Recently, the Alpha Lambda Chapter expanded its approach for the National Program “Voteless People, Hopeless People”. This year, the Alpha Lambda Chapter implemented multiple strategic actions to help improve voter turnout in Louisville for the May 17th Kentucky Primary Election. Kentucky typically experiences low voter turnout for primary elections. Considering that this year U.S. Presidential Race has consumed all the media attention of the primary this year, the idea to focus on local politics was adopted to better engage voters and draw more people out to the polls.
On April 16th, chapter brothers joined the Jefferson County chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) for a Voter Registration Drive. The group divided into three teams for a very specific reason. There were 3 Metro Council Districts that had races for Council Representation. It was thought it would be best to implement registration drives in those districts to help raise awareness of the local races.
On April 18th, the chapter leveraged social media to remind the public that it was the last day to register in time to vote during the primary. Links to online registration sites along with custom images were shared on the Chapter Website, Facebook, and Twitter. It is worth noting that even non-Alpha’s took the time to share and promote the posts through their own social media channels.
Ultimately, on May 10th, the Chapter co-sponsored a Candidate Debate for the Metro Council seat in District 2. The Chapter played a large role in the planning, promotion, and facilitation of this event. The good news is that voter turnout was significantly higher in that district compared to previous primary elections. The idea of increasing voter turnout by specifically focusing on promoting the awareness of the local races is a genius way to make very direct impacts to somewhat broad but targeted demographics. For example, only 1788 democratic ballots were casted in the 2012 primary in Metro District 2. This year, Metro District 2 saw 3608. Of course, there are many factors that attributed to doubling the primary turnout for this district but it is reasonable to say that the heightened awareness via debate promotion was one of them.
Within a week leading into the primary election, the chapter released its online Voters’ Guide to the public via social media. In the same spirit of the Metro Council Debate, The Louisville Voters Guide provided to help complement voter registration with voter education. The chapter’s online voters’ guide contained links for voters to find their sample ballots, polling locations, endorsements of local candidates, recordings of local debates, and candidate information.
Conclusively, the chapter also joined forces with KFTC in a “Get Out The Vote” Phone-a-thon. On May 16th, which happened to be the day before the primary election, members of Alpha Lambda spent hours in the KFTC headquarters calling hundreds of registered voters. During the phone-a-thon, chapter members reminded voters to vote and offered to schedule rides to the polls if needed. As we turn our attention toward November, Alpha Lambda is poised to remain entrenched in the efforts to increase voter awareness and participation. In short, the chapter has come a very long way from only participating in voter registration drives. If Alpha Lambda can accomplish this much for the Primary election, just imagine what can be done during the General Election this November.
Stay informed. Make a difference!