Billboard campaign aims to increase awareness of and participation
in November general election
StoryThe November general election is approaching, and King County is working in collaboration with Clear Channel Outdoor to provide emerging communities in King County with visible reminders to vote by November 4.
Seven electronic billboards are being used in an effort to target communities with significant and growing diversity. The billboards inform readers about the general election through seven highly-visible and impactful digital rotating ads in English, Chinese and Vietnamese.
Clear Channel Outdoor donated the billboards following conversations initiated by Metropolitan King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski.
“I am grateful for Clear Channel Outdoor, the Washington Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and King County Elections working together to seize this opportunity to increase voter participation and access, especially among Limited English Proficient (LEP) populations,” Dembowski said. “The foundation of our democracy is the right to vote. As King County’s population of limited English speaking citizens grows, we must ensure that they are able to exercise that right. King County can and should do more to serve the needs of our burgeoning LEP citizens, and this partnership is a great step in the right direction.”
“As part of this community, we believe it is our civic duty to help our elected leaders ‘Get out the vote.’ And the power of our medium, coupled with attention-getting creative, can make a big impact on educating voters to go to the polls and participate in the election process,” said Pam Guinn, President and General Manager, Clear Channel Outdoor-Washington.
King County Elections welcomed the opportunity to use the billboards to support an established voter education campaign that features a number of talented local community figures.
The billboards augment other communications in an ongoing celebrity spokesperson campaign by King County Elections and Director Sherril Huff to remind voters to sign their return ballot envelopes and get their ballots back on time.
The Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs also partnered to support the billboards, which feature messages from poet and vocalist Hollis Wong-Wear, jazz trumpeter Cuong Vu, and martial artist Doan Dinh.
“Washington’s Secretary of State has predicted only a 62 percent turnout in the November election. As one of the fastest growing populations in the state and nation, it’s crucial that Asian Pacific Americans make their voices heard in every election,” said Michael Itti, Executive Director of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. “We applaud this partnership to increase voter participation among Vietnamese and Chinese Americans. We look forward to future efforts to promote civic engagement among our many diverse communities in the state of Washington.”
King County Elections provides bilingual materials in Chinese and Vietnamese to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.
The Voting Rights Act requires that jurisdictions provide language assistance to voters if more than 10,000 members or 5 percent of the voting age citizens are members of a single-language minority group who do not “speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process.”
“Translated ballots and election materials, while a big step forward, alone do not address the barriers many non-English speaking citizens experience when it comes to voting and elections,” said James Hong, Director of Operations of the Vietnamese Friendship Association. “A healthy democracy requires both informed and engaged citizens, which is why it's important that King County is proactive in connecting with the Vietnamese, and other refugee and immigrant, communities. This is a big step forward and I hope that our leaders continue to promote a more diverse and inclusive government.”
“I am very excited that we have the opportunity to engage our very diverse communities in the voting process,” said Dana Ralph, Kent City Council President. “The billboards send a clear message that we value the vote of all of our citizens. Thank you to Councilmember Dembowski and Clear Channel for making this happen.”
King County is one of the fastest growing regions in the country, with a growing population of individuals who speak a language other than English. According to 2010 Census, King County has 38,726 Vietnamese individuals, increasing 40.9 percent since the 2000 Census, and 63,781 Chinese individuals, increasing 52.1 percent since the 2000 Census. Other growing and common languages spoken in King County include Spanish, Russian, Somali, Korean, Ukrainian, Amharic, and Punjabi.
l-r Bruce Huang, Representative of the Chinese-Speaking Community, King County Citizens' Elections Oversight Committee; Pam Guinn, President and General Manager, Clear Channel Outdoor-Washington; Kristina Logsdon, Chief of Staff, Councilmember Rod Dembowski’s Office; Rod Dembowski, King County Councilmember; Sarah Tran, Development Director, Vietnamese Friendship Association; Kevin Chao, President, OCA Greater Seattle Chapter; Sherril Huff, Director of Elections, King County; Dana Ralph, Kent City Council President.