We deliver technology and storytelling innovation
to progressive campaigns and groups

The Democracy Labs — New Ways To Win