In early 2020, ahead of the momentous national elections, the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) and the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) launched our most ambitious Black voter engagement campaigns to date. In order to ensure that the Black electorate played a decisive role in the outcome of key national, state, and local contests, CRGE and WCRJ ran a far reaching voter mobilization program, which included canvassing, phone banking, text messaging, and targeted social media ads. We focused our efforts on the Cook County State's Attorney's race, the Wisconsin general election, the Illinois Fair Tax ballot measure, and the Lake County State's Attorney's contest.
Despite the unanticipated challenges of the global pandemic, we reached 1,266,597 Black voters in Illinois and Wisconsin, demonstrating, once again, the power and resilience of Black political activism. Our voter outreach efforts proved successful in securing key victories this election cycle. Despite the continuous rightward drift of large swaths of the nation's White electorate, Black voters in the districts where CRGE and WCRJ organized, consistently turned out in support of candidates and measures that would advance progressive values of equity, justice, and inclusive democracy.
TOTAL VOTER REACH
Reached 1,266,597 voters across all digital and field campaigns
Reached 652,318 voters with targeted digital ads
Held 88,416 conversations with voters on phones and doors
Sent 525,863 text messages to voters in Illinois and Wisconsin
Reached out to 1,275,481 voters through phone and canvassing
202 members disseminated our messaging to their social networks
Eric Rinehart Elected
CRGE's phone banking and social media ad campaign helped clinch an upset victory in the Lake County State's Attorney race for progressive challenger, Eric Rinehart.
IL Black Voter Mobilization
Illinois' Fair Tax ballot initiative received, on average, 85% support among voters in the wards where WCRJ and CRGE mobilized, compared with 45% statewide.
Cook County's progressive State's Attorney Kim Foxx faced a multi-million dollar opposition campaign in the 2020 primary. CRGE's field and digital mobilizations proved instrumental in securing Foxx's primary victory. In the general election, CRGE's GOTV outreach helped clinch Foxx's re-election.
In order to ensure a victory for State's Attorney Foxx in the primary election, CRGE mounted a far-reaching voter mobilization program. Through our field campaign, which included residential canvassing and phone banking, CRGE engaged 22,335 local voters in one-on-one conversations urging their support for Foxx in the primary. In the general election, we reached tens of thousands more through our GOTV phone banking efforts in Cook County.
Through our targeted texting campaign, CRGE sent 42,250 messages encouraging voters to support Foxx in the primary election. Ahead of the November contest, CRGE sent an additional 65,947 texts mobilizing Black voters to reelect the State's Attorney. We also launched a relational organizing platform, which allowing CRGE's broad membership to disseminate messages in support of Foxx through their personal social networks..
Social Media Ads
In the weeks leading up to the primary election, CRGE ran a robust social media advertisement campaign targeting voters throughout Cook County. Through our video ads, we reached 318,008 local voters, with more than one million individual ad views.
In order to unify support behind Foxx, CRGE worked to advance a public narrative linking the State's Attorney's progressive prosecutorial reforms to improved safety and justice outcomes in local communities. We ran opinion pieces, aired radio interviews, and disseminated research reports. CRGE also hosted Foxx as a keynote speakers at our annual Forum on Safety and Liberation and Black Resilience Roundtable series.
In early 2020, CRGE and WCRJ initiated a sweeping mobilization campaign to ensure Black voters would play a decisive role in the outcome of the tight presidential race in Wisconsin,
In March 2020 WCRJ and CRGE began canvassing in majority Black neighborhoods in Wisconsin. However, amid the emerging COVID pandemic, we shifted our fieldwork focus to phone banking, Altogether, WCRJ and CRGE held 15,345 conversations with Black voters in Wisconsin, urging their participation in the 2020 election cycle.
CRGE ran a robust texting campaign aimed at mobilizing Black voters in Wisconsin to turn out to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. Through our community texting banks, CRGE sent more than 166,363 GOTV and pro-Biden text messages to Wisconsin voters.
Social Media Ads
To ensure that Black voters in Wisconsin had the necessary information to participate in the 2020 election, WCRJ and CRGE ran a series of explanatory video ads on local voting protocol. Through this campaign, we reached 193,671 Black voters, with more 639,209 ad view and directed thousands of voters to our online voter information portal.
In early 2020, WCRJ and CRGE kicked off a campaign to promote Black voter support for Illinois' Fair Tax ballot initiative, which would allow the state to establish a more equitable, graduated income tax structure.
In January 2020, WCRJ and CRGE launched a robust canvassing campaign to mobilize Black voters behind the Fair Tax Amendment. Amid the COVID social distancing recommendations, WCRJ and CRGE adapted its fieldwork focus to remote phone banking. In total, our organizations held conversations on the doors and via phone with 27,91 Black voters across the state, urging their support for the Fair Tax Amendment.
Through our targeted texting campaign, CRGE and WCRJ sent 261,081 messages encouraging Black voters to turn out in support of the Fair Tax Amendment. Additionally, our digital relational organizing tools allowed our members to disseminate Fair Tax campaign messages through their personal social networks.
Social Media Ads
In the weeks leading up to election day, CRGE and WCRJ ran a series of targeted video ads to mobilize Black voters in support of the Fair Tax Amendment. Our social media campaigns reached 108,711 local voters, with 279,617 ad views.
In the 2020 general election, CRGE mounted a voter mobilization program to replace Lake County's Republican State's Attorney with progressive Democratic challenger, Eric Rinehart.
Due to the COVID pandemic, CRGE's field campaign for Rinehart was restricted to phone banking. We reached out to 42,815 voters in Lake County to encourage their support for RInehart.
Through our targeted texting campaign, CRGE sent 32,472 messages encouraging local voters to turnout in support of Rinehart the November general election.
Social Media Ads
Ahead of the general election, CRGE launched an extensive social media advertisement campaigns targeting voters throughout Lake County. Our Rinehart video ad, reached 31,928 local voters, with 75,751 ad views.
In the weeks and months ahead, CRGE and WCRJ will fight to defend our 2020 victories. In partnership with our national networks, we will mobilize our base to resist anti-democratic attempts to undermine the integrity of the election results in Wisconsin and other key battleground states.
We will also work to mobilize the powerful regional base of supporters we built throughout our campaigns behind WCRJ’s racial justice legislation at the state and local levels. In Illinois, we will activate this base in support of WCRJ's prison abolition and police accountability bills. At the county level, we will resume advocacy work with State’s Attorney Foxx to ensure that she continues to advance progressive prosecutorial practices that promote racial equity and justice. And at the city level, we will leverage the power of our supporters to amplify our demands to defund the Chicago Police Department and reinvest in public programs that foster safety and liberation in our communities.