In December 2021, after years of grassroots community activism, NYC council passed Intro 1867, which would extend local voting rights to immigrant New Yorkers with legal work status beginning in the 2023 for local elections allowing them to cast votes for mayor, comptroller and other local offices. This would include an estimated 800,000 non-citizens including permanent residents, people with work visas along with those covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
3x3 was engaged by The New York City Campaign Finance Board / NYC Votes to plan and conduct a research study to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of the diverse and newly eligible city-only voters and to ensure that they are aware of and connect with the campaign's messaging, design, and direction.
Unfortunately, in June 2022, at the end of our study, the ruling was struck down by the court and has since been held up by lawsuits which are currently being appealed. New York City would have become the largest city in the U.S to grant noncitizens the right to vote.
The New York City Campaign Finance Board planned to use the insights from our research study to inform a citywide registration and turnout campaign to engage new voters in early 2023, using the agency’s public-facing NYC Votes brand. These included actionable insights, high-level messaging recommendations and linguistic learnings that would inform the campaign, address pain points and ensure voter registration accessibility in culturally responsive ways.
*There are various references to the voting law, which may include but are not limited to:
Non-citizen Voting, City-Only Voting, Municipal Voting Law, Our City, Our Vote (OCOV), Intro 1867, Local Law 11(2022). Legislation language link here
PROJECT MANAGER, DESIGN RESEARCH, STRATEGIST
March - June 2022
3x3 innovation agency
MULTILINGUAL MESSAGING FOR NEWLY ELIGIBLE VOTERS
Voting age non-citizens in NYC
Distribution of voting age non-citizens in NYC
39% of NYC’s foreign born population
are voting age non-citizens
CENSUS POPULATION ANALYSIS & SAMPLING PLAN
We began by partnering with a data expert to conduct census analysis to define our target communities. Analysis of the U.S. Census data, such as ACS 2015-90 data and 2020 microdata was conducted to estimate the total population of eligible voting age noncitizens in NYC and their geographic distribution by different demographic indicators such as language, race, digital access, education.
We held 8 focus group sessions based on our target language groups to help converge findings from our 1:1 interviews and our survey tool.
1:1 in depth interviews
We held In depth semi structured interviews were conducted with eligible new voters to allow for open-ended responses and deeper exploration of target groups’ attitudes.
We designed and circulated a paper and digital survey to gain a baseline understanding of eligible new voters’ sentiments, priorities, as well as identify information gaps related to the new local voting law.
Key Informant / Expert Interviews
I conducted in-depth interviews with organizations that provide direct services to immigrant communities in NYC which revealed high-level perspectives, concerns and sentiments related to the new municipal voting law. Organizations included: immigrant affairs agencies, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, nonprofits and legal services providers.
BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE RECRUITMENT STRATEGY
MULTILINGUAL OUTREACH PROCESS
As we began the outreach process, our research ambassadors were paired with our partnering CBOs to target specific language groups and neighborhoods. Our research ambassadors were not only bilingual and translators but also native language speakers, some of whom themselves were members of the community in the neighborhoods where they conducted the research. This level of cultural context was necessary to be able to delve deeper into language nuances and learnings.
Qualitative Research was conducted in English,Chinese, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Bengali & Arabic. American Sign Language (if requested). Survey was also distributed in Russian.
All posters, surveys and collateral for print and social media were designed in these 6 languages and included QR code access. To include folks who don’t have internet access or limited digital literacy we distributed printed surveys and posters when canvassing in diverse ethnic neighborhoods.
PARTNERING WITH STAKEHOLDERS
Our primary recruitment strategy was to partner with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) who work directly with NYC’s immigrant population. We reached out to 40+ CBOs with the final selection primarily based on the target neighborhoods and language groups identified in our sampling plan. Our qualitative research focused more on difficult-to-reach population groups with limited English proficiency and internet bandwidth.
The CBOs we partnered with were pivotal in the promotion of our survey through the use of their newsletters and social media channels. They also aided in identifying relevant ways the community would be likely to engage such as community events where we canvassed and tabled in order to speak directly to community members to address questions about the research.
ANALYSIS & INSIGHTS
Our team presented the final findings with the internal Campaign Finance Board team and their partners which included up to 100 CBO’s and agencies.
Insights from qualitative and quantitative data analysis mapped back to our research line of inquiries which included:
Surfacing public awareness and perceptions
Assessing drivers and barriers
Understanding linguistic nuances and word/visual reactions
Identifying trusted messengers and channels
The findings from this study have not been made public. To learn more about the learnings of this study please contact 3x3 directly.
- Sample pages of presentation shared with internal Campaign Finance Board/NYC Votes team and partners.