Getting Out the Vote for Frederick Charter Government

Frederick County Chamber of Commerce

Challenge

With the goal of changing Frederick County’s government from Commissioner to Charter, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce retained Chesapeake to create and execute a winning ballot campaign strategy. Similar efforts to establish Charter Home Rule failed miserably four times over the prior 30 years due to lack of interest and confusion among Frederick County voters.

Solution

Chesapeake developed a multifaceted 30-month strategy to generate knowledge about the benefits of Charter and encourage residents to vote for Charter form of government for Frederick County. Through an election-year campaign effort combining grassroots outreach, candidate education and get-out-the-vote initiatives, Chesapeake was instrumental in achieving the first objective in November 2010: electing pro-Charter candidates to the Board of County Commissioners. 

 

In the next phase, Chesapeake worked with the newly appointed Charter Writing Board to conduct outreach in the community, coordinating scores of meetings around the county. Once the proposed Charter was secured as a ballot question in the upcoming election, Chesapeake organized two groups. A broad-based 25-member Charter Education Coalition worked to lay a foundation of public understanding. The Charter YES! campaign committee encouraged residents to vote for Charter. Each group included a broad range of Charter supporters including Republicans, Democrats, farmers, teachers, non-profits, the public safety community, and business leaders.

 

Leading up to Election Day, Chesapeake executed a comprehensive get-out-the-vote campaign featuring a combination tools including canvassing, direct mail, phone-banking, social media and poll coverage.

Results

In the face of strong and active opposition, more than 62% of voters approved Charter – a huge and unusual win in Frederick. In 2014, Frederick County elected its first County Executive and Council as a Charter government.

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