Texting for Good: RumbleUp Wins the AAPC’s People’s Choice Award for Helping Victims of Hurricane Michael

Dana Cichon
Apr 17, 2019 · 3 min read

Earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), RumbleUp won two Gold Pollie Awards (the highest recognition in the political campaign industry — less than 1/10th of 1% of entries earn the top honor of a Gold Pollie).

One of our Gold Pollie Award-winning entries for “Best Use of Peer-to-Peer Texting” was also selected for the People’s Choice Award in the phones category by a bipartisan vote of over 500 AAPC members, the first time this award has been offered in the AAPC’s 50 year history.

Here’s RumbleUp CEO Thomas Peters and Director of Accounts and Strategy Dana Cichon explaining what we did in 60 seconds:

Click to watch the video for our Gold Pollie and People’s Choice Award-winning submission!

The Rest of the Story

The goal of this project was to get in contact with hurricane victims, with a sincere message of compassion and offer of support, providing them with recovery resources (FEMA contact info, disaster aid links, insurance help, etc.) while also helping them to still cast their vote in the 2018 midterm elections. We aimed to increase turnout and eliminate confusion and misinformation in an otherwise tumultuous time by helping them restore a small part of their lives — their right to vote.

For many of the people we contacted, it was the first time anyone had reached out to them since the disaster. Our texts were a small lifeline that offered relief and assistance to people who had suffered serious losses, but still at least had their phone and could text back-and-forth with our volunteers:

Real conversations between volunteers and voters in the Florida panhandle

We faced the unique challenge of contacting constituents in an area that had been recently devastated by Hurricane Michael which caused tens of thousands of people to be displaced from their homes, making them extremely difficult to contact.

The hurricane destroyed many residents’ voting locations and thousands of people no longer knew where — or if they even could — cast their ballot. One of the most devastated areas in the Florida panhandle was Bay County (and surrounding areas), which was expected to have exceptionally low turnout due to the confusion about polling locations.

Record Turnout

Even with so many polling locations destroyed and the tremendous losses people had suffered, of the 70,260 numbers we texted, 40.84% wound up casting their ballots. Of those numbers, only 30.79% voted in 2014, which means there was a 10.05% increase in turnout.

Turnout numbers for the people who were texted in the Florida panhandle

We overcame the hurdle of getting in contact with people who were unreachable by typically reliable methods of communication (since they had been forced to flee their homes) and helped turn people out to vote in areas where historical polling locations were destroyed. All of this happened in the final weeks leading up to the election so we had to act fast because depressed turnout in this area could have significantly hurt our client’s chances of winning.

Not only were we able to reach thousands of hurricane victims and get them the help they needed (and continue to need!), we were also able to drive Republican turnout in a state where every single vote ended up being pivotal to the ultimate election results — top races such as the governor’s race were decided by less than 11,000 votes.

Wrapping It Up

We are so proud to have been able to provide assistance by reaching people via text, and humbled to have been able to empower them to cast their votes on election day, despite the disaster and setbacks that so many of them had encountered.

The conversations and turnout numbers speak for themselves. Our peer-to-peer texting program was a determining factor in the Florida Midterm Election results and was a chance to do good for our fellow citizens.

Learn more about RumbleUp: Advanced P2P Texting at our website.

Dana Cichon

Written by

Director of Accounts & Marketing at RumbleUp. We win races with powerful political tech. Launch your peer-to-peer texting campaign today http://RumbleUp.com

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