In 2016, 95 percent of votes cast by Detroiters went to Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton. However, the total number of registered Detroit voters overall who cast ballots was less than 50 percent, representing a steady decline since 2008. Two investors, along with the LGBT & Allies Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party, aim to change that with an innovative multimedia campaign.
It all started when local voting advocates Evan Rosin and Paul Silveri put their heads together with LGBT & Allies Caucus Chair Roland Leggett and came up with a way to encourage early voting on a mass scale in a historically underrepresented area.
“We’ve been working on what’s developed into a multimedia program that’s Detroit-based, where we’re gonna have a few billboards around the city in strategic locations that encourage people to vote today and then provide through a text link information about how to not only register but to find your closest voting location,” Leggett said. “And we’re also doing a similar poster campaign around the city in these final two weeks highlighting early voting locations, where people can go and how they can register to vote.”
Leggett said they tapped the expertise of the ACLU, Affirmations and other like-minded organizations to determine the best language and approach. They’re using the City of Detroit’s elections website as a basis for what information people are being provided on how to vote early and vote safely, including locations of absentee ballot dropboxes across the city.
Organizers also worked closely with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office and the office of the mayor of Detroit to ensure the billboard and poster language is presented in the best way possible to get people connected to the resources they need.
“My hope is this,” Leggett said. “We have a municipal election next year, and obviously a midterm election the following year. So if we can push out to folks, ‘Hey, for a $1,500 investment, you can have a big impact.’ I think a lot of investors would be totally into that.”