Issue Communications

Protecting Voting Rights

With the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law


01 / Background

The 2014 mid-term elections were the first to occur without the protection of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, potentially opening the door to an increase in discriminatory voting laws nationwide. GMMB partnered with The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to help them elevate voting rights and voter discrimination issues into the national media conversation.

Advertising / Public Relations

02 / Strategy

Prior to the election, GMMB partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee to develop and conduct a media outreach campaign focused on voting rights and strengthening laws to empower Americans to exercise their right to vote. Our strategy was two-fold: position the Lawyers’ Committee as a leading authority on the spectrum of issues surrounding voter rights and promote the work of the Election Protection (EP) Coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee, as a key resource for voter information. Through a number of tactics—which included rapid-response pitching, strategic radio spot placement, calculated social media placement, and Election Day earned media support—GMMB highlighted the information provided by EP and secured news interviews for Lawyers’ Committee spokespeople.


03 / Work

To raise awareness among voters of election law changes in states like Texas, GMMB produced and distributed English and Spanish radio spots targeting African American and Hispanic voters and pitched state-specific stories to local and national press. GMMB coordinated a radio media tour with Lawyers’ Committee leadership across 12 national and state radio stations. On Election Day, GMMB also supported EP’s national press conference in Washington, D.C. GMMB also developed social media guides for partners to share information about election activities such as “Souls to the Polls Sunday” and “Real Stories of Suppression” and crafted sample tweets for partners to highlight Election Day hotline information provided by the Lawyers’ Committee and EP. GMMB created and posted content for the EP Twitter account to share “get out the vote” and hotline messages in English and Spanish, as well as updates from the EP call center and state-specific news on Election Day. GMMB also shared relevant news articles that quoted EP and the Lawyers’ Committee to reach wider audiences, as well as used direct messaging to reach individuals who reported voting issues on Twitter.


04 / Results

As a result, the Lawyers’ Committee and EP received widespread national and state coverage across broadcast, online, print, and radio, as well as on social media. Radio spot placements and local pitching in Texas alone garnered more than 140 mentions of the state in local and national press that covered EP or the Lawyers’ Committee—outlets like The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Think Progress. The radio media tour led to more than five million impressions across stations that included the American Urban Radio Network, Talk Radio News Service, and the Georgia Radio News Network. In addition, 50 reporters joined the Election Day press conference in person and by phone. As a result of GMMB’s social media support, the EP Twitter handle received 1.7 million impressions during the two and a half weeks leading up to Election Day, with 1.3 million impressions occurring in just a three-day period around November 4.