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Engaging and Informing an Electorate

Project Overview

Mueller Communications has partnered with many municipalities throughout Wisconsin to create and execute public information and education campaigns. These campaigns articulate the need for additional resources to fund key community services and improvements, and demonstrate to voters how a passed or failed referendum impacts the whole community.

The Challenge

In recent years, budget challenges in municipalities across the State of Wisconsin have required local officials to make difficult decisions to ensure the continuation of quality municipal services. In many communities, with other options exhausted, elected officials have sought the support of local voters to increase property taxes through referendums. Understanding the complexities of funding scenarios and the hot-button-issue of increased taxes, municipalities knew the key to an informed and engaged electorate was a comprehensive and strategic communications effort.

The Solution

Through its work with numerous municipalities across the state, Mueller created a signature approach to referendums – approaching the issue through three key phases designed to engage and inform residents:

Options Assessment:
Mueller works with municipal leaders to analyze data, highlight opportunities and challenges, and outline potential solutions and funding options. 

Community Survey:
Mueller guides community leaders through a community input strategy, usually through a comprehensive survey. If the survey reveals support for a referendum, and elected officials agreed that a referendum was an appropriate next step, Mueller moves to phase three. 

Education Campaign:
Once a community determines that a referendum is required, Mueller Communications designs a toolkit of communications materials to share information about the community’s needs, the fact that a referendum will be on the ballot, and the potential impacts of a “yes” or “no” vote. Mueller then develops and distributes assets including online, printed, and direct mail collateral, as well as targeted social media advertising.

The Results

The measure of success is an informed and engaged electorate, and we have achieved this result in communities throughout the state, including the cities of Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, South Milwaukee and Whitewater, and Villages of Caledonia, Pleasant Prairie and Yorkville.