EDINBURG, RGV – Two non-aligned, non-partisan, groups that want to see a much bigger turnout in this year’s elections in the Rio Grande Valley have taken to the airwaves to get their message across.
The Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas and RGV Equal Voice are running separate video campaigns to encourage voters to go to the polls in the March primary and in the November presidential election. Their public service announcements, in English and Spanish, are airing on stations like Televisa, Telemundo and Univision.
Mike Seifert, network weaver for RGV Equal Voice, explained the rationale for his group’s PSAs.
“The single goal of the Equal Voice Network is to have the voices of all of the people in our communities receive the respect and attention that they are due. We may not have the money needed to be influential in that way, we may not have the time (we are all working more than 40 hour weeks) to raise the necessary cain for change, but we do have our vote, a power not yet exercised to its full extent. A large turnout by voters is a powerful tool that will capture the attention of even the most disengaged politician in the crowd,” Seifert told the Rio Grande Guardian.
Seifert said Equal Voice PSAs are running on Univision, Unimax, Televisa and Telemundo. Asked what message Equal Voice is trying to get across, Seifert said: “You Vote is Your Voice, and Your Voice Counts is the basic meme. From there it is more a matter of to whom we are speaking. This time around, a focus on the very young and on the teachers; one group (the young) will disproportionally suffer from poor leadership – and enjoy the benefits of good leadership as well. They are even less aware of the importance of their vote than the population at large. Teachers are the single most respected profession in our region, along with physicians. Their responsibility is way out of proportion to the manner in which they are compensated for their work – a reason in and of itself for them to vote, but, more importantly, a teacher voting instills a hope in our democracy at a time when the majority opinion about our system has fallen into near complete cynicism.”
Seifert added: “We are also preparing radio spots to be recorded this week and launched in the coming weeks. These will be in Spanish and English, about 30 seconds in length, targeting general Spanish-speaking voters, high school seniors, and (in English) teachers.”
Alberto Morales is project coordinator for the Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas. Morales said AACT has sent its PSAs to the major networks that broadcast in English in the Valley (Channels 4, 5, 23, Fox, and Time Warner) and in Spanish in the Valley (Univision, Telemundo) and also to the various city and school districts that have a channel.
“The various networks help us by plugging us in on available slots. I have asked the networks to provide me with analytics of when and how often they are playing and also to give me an idea of how viewers we are reaching,” Morales told the Rio Grande Guardian. “Because of budget constraints we are reusing the announcement we used in the past, but we will be working on a new creative campaign right after the primary elections to bring out a fresh commercial that will play at least six months prior to the November presidential election.”
Morales said that in its PSAs AACT is emphasizing the importance of voting and providing information that voters need to know to get them registered and ready to vote.
“It’s important because higher voter participation rates mean a better chance of securing state and national level attention from our leaders that provides for funding and resources that the residents of our communities need and deserve,” Morales said. “For decades the voter percentage turnout of our region has been well under the state average. We are working hard along with our community partners, to positively change the culture of voting so that we can make a positive difference in the quality of life for the people of South Texas.”
Click here to see AACT’s portfolio of PSAs.