Boosting Latino Voter Participation
In 2016, Meteorite principal Steven Levine led Univision Communications’ nonpartisan Vote For Your America initiative – the company's most robust and impactful social impact initiatives in its history. The goal was to increase the turnout of Hispanic voters in the 2016 election – regardless of who they voted for. With a record 3.2M Latinos coming of voting age since the 2012 election, Univision and leading community partner organizations embarked on an unprecedented year-long journey to empower Latinos to register and vote.
Levine and his team devised a comprehensive approach that included on-air and off-air components and leveraged the power and depth of Univision’s full portfolio to engage voters. The campaign included:
- On-Air Messaging: Univision networks and local stations aired thousands of powerful national and local PSAs encouraging those eligible to become citizens, register to vote, and Vote for Your America. All network, local and radio programs featured regular segments on the process of registering and voting. Univision also integrated campaign messaging into major tentpole programs including its award shows (Premio Lo Nuestro and Premios Juventud); the blockbuster Copa America Centenario international soccer tournament; and news coverage of the national conventions and presidential debates.
- Text Message Platform: To meet young, mobile-savvy Latinos where they are, Levine lead the development of an innovative, bilingual text message tool. Through this platform, Univision delivered timely, nonpartisan election reminders, voter registration tools, and real-time answers to users' specific questions on the voting process, in partnership with trusted organizations including TurboVote and the National Association for Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
- Digital Election Guide: Working with the team at Ready Set Rocket, Levine and his team introduced a first-of-its-kind, nonpartisan digital election guide, available at YourAmerica.com. Users visited the mobile-first, fully bilingual site to register to vote, apply for absentee ballots, find local polling locations, preview their ballots and understand voter rights. The site and its digital engagement were recognized as a 2017 Webby Award Honoree.
- Grassroots Outreach: Leveraging its 126 local TV and radio stations across the country, Univision hosted hundreds of nonpartisan community events in collaboration with trusted organizations, to register and mobilize voters. For the first time ever, on National Voter Registration Day, all of Univision’s local TV and radio stations – both owned and affiliates – hosted community call centers for audience members to call in and receive step-by-step assistance on each state’s voter registration process. Finally, during early voting periods, Univision hosted nonpartisan “Parties at the Polls,” encouraging Latinos to vote early in key markets nationwide.
- Social Media: Dozens of Univision talent and Hispanic celebrities took to social media to amplify campaign messaging. Popular Univision talent hosted several Facebook Lives where they answered questions on how to naturalize and register to vote. Univision also created custom Snapchat filters on National Voter Registration Day, increasing awareness of voter registration among Latino millennials, which make up 44% of eligible Hispanic voters.
Univision Contigo's Vote For Your America campaign closed 2016 as one of the most successful empowerment campaigns in Univision's history, contributing to record levels of Hispanic voter turnout in the 2016 election.
In one year, campaign messaging was seen or heard over 1 Billion times -- more than 4-times the visibility of any other social impact campaign.
Since 2012, a record 4.7M Latinos registered to vote for the first time – 44% more than had registered before the 2012 election. Univision directly helped hundreds of thousands of voters register both online and on the ground.
Beyond registration, Univision mobilized its audience to vote in record numbers. Univision sent over 6.5 Million text messages to help subscribers get to the polls.
Estimates from state voter file data indicate that Latinos were the only ethnic group to measurably increase turnout in over 2012 – 60% of registered Latino voters cast a ballot in 2016, up from 56% in 2012. That growth is even more impressive when one considers that the base of Hispanic registered voters increased by 21% over that period.
Turnout was unbelievably high among those who subscribed to Univision's text platform – a staggering 84% of them cast a ballot in the 2016 election.
85,000 of the voters who registered on YourAmerica.com successfully voted in this election. As a point of reference, the 2016 presidential election was decided by fewer than 78,000 votes.
While Univision's Vote For Your America initiative received multiple awards, it is in the results of social impact that proves its success, evidenced by the record number of Latinos who participated in American democracy.