Our work in 2023 focused on crucial bellwethers that will dictate the momentum heading into 2024 and give us insight into how voters will respond to key messages and tactics, especially around abortion and extremism. Following the strong performance of our programs in 2022, we focused on three key states and their races:
Wisconsin’s State Supreme Court flipping liberal. Electing Judge Janet this past April will undo an 1849 abortion ban, protect crucial parts of fair election administration in advance of the 2024 presidential election that was determined by less than 20,000 votes in 2020, and determine whether fair maps can finally be restored in the state and undo the extreme gerrymanders that have keep Republicans in unrepresentative majorities in the state chambers,
Virginia’s House of Delegates and Senate turning back to Blue. Flipping the House of Delegates by picking up 3 seats and defending the Senate means the protection of abortion rights not only in the state but for 27M women in the South, even in the face of more “moderate”-like messaging. It also means the failure of Republican extremist agendas beyond abortion.
Pennsylvania’s State Supreme Court race to defend the majority. Focusing on engaging key voting groups that will likely determine the 2024 outcome in the state as well as building key infrastructure to make it easier than ever for voters to register and request their mail ballots, we saw turnout that kept the state’s highest court squarely liberal. That will translate to protection of reproductive rights as well as election integrity as we look to flip the state Senate and defend the 1 seat majority in the House.
We’ve also tracked the amazing legislative victories in states such as Michigan and Minnesota, where we worked with candidates to flip chambers over the last six years, and voters are benefiting from Democratic trifectas when it comes to abortion rights, education, climate change and gun safety.
Partnering with the Virginia House Democrats and Virginia Senate Democrats for the fourth cycle in a row to flip the House of Delegates back to Blue and defend the Senate. We worked with a record 36 campaigns across the commonwealth’s most competitive and semi-competitive races to support these outcomes and deployed 206 skilled volunteers, built 16 websites, raised over $410k for candidates, sent over 1,000 emails and ran more than 8M total ad impressions.
We’re proud to have continued our efforts to support a diverse set of candidates across several different dimensions. This year, our candidates were:
By providing digital support to those who are running to represent a wide range of geographies, we supported key rural areas of Virginia where Democratic infrastructure is typically lacking to ensure we could reach voters through digital.
Candidate, VA HD-65
Candidate, VA SD-16
Candidate, VA HD-55
In 2022, we saw a massive 15% lift in voting among our early voting program sign ups across our 5 target states. Looking to carry forward that momentum in swing states that held key contests, we focused our efforts on Wisconsin and Pennsylvania state Supreme Court races this year. We identified new ways to quantify our impact among our key voter targets, ran important experiments on the impact of influencer/creator content on hard-to-reach voting blocs and integrated tech tools that increased voter registration among youth and will carve a path towards easier vote-by-mail requests.
We saw a 3.5x higher engagement rate for influencer (aka content creator) creative assets versus traditional GOTV messages in 2022, with an even higher engagement rate among youth voters.
So to further investigate how we could translate that energy into votes, we conducted 2 key randomized control experiments in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. We found that when asking them to provide less personal information as part of finding their early vote location, 50% more signed up for the program, indicating that these voters are likely very transactional and highly digitally-savvy.
A second but equally important finding is that this content produced 25% more BIPOC sign ups versus traditional GOTV content and can be a key messaging format to reach these voters in 2024.
In hindsighting the state of digital in 2022, we saw that there is still a 44 point gap between political and commercial advertisers and how much of their advertising dollars are dedicated to digital. And considering there is still a 12x return on digital for state legislative races, we continue to work on ensuring our candidates are incorporating digital as a key part of their overall strategy, especially in light of the new tools (including AI) available to make these channels even easier to use to reach important voters.
See our 2022 Digital Ads Report.
And our biggest investment this year in advance of 2024 has been our Learning Engine, a long-term project to harness our data from hundreds of campaigns and hundreds of thousands of voters and integrate key AI tools to bring actionable insights to our staff, volunteers, and campaign partners. We’re excited to share more about this platform as we prepare to launch it for 2024 in the coming months.
With the first contest of 2024 in the books with this most recent general election, we’re already turning our sights to 2024 where we’ll be covering a record 14 states with over 150 campaigns to provide them the full range of digital support including websites, digital ads, email marketing and texting. And half of these states will also be part of our Voter Turnout program, focused on mobilizing the key groups needed to win these tight races. While we say every election that it’s the most important one in our lifetime, we believe it to be true. With our rights and extremism on the ballot, we’re gearing up for the fight of our lives so we hope you’ll join us!