Front and back image of the Vote for Oakville handout card to promote voter turnout in the 2010 election.
Several months ago, the staff at Oakville.com were discussing how low the voter turnout was in the 2006 municipal election. Of the 112,458 eligible voters, only 39,719 voted – that’s a 35% turnout rate!
Some would say that no one cares about municipal elections – that federal is all that matters.
We disagreed. We felt that if the public had more information at their fingertips, they would be more inclined to vote.
With 60,000 people visiting Oakville.com every month, we think that we might have influenced a lot more Oakville residents to vote.
Read on to find out how we did it.
What we did
We asked our audience “Did you vote in the 2006 municipal election”; 62% responded YES
We asked our audience “what issues concern you most”; there were four key issues.
We hired additional reporters to interview election candidates, do Q&A’s, and research and write articles about the issues that concerned residents most.
Our reporters covered meetings, speeches, investigated specific concerns in Wards and broke the news about the power plant cancellation live as it happened.
We wrote 50+ articles about the election, including personal interviews and Q&A sessions with many of the candidates.
We contacted every registered candidate and created profile pages for them, including their platform, bio, contact details, photos, news and twitter feeds.
We created a special 2010 election section and put all of our candidate profiles, interviews, Q&A’s, news and twitter updates in this section – a one stop shop for election info.
We created a printed handout and poster encouraging people to become educated and vote and distributed it in local stores and shopping malls.
We placed an ad in SNAP Oakville encouraging people to become educated and vote.
We placed ads on the back of Oakville Transit buses encouraging people to become educated and vote.
We attended the Oakville Chamber of Commerce Small Business Week Trade show and distributed our printed handout to encourage people to vote.
We email our newsletter list of 2500+ subscribers
We used social media (Twitter, Facebook) to get the word out and provide 24/7 updates about the election
We had 30,000+ total visitors to our 2010 election section
We had 5,000+ new visitors to Oakville.com seeking election information
Our candidate profiles, interviews, Q&A’s were viewed 20,000+ times
In the 2010 municipal election, there were 121,330 eligible voters, and 48,410 of them voted – that’s a 40% turnout rate!
Before the election, we polled our audience and 62% told us that they voted in 2006. This week, we polled again and 88% told us they voted in the 2010 election.
Voter turnout increased by 5% !!
Here’s what people had to say about our election coverage and our efforts to educate & encourage voter turnout:
“I must say…your election campaign coverage has been outstanding. By far the best in Oakville.” – @SonnyJelinek
“I think you had a lot to do with that! Good job on the coverage!” – @ShannonS
“Thanks for your helpful articles. Helped me decide on my candidate today!!!” –
“Its sad that all the candidates sites are awful but good that Oakvile.com has better resources then the candidates can provide themselves.” – @RayS
“Thank you for thorough, unbiased coverage up to and on the election. *Applause*” – @RebeccaEdgar
We’re elated with the increase in voter turnout what our audience and statistics tell is that we definitely had an impact on the increase.
Thank you for voting Oakville. Thank you for caring. Let’s shoot for a 10% increase next time!
- Richard Douglas, Publisher – Oakville.com