Teaneck, NJ – As a result of Teach NJ’s targeted “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) campaign for last week’s municipal election in Teaneck, New Jersey, voter turnout in the four precincts targeted by the advocacy organization reached 54 percent compared to 33 percent in other parts of NJ.
Outreach efforts by Teach NJ, a project of the Orthodox Union, focused on encouraging residents to return ballots mailed automatically to their home by the State of New Jersey.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had to cancel in-person events, which typically play a key role in successful GOTV efforts. Instead, the team leaned heavily into social media. This included producing a series of social media videos, enlisting pulpit rabbis to actively encourage their congregants to vote, organizing teams of volunteers to phone bank, and mobilizing teenagers to urge their parents and grandparents to return completed ballots. As a result, the team was able to maximize its voter outreach resources.
Apart from in-person events, Teach NJ followed the GOTV model created by its Florida counterpart, Teach FL, which has developed a track record of highly effective voter mobilization. In 2018, Teach FL increased turnout among its target group of day school and yeshiva families by 238 percent in the primary and 160 percent in the general election. At 58 percent, total turnout in North Miami Beach was 150 percent higher than the Miami city average.
“Getting out the vote is such a central part of what we do in order to be effective advocates for nonpublic schools,” said Renee Klyman, Teach NJ’s grassroots director. “We were undeterred by COVID-19 and were successful because we identified exactly who we needed to reach and how to reach them. We used every channel at our disposal to deliver our messages at multiple touch points. The families we targeted care a great deal about education, so it was up to us to connect the dots between building a community of voters and the ability to have our priorities taken seriously by elected officials.”
About Teach NJ
Teach NJ is the New Jersey division of Teach Coalition, an Orthodox Union project that advocates on behalf of nonpublic schools for equitable distribution of government funding. Since 2015, it has secured an additional $100 million in funding for New Jersey’s nonpublic schools, which is used to increase security, enhance education and defray higher tuition costs.