This Fall, Firefighters and EMS Fund is proud to have supported voter turnout in four different cities around the US. The turnout we drove gave a boost to ballot measures and politicians who supported fire/ems policy in Strongsville Ohio, Marion Ohio, Oak Harbor Washington, and Oswego Illinois. 3 out of 4 measures we supported passed. We targeted nearly 60,000 voters dispersed among these 4 cities with SMS messages, emails, and video ads on social media sites like YouTube and Facebook.
“These individuals were identified as low-propensity voters who are pro tax and spend” said Executive Director Jane Porter. “When advocating for bipartisan services like Fire and EMS it is important to find people who will respond to your messaging and call to action. These are the people we reached out to.”
In Oswego, the fire district requested that a levy which was defeated in June this year be placed on the ballot once more. We at Firefighters and EMS Fund hoped this would be an easy win for the Oswego Fire Protection District given that it was defeated in June by a margin of a single vote. Unfortunately, Oswego voters rejected the proposed tax increase that would have supported increased demand driven by population growth. The tax increase was defeated 10,690 “No” votes to 9,384 “Yes” votes.
In Strongsville, a levy known as Issue 88 was placed on the ballot to support wages and station upkeep, generating around $2.2 million per year. The levy passed by a margin of 6,732 votes or 68%.
In Marion, a levy was placed on the ballot to help replace a fire station that has been outgrown by the department, modernize another, and place heavy equipment on a replacement cycle. The levy will generate $1.08 million annually and was passed with 4,155 “Yes” votes and 3,038 “No” votes.
In Oak Harbor, a referendum was held to raise property taxes, supporting the Fire Department’s ability to hire new staff, purchase more equipment, and build a new station. 60%+ supermajority was required for the bonds to pass. The first bond for the levy lid lift passed with just enough votes at 60.86% The levy lid lift will cover operating expenses at a new fire station as well as support replacement of a 24 year old engine and old PPE. The second bond which was a general obligation bond for a fire station and equipment passed with 62.22% voting “Yes”. The Fire Chief states that the department will begin hiring new firefighters in 2023, replacing equipment in 2023-2024, and building its new fire station within two years.
Firefighters and EMS Fund is proud of the work we did to boost turnout of low propensity voters who would support these types of political measures and looks forward to completing more projects like these in the coming years.
Image Credit: Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash