Telephone Town Halls and Live Ids for Grassroots Organizing

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A Campaigns and Elections magazine article recently highlighted “Vote No on Propositions 1,2 & 3,” an Idaho initiative that worked to repeal State Superintendent Tom Luna’s unpopular education laws in November 2012. Parents and teachers launched the effort and Stones’ Phones coordinated the telephone strategy, a key component to the repeal’s victory.

Due to the state’s geography and population distribution, relying on television advertising simply wouldn’t cut it.  Telephone Town Halls and Live ID programs were utilized to target rural areas where television advertising was not optimal because of large number of households with satellite dishes, which don’t run local advertisements.

Our Live ID programs helped us find the “influentials” in the state to help carry the message at a grassroots level. We found great spokespeople in everyday citizens that had real concerns about the new education laws. These influentials helped us connect to other parents, teachers and concerned citizens who had similar feelings of apprehension and uncertainty.

Telephone Town Halls were deployed to get the message out and to have a real conversation with voters about the problems with the education laws. The campaign found that the messenger mattered as much as the message—so during the Telephone Town Hall meetings, speakers would feature a teacher and a father who could speak passionately about the issues, rather than a professional operative. The speaker choice also allowed us to get through a huge number of questions–a typical candidate during a campaign takes 3-5 minutes to answer a question, whereas on these events, they were concise and we were able to answer over 35 audience questions instead of the normal 8-12.  Moving through the questions quickly allowed for a large number of people to participate and hear from a credible speaker, allowing them to have robust conversations.

According to NPR, each of the proposals failed by at least 15 percent of the vote, a major defeat for the education reform laws.  Stones’ Phones is proud to have worked with a campaign that recognized the importance of having ordinary citizens to carry the message that helped drive change!

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