Voters Heed Garcia

A voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaign created by Garcia LKS 360 contributed to an impressive turnout of first-time Puerto Rican voters in the U.S. mid-term elections, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration said.

That organization, which serves as the mainland office of the Governor of Puerto Rico, hired the San Antonio agency earlier this year to create a non-partisan voter education effort.

Hispanic pollster Bendixen & Associates found that 15 percent of Puerto Ricans who cast ballots were first-time voters, amounting to an estimated 75,000 people.

While voter turnout is high in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the number of Puerto Rican voters on the mainland is significantly lower. Among the reasons the shop found: cynicism that one vote will not count; and a desire to leave behind the highly charged politics of their homeland.

In response, the agency chose to use images of family and culture in its advertising and highlighted the idea that together Puerto Ricans can represent a powerful voting bloc.

“We didn’t want to put anyone off who didn’t want to be pushed into voting, but we wanted to make sure they understood that together 3 million Puerto Ricans can make a change,” said agency director of client services and strategic planning Erika Prosper.

The “Let nothing stop us” campaign included two English and two Spanish television spots, plus print, radio, Internet, outdoor and grassroots elements in 12 markets with high Puerto Rican populations. Media spending was $2.5 million.

Miami-based Bendixen found an 87 percent campaign awareness rate among Puerto Rican voters interviewed at the polls in four cities.”It was a very targeted effort,” Prosper said.