LWVPBC / The ‘When We All Vote’ Coalition Pays Dividends
By Pam Maldonado
How do we reach a larger, more diverse audience? Since I joined the League six years ago which has been a prime concern. When we started live streaming our Hot Topics speakers we began to see our numbers climb. Suddenly, people who could not make it over to Atlantis were able to watch the videos at their leisure. Some of our Young Leaguers even got together on their lunch breaks to watch the programs live. Nonetheless, our audience remained overwhelmingly white.
A few months ago we joined the When We All Vote (WWAV) Palm Beach Voting Squad, a coalition of some 35 mostly Black organizations, including sororities and fraternities, the Cunningham Bar Association, Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Guardians of the Glades, National Organization for Women and a host of other NGOs. Headed by former LWVPBC president Geanine Wester, the group’s mission is to increase participation in elections, closing the race and age voting gap by changing and harnessing grassroots energy and through creating strategic partnerships, reaching every American.
WWAV members began sharing information about the events they had planned. Flyers were sent to all member groups so that each could post it on their Facebook and other social media accounts. The result was exponential growth in viewership and reach. It’s been a difficult year for politicians who have not been able to go out campaigning. Opportunities for creating name recognition – so important for aspiring officeholders – have been limited, making candidate forums doubly important. LWVPBC Communications Director Ken Horkavy reported that the number of views for our Hot Topics discussions has generally been in the hundreds. However, thanks to the multiplicative effect of having information go out on 35 separate listservs and Facebook, viewership has skyrocketed. At last count, our forum featuring the three candidates for sheriff had been viewed by 5,200 people, shared 49 times and generated 500+ comments. The five forums hosted by WWAV each had in the neighborhood of 2000 views.
The genie is out of the bottle. I think some of the changes wrought by having to adapt to COVID-19 are here to stay. I predict that even when life returns to normal – whatever that turns out to be – that we will continue to live more online. Hopefully, the relationships we’ve established with the
WWAV participants will continue to grow and blossom.