Measure B is a temporary four-year parcel tax on properties within the Lafayette School District at a flat rate of $176 per parcel, per year. It was TOLA’s job to aid in the effort that achieved the passage of this funding that will limit the depth of cuts the LSD must face due to the current state budget crisis.
The Fellows’ job was to run a ten-week, volunteer-driven communications effort to inform the community on the contexts and need for Measure B, identify and mobilize the supporters of the parcel tax, and motivate voters to actually vote (a surprisingly difficult feat for a vote-by-mail only election).
Starting February 28th and ending May 2nd, the Fellows held nightly phone banks from Monday through Thursday and on Sunday (Saturday’s were saved for walking precincts) to inform and identify voters in an effort to pass Measure B. The Fellows helped recruit, train and empower volunteers with the ultimate goal of identifying 6,500 supporters of Measure B. An average of 15 volunteers came out to every volunteer activity. It took until the end of April, but they identified 6,504 “Yes” voters for Measure B. Along the way, they also collected names of endorsers to populate a list of community supporters and recruited community members willing to display a lawn signs at their homes. The Fellows, by mobilizing the community to help, were able to recruit and distribute 500 lawn signs, spreading visual support of Measure B.
The second major aspect of the campaign that TOLA directed was to remind, encourage, and motivate all of these 6,504 voters to get their ballots in for Measure B – GOTV.
The GOTV phase was the most important and challenging part of the campaign. The campaign had identified close to 6,500 supporters but 5,500 of those supporters had not yet voted as of mid-April. The Fellows’ role was to organize and communicate and push the volunteers to carry out the GOTV strategy.
The GOTV effort was the most difficult, most effective and most successful aspect of the campaign – and the Fellows were the driving force. By keeping the urgent message and addressing the progress their efforts, they were able mobilize their volunteers to hit all households of supporters yet to vote. As Election Day closed in, the number of supporters yet to vote had dropped down to less than 1,500. The push to get these remaining 1,500 votes in did not end until the last seconds of Election Day. Not very long after Election Day came to a close, the results were released – Measure B passed with 74.3% support of Lafayette – one of only nine parcel tax measures that passed on May 4th, 2011.