In any democracy, voter participation is vital to progress. In order for voters to be active in shaping the policies and structures of their communities, however, they need to be properly educated on both the systems of government operation and the voting issues at hand. When it comes to criminal justice reform, District Attorneys have a lot of power. But without public understanding of a DA’s function and positions, people aren’t inclined to participate in the election process. As a result, many DAs are not representing their constituents’ values.
The ACLU of Northern California, an advocacy chapter committed to advancing civil liberties for all Californians, solicited our help in confronting this discrepancy. We were tasked with educating citizens on the critical role that District Attorneys play in the criminal justice system and where their DA candidates stood on central issues like mass incarceration, police accountability, and protecting undocumented immigrants.
With the June primary elections on the horizon, we crafted a “Theory of Change” to establish a clear and actionable objective for the ACLU’s campaign. Our mission was to mobilize enough Californians to know their DA candidates and vote in the June 5th primaries so they could elect District Attorneys who better represent their values in the criminal justice system.
To achieve this, we implemented a cross-channel advocacy campaign using targeted Facebook and Google Ads to drive voters to vote4da.org where they could learn candidate’s issue stances. Then, we built an impactful and informative email series to educate and mobilize ACLU supporter leads and formed strategic celebrity partnerships to generate engagement of social media using the hashtag #MeetYourDA.
Connecting the dots between criminal justice reform and the power of district attorneys, we reached more than 600,000 Californians in key districts with impactful Facebook ads. These ads drove nearly 12,000 visitors to learn more about their DA candidates.
By targeting Californians searching for information on elections and candidates, criminal justice, and DAs, we drove nearly 61,000 unique visitors to find their candidate positions. Our ads also outranked district attorney ads on Google search, allowing voters to first discover more information about the election and the power of DAs, making them more informed when they researched individual candidates. Through our search ads, we engaged more than 1,000 supporters in pledging to vote and contacting their candidates.
We created illuminating and potent welcome and weekly email series to educate California voters on their DA’s role in key criminal justice reform issues and mobilize them to find their DAs’ issue positions. Our emails exceeded nonprofit industry average open and click-through rates, and encouraged subscribers to register to vote, find their polling place, vote-by-mail, and influence their own communities to vote on June 5th.
With a viral video from John Legend and tweets from celebrities including Tyra Banks, Olivia Munn, and Dax Shepard, we engaged millions in watching the “California, Meet Your DA” video. These tweets drove more than 6,000 individuals to find their candidates on the Vote4DA site.