Georgia has the highest correctional control rate in the US. Today, 4.6M residents have a criminal record.
According to state law, most Georgians with criminal records can legally vote. Still, without an accurate and accessible resource to understand their voting rights eligibility, many residents are unaware of their voting rights in Georgia.
Due to their state’s high incarceration rate and potential to impact national elections, Georgians are particularly vulnerable to misinformation about voting with a criminal record. Residents’ lack of knowledge about their voting rights in Georgia, and the state’s voter restoration laws, results in disenfranchised Georgians facing prosecution for unintentional voter fraud. It also leads to eligible voters abstaining from election participation altogether. Both of these outcomes disproportionately impact Black Americans.
Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, the issue was taken up by civic engagement nonprofit New Georgia Project in collaboration with Georgia Justice Project. The aim was clear: Create a digital advocacy campaign to inform residents about their voting rights in Georgia so that every affected Georgian would understand their voting rights and eligibility. To do that, New Georgia Project needed a communications partner to develop a targeted digital advocacy campaign using political influencer marketing to reach, inform, and empower Georgians.
Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Entertain Impact partnered with New Georgia Project to launch #NoVotesBarred, a voting rights restoration campaign to help Georgians with criminal records learn their voting rights through a 15-second online quiz.
The voter eligibility quiz was the center of our voting rights restoration campaign and needed to be quick and informative. To ensure accuracy, we worked with Georgia Justice Project, distilling the voting rights eligibility quiz down to the fewest questions possible while addressing common questions about voting rights in Georgia and the state’s voter restoration laws in surrounding FAQs.
Given New Georgia Project’s objectives for No Votes Barred, it was critical for the digital advocacy campaign to home in on an exact target audience, so we could localize outreach and speak with those directly impacted. We did extensive data crunching, looking at county population data, inmate statistical profiles, and returning citizen reports, to identify the most impacted counties where our voting rights restoration campaign would make the biggest difference.
We developed a two-pronged influencer advocacy strategy for political influencer engagement to achieve the No Votes Barred campaign goals. We worked with celebrity and macro-influencers to spread No Votes Barred messages and dismantle widespread misconceptions about voting with a criminal record in Georgia. At the same time, we identified local micro- and nano-influencers, proven to be more effective at compelling action, to drive impacted Georgians to the No Votes Barred landing page and voter eligibility quiz.
The issue of voting rights eligibility is complex, and the legal language around voting rights restoration can be intimidating to decipher. For the No Votes Barred voting rights restoration campaign to be successful, we had to prioritize ease of understanding and leave no room for misinterpretation. Our team crafted short messages, vetted and approved by New Georgia Project, then created a visual identity that pulled inspiration from previous grassroots advocacy campaigns and aligned with New Georgia Project’s branding and colors.
We created a suite of digital advocacy campaign content for New Georgia Project to use and repurpose across social media, digital ads, and events. For our political influencer engagement strategy to work, we prepared a tailored issue education and key messages kit, including pre-made #NoVotesBarred digital posts for our political influencers to distribute.
Targeted advertising played a key role in the No Votes Barred digital advocacy campaign because it gave our messages a constant presence ahead of the 2022 midterms. Our digital team continuously grew and refined the reach of #NoVotesBarred to drive relevant traffic to the voter eligibility quiz. Physical and in-person touchpoints were overlaid on top of the digital strategy as we integrated into local events, like the Formerly Incarcerated People and Families Movement’s Free The Vote Conference, to reach people through trusted allies.
The clear messages and call-to-action, tiered political influencer marketing strategy, localized alliances with local partners, and laser-focused digital advocacy campaign made No Votes Barred one of the most effective voting rights restoration campaigns in history.
In just two months, #NoVotesBarred received support from 28 celebrities and political influencers, reached nearly 1 million people, and drove thousands of Georgians to the campaign landing page where they learned about their voting rights. Shockingly, of those who took the voter eligibility quiz, an astonishing 86% were deemed eligible to vote, reinforcing the importance of our work.