During each civic engagement program California Calls seeks to take outreach to the next level. This fall’s innovations ranged from youth messaging to cutting edge canvassing technology. In just 4 weeks, 1,000 grassroots leaders talked to 101,811 new and infrequent voters about the Affordable Care Act, the next big step in California’s comeback. Check out the 5 ways we advanced voter engagement:
1. New Tech Meets Old-fashioned Organizing
In addition to a predictive dialer that allows us to call thousands of voters each night we expanded our technology to the doors. Grassroots leaders from CAUSE, SCOPE, Community Coalition and Inner City Struggle said “good-bye” to paper walk lists and used a cool new smartphone app, Electionear. With the smartphones, grassroots leaders were able to find voters, take down their responses, collect email and cell phone numbers, and report results immediately.
The experiment with this new technology is also helping the company that designed the app, Organizer, develop new features for future canvasses. Ian Magruder, a business development associate for Organizer, said, “California Calls was a perfect partner with our technology. Their field staff are among the most dedicated we’ve ever worked with, and their commitment to building innovative outreach methods is exciting for all progressives.”
2. Young Voters Set the Record Straight About What They Really Think of Healthcare
29% of all California Calls supporters are ages 18-34 and these young people have the highest rates of being uninsured. California Calls worked with young people to develop tailored messaging and better follow up to reach more young people, like text and social media. Over 26,000 young voters were contacted, 25% of young voters we talked to said that they would sign up for affordable healthcare and 14,000 agreed to stay connected with California Calls.
3.Telephone Town Halls Connect 13,354 Voters to the Answers They Need
Beginning in September California Calls began educating voters through email and social media with new resources on the California Calls website. California Calls hosted a tele-town hall meeting joined by 13,354 voters who asked questions and answered surveys. 46% of people we talked to this fall agreed to stay connected over time to get engaged in future tele-town halls and other activities.
4. Cutting Through the Noise About the Affordable Care Act
Even before the Affordable Care Act was passed there has been a steady stream of disinformation about what the law does and how it impacts everyone. California Calls set out to help voters cut through the myths and get the information they need most. Despite the negative messages, 76 % of the voters we talked to support the affordable care act and 82% agreed to vote with us in every election for policies like the Affordable Care Act that make California better.
This fall we also implemented a traditional media strategy that led to 10 stories about the importance of grassroots outreach to encourage Californians to sign up for new health insurance plans. From Univision to the front page of the Oakland Tribute, our canvassers took journalists along as they knocked on doors and helped them get the real story of how the Affordable Care Act impacts our communities and helps make California an even better place to live.
5. Staying Connected Year-round
This fall 46,483 voters said they wanted to stay connected with California Calls and their local anchor organizations between Civic Engagement Programs. In addition to emailing voters regularly, California Calls added text messaging to the voter follow up. So far over 8,000 voters have received information on how to sign up for affordable health insurance and taken surveys through text.
California Calls anchors aren’t just sitting around waiting for the next statewide Civic Engagement Program to contact voters in their communities either. Across the state, anchor organizations are using the new skills and technology they were trained on earlier this year to call and email voters about important local issues.