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Your Voice, Your Vote: How ABC10 used community engagement to empower voters ahead of the election

Through our in-person and online outreach efforts, ABC10 collected 171 survey responses with election questions to inform our election coverage.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — ABC10 launched a voter engagement project in October ahead of the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. We wanted to make sure our election coverage provided the most helpful and relevant information reflecting community needs and concerns. Our team did so by asking people for their honest answers to a list of important questions curated with the help of the Race and Culture team.

ABC10 attended 10 events and gatherings in North and South Sacramento to hear from community members about what was important to them during election season. Our outreach efforts specifically focused on areas with low voter turnout during the primary election, which are also historically segregated neighborhoods in Sacramento County.

Where we went

Anchors, reporters, producers and the marketing team tabled at festivals, trunks or treats, neighborhood grocery stores and a public library. We also visited neighborhood association meetings in parts of North Sacramento to better connect with community leaders and residents. At these events, we collected survey responses to help us understand what the biggest community concerns were and what voting personally means to each respondent. We also expanded our response pool through an online survey we frequently pushed out on our broadcast, web and social platforms. This gave people who didn't have access to our in-person engagement efforts the chance to ask questions they may have about the election.

Through ABC10’s in-person and online engagement efforts, we heard from more than 170 people. Thanks to the many conversations with community members and online responses, our newsroom was able to better understand what information is most important to the public as we gear up for the midterm election.

Summary of responses

171 people filled out our survey, both in-person and online. Here’s what we found out...

When we asked whether people thought their vote matters during our in-person outreach, 79 people said “yes" and 12 people responded “no.” When asked why they didn't believe their vote mattered, a majority said they didn’t trust how ballots were being counted. Another 12 people who participated in the in-person survey chose not to answer. Two people said they weren’t sure.

When asked what type of information would help people decide whether or not they want to vote, 24 people said they wanted more information on the statewide propositions and their local measures. Many of them said the language used to describe the propositions and measures are wordy and confusing. Six people said they wanted to learn more about the history of the candidates they were voting for, and another six said they wanted to sit in at town hall meetings or debates with the candidates, especially in their neighborhoods. Six people also said they found the mailed voter guides and TV news helpful to stay informed. However, two of them said they would like more voter material to be translated into Spanish.

When asked what issues were most important for people ahead of the election during our in-person outreach, the most number of respondents (23) said inflation was top of mind (including high rent, gas and food prices). Twenty people said homelessness was a top issue (particularly around finding housing and resources for unhoused individuals). The third highest priority was neighborhood safety. Some other notable responses also included access to health services, more youth services, women’s rights and crime.  

Jamaela Jennings, who participated in our survey during our outreach outside of the New Arcade Market in North Sacramento, owns J Spot Kitchen and said too many customers have shared stories with her about losing loved ones to violence.

"The crime is up pretty high. A lot of deaths with our young kids. A lot, a lot of young teenagers and young people of color are being killed and not enough is being done about that," said Jennings.

What came out of our outreach

We answered your questions and responded to your concerns on ABC10’s politics page and on-air. This included Q&A based on survey responses, as well as concise explainers on California ballot propositions and local Sacramento County and city measures. We also made sure to hear from diverse communities about their thoughts ahead of the midterm election in both North and South Sacramento.

Thanks to community members voicing their concerns to our team, we also took a closer look at why bond measures J and K created opposing views within the Twin Rivers Unified school boardwho funds and submits the California ballot propositions, and why the same proposition keeps showing up when it was already voted on during past elections.

What's next?

We hope to continue our outreach efforts to ensure we’re amplifying diverse voices and providing relevant information to communities who are often overlooked in the media. Our Race and Culture team attends community events and visits neighborhoods to better serve those who have been historically underrepresented. We will be taking what we learned from this voter engagement project and applying it to our future engagement efforts. In the meantime, do have a story that you want our Race and Culture team to look into or an event you want us to attend? Email us at raceandculture@abc10.com 

We still want to hear from you!

It's never too late to reach out and ask us election-related questions. We're days away from Election Day. Do you have any questions? Let us know down below. We want to help you until the very end. 

Watch more: Midterm Election 2022: A look at California's District 3 race | To the Point

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