Yes on Proposition 20/No on Proposition 27 Campaign

The Challenge:

The power over redistricting can determine which political party gains and retains power in the state legislature and in Congress. The 2010 statewide ballot featured two competing redistricting measures: Proposition 20 sought to expand the authority of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, a voter-approved body created to draw state legislative districts, to allow them to draw California's Congressional districts; and Proposition 27, placed on the ballot by incumbent politicians, to eliminate the Citizens Redistricting Commission and return all redistricting powers to the state legislature.

Cerrell was retained by the Yes on Proposition 20/No on Proposition 27 campaign to conduct earned media relations to Southern California print, television and radio outlets. The goals were to garner positive coverage and editorial support for the continued reform of California's redistricting process and empower voters to hold politicians accountable, and ultimately influence public opinion on these competing initiatives.

Key Cerrell Activities:

  • Developed media outreach strategy, message points and media pitch angles to communicate the benefits of expanding the authority of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, and the need to prevent incumbent politicians from controlling the redistricting process.

  • Wrote and pitched opinion editorials that reflected voters' increasing desire to hold politicians accountable and participate in fair elections. Op-eds were placed in several newspapers in Southern California, including the Bakersfield Californian, San Bernardino Sun and Orange County Register.

  • Facilitated editorial board meetings with nearly a dozen newspapers in Southern California. Every major Southern California newspaper editorialized in support of Proposition 20 and against Proposition 27.

  • Conducted media training sessions with campaign coalition members to prepare them for media interviews and press conferences. Coalition members participated in radio interviews in all major Southern California markets, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Inland Empire.

  • Coordinated Get Out The Vote (GOTV) grassroots voter education effort with coalition partners to directly engage voters in the last weeks of the campaign.

Results that Speak for Themselves:

Cerrell Associates' strategic messaging and media outreach campaign helped the Yes on 20/No on 27 campaign favorably frame public discourse about redistricting reform. California voters responded overwhelmingly to our efforts: Proposition 20 passed with 60 percent of the vote while Proposition 27 was defeated by a nearly identical margin. Voters not only protected the Citizens Redistricting Commission from elimination, but also extended its authority to include Congressional districts, increasing California voters’ ability to hold their elected officials accountable.