How my Family Votes by William Berry

By at September 23, 2013 | 1:28 pm | Print

How my Family Votes by William Berry

William Berry

In our work of passing bond, tax and revenue measures, we have found that in general, there are three different types of voters in California.

 It just so happens that these voters’ characteristics match those of some of my family members: my father, my mother and my sister.

 My father is a 77-year-old, Republican homeowner. He always votes. If the election were on Christmas Day he would go to church, then head straight for the polls.

 My father never has and never will vote for a tax increase in his life.There is no argument you can make to him that will change his mind. Tax increases go against a well-held belief.

 My mother is a 68-year-old Independent homeowner. She always votes as well.

 To earn her support, a bond or tax measure must meet certain criteria.

 My mom wants to make sure the funding measure was well planned, well conceived and truly necessary – and that the money pencils out. She needs to have trust in the District.

 We have found that it helps to wrap the message of the measure around a compelling story — a story that my mother can identify with, a story she’ll want to tell other voters.

Then, there is my sister. She’s a 40-year-old, single mother who rents.

 My sister will almost always support a bond or tax measure. She has kids in school, so she sees the direct benefit. She’s a renter, so she doesn’t think she has to pay for it.

 The problem with my sister is that she votes only once every three to four elections. If there’s an “ELLEN” marathon on Election Day, my sister’s going to stay in front of the TV and forget to go to the polls.

 With my dad, stick with the facts; don’t try and stretch the truth. No pigs with lipstick. He is going to vote no, but you want it to be a quiet no.You don’t want him writing letters to the editor or talking to his friends at the barbershop about the measure.

 Persuade my mom with a compelling story about the measure through direct mail, radio,TV or new media advertising.

 Get my sister to the polls.Turn your entire volunteer operation into getting my sister to vote.

 Whether it’s precinct walking door hangers, an absentee ballot campaign or a targeted and aggressive phone banking operation, you need my sister to vote.

William Berry, Founder of William Berry Campaigns (WBC) has run political campaigns for candidates and ballot measures for over 20 years. Bill has been a team member on over 250 campaigns in 14 states.  WBC is the recipient of over 30 Pollie Awards for political direct mail and winner of over 70 national awards for design and advertising.  

William Berry Campaigns      916-553-4980


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  • Marty Stone


    You are so right. Message and turnout win the game in initiative efforts.

    On the phone side, we are doing three things to increase

    1) call the better voter in the household and ask them to get the less
    likely voter to the polls. If your sister still lived with you mom, we would call your mom and get a commitment from her to get your sister to vote.
    2) We would try to get your sister to record a message about why voting is important well before the election. Then, right before the election, we would send that recording back to her.

    3) We would do a Telephone Town Hall (with direct mail and Internet ads preceding it) right before the election, so you sister could hear about others voting and your mother could hear compelling stories.
    Oh, and do not worry about your dad—77 year old Republican men do not pick up the phone!

    Marty Stone