Voter Guide Success: Interview with Simon Lewis
In 2018, National Police Support Fund released a Voter Guide, The 5 Key Issues Impacting Police Officers, which highlighted five key issues affecting the law enforcement community. It was meant to serve as a reference to pro-law enforcement voters before they headed to the polls on November 6.
Simon Lewis, Executive Director of National Police Support Fund, was asked about the Voter Guide’s success, how the idea of it came about, and what is up their sleeve for 2019.
How did National Police Support Fund come up with the idea of a Voter Guide?
Voter guides are great methods to accomplish a couple things. First of all, a voter guide helps to educate voters on candidates on the ballot and where those candidates stand on important issues. Secondly, a voter guide allows an organization such as National Police Support Fund to highlight our hot-button issues and urge voters to take action. Voter guides also may include information on voter registration options and polling locations. Our 2018 Voter Guide had too wide a distribution for us to focus on activating voters and instead honed in on issues that mean the most to our law enforcement officers.
Who came up with the information within the Voter Guide? Did you have specific police officers give their insight?
National Police Support Fund looked to law enforcement officers, their families, supporters, and the general political climate in order to draft our 2018 Voter Guide. Initially, I got together with an advisory committee, some political activists, grassroots supporters, and current and retired law enforcement officers. We really drilled down into issues we thought we could address in this election. After we nailed down our top five issues, which was no easy feat, we presented our ideas at conferences around the country to get additional input.
Which conferences did you attend to promote the Voter Guide?
We had the great fortune to be invited to a few industry-only events and conferences last year. We attended a couple Fraternal Order of Police Presidents Conferences and National Trooper Coalition events. Those events specifically led to not only great feedback on our voter guide, but also to some great grassroots opportunities that we used to help make a difference in the November 2018 elections. We also attended National Police Week in Washington, DC as a show of solidarity with our men and women in uniform from across the country. We also attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference to gain some additional perspective on challenges and opportunities around the world.
Did you also upload it to the website and/or social media?
We absolutely used social media and the internet to disseminate the voter guide. We always want to reach as many voters and involve as many grassroots supporters as possible, so we take advantage of every avenue available to us to get the word out on these important issues.
What was the reaction of those who were able to talk with you and look over at the Voter Guide at conferences?
Honestly, many of the attendees were surprised at the prospect of a political organization attending what are traditionally industry events, but once we got to talking to officials and police leadership and we explained our goals and our methods, we were accepted pretty quickly. We are fighting to give officers and their supporters a stronger voice in the political process, and that’s something all citizens should be able to stand behind.
I see in order to view the Voter Guide on your website, you have to enter your email address. How much did your supporters database grow via your website?
Our grassroots supporters are the heart and soul of our organization. Without their support we could not accomplish anything. One way that we help inform and activate our supporters is through email. Email is so effective and ubiquitous nowadays that it’s important to be able to have that direct link to your supporters.
Where did you find the most interaction with it? Was it at conferences, on the website and/or social media?
We had our most meaningful conversations both face-to-face at conferences and events and on social media as well. While attending conferences, we really had a unique opportunity to get the insider’s viewpoint on some of the issues that we stand for, and it really helped to solidify National Police Support Fund’s core tenets. On the other hand, social media is such a great outlet to reach everyday citizens and supporters, and it was through that medium that we really engaged with the families and loved ones of law enforcement officers across the country.
Will National Police Support Fund be providing a Voter Guide for 2019?
National Police Support Fund is always looking for ways to educate voters on issues and we urge individuals to wield the power of their vote wisely. I don’t want to give away any of our 2019 projects, but you can definitely look for us to continue growing our grassroots support base and keeping voters informed on issues important to our law enforcement officers.
Although the Voter Guide was originally meant to serve as an instructive tool for citizens in the 2018 midterm election season, the issues covered in the Voter Guide will continue to be at the forefront for law enforcement community throughout 2019.