Florida's system of redistricting allowed politicians to choose their voters, not the other way around. Districts were bizarrely shaped, went on for hundreds of miles, split communities, and often included several divided counties. The result was a rigged system where voters had little voice in deciding who represents them. In 420 legislative elections over the previous six years, only 3 incumbents lost, because the districts had been drawn in a way so as to achieve a predetermined result.
On Election Day 2010, Florida voters would be asked to vote on Amendments 5 & 6, ballot initiatives that created rules for politicians to follow when drawing district lines such as not drawing districts to favor incumbents, keeping communities together, and protecting minority representation. Our goal was to inform and persuade voters about the importance of these amendments in a political environment that was saturated with Senate and Gubernatorial campaign news. We needed to develop a targeted communication plan that would help ensure the initiatives were passed by the majority and were not lost among other ballot measures.
Statewide surveys drove paid communications decisions, press strategy, and the messaging for a significant new media/online campaign. Survey results were also used to assist fundraising and keep coalition partners engaged and informed.
STRATEGY AND RESULTS
Resisting the urge to turn this into a partisan campaign, we used the survey results to develop a message about holding politicians accountable and stopping backroom political deals, a message that appealed to both liberal
Democrats and tea-party Republicans. Survey data also informed the decision to spend resources reassuring minority voters that the amendments would protect their voting rights, to help combat the opposition's scare tactics claiming the amendments would harm minority representation. Finally, because the cost of communicating on television statewide in Florida is high and we had a limited communication budget, we helped select media markets to focus financial resources. On Election Day, both amendments passed with over 60% of the vote.