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Election Advocacy and the HIV/AIDS Community . 2012 Election Advocacy. www.HIVHealthReform.org/HIVmedaccess. Rules for Election Advocacy. Do’s and Don’ts. DON’T Wear or say anything that promotes a candidate or party Tell voters who to vote for

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Election Advocacy and the HIV/AIDS Community

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do s and don ts
Do’s and Don’ts


  • Wear or say anything that promotes a candidate or party
  • Tell voters who to vote for
  • Connect voting with an issue (don’t say: “vote for AIDS”)


  • Encourage participation in the civic process
  • Educate your community on ways to register and vote
  • Remind them that they have a voice
do s and don ts examples
Do’s and Don’ts: Examples



  • We support Bill 123 which would increase funding for ADAP
  • Do you support Bill 123?
  • You should sign up to vote – here’s how
  • Do you know where the candidates stand on AIDS issues?
  • Vote for AIDS in 2012
  • Support Romney in 2012!
  • Republicans suck, vote Democrat!
  • You should sign up to vote and then vote for me
our goal1
Our Goal
  • Increase the awareness and importance of HIV/AIDS in the 2012 election cycle by:
    • Getting candidates on record on pressing HIV/AIDS issues
    • Getting media attention on HIV/AIDS issues during the election season

Over the past decade there has been a continual commitment by the White House to prioritize HIV/AIDS programs with President Bush’s President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy. This resource commitment is paying off. We believe that with strong and sustained investment in HIV prevention and treatment we can end the AIDS epidemic within our lifetime. As president, would you continue prioritizing people with and at risk of HIV/AIDS by protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and other critical health programs?


The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) is a public program that helps uninsured Americans pay for their medications. Right now we have nearly 4,000 people on waiting lists across the United States, and estimated 200,000 HIV-positive people in the U.S. who do not have access to HIV medications at all. We know that HIV-positive people who are on medication are much more likely to be able to work and pay taxes and are much less likely to need costly emergency medical interventions. Those on medication are also 96% less likely to transmit the virus, preventing more infections and future medical costs. As president, will you commit to fully-fund ADAP, a program that saves American lives and taxpayer dollars?


What is my story? How does it relate to the question I’m asking?

How can I make this question personal?

How can I make my question memorable and quotable?

hivhealthreform org hcaccess

Use the handy dandy story worksheet to find out

framing your message
Framing Your Message


  • information is included in the story and what is not


  • The frame shapes how the audience views who is responsible for the problem and the solution


  • Make it a personal
  • short "sound bites" that reporters can use
  • Frame the question in a moral way so they can’t say “no” without looking bad
framing the adap issue
Framing the ADAP Issue
  • ADAP waiting lists for HIV medications will cause people with HIV in the U.S. to become needlessly sick and die
    • Moral
  • ADAP promotes jobs and employment by keeping people with HIV healthy enough to work and pay taxes
    • Economic sense
framing the adap issue1
Framing the ADAP Issue
  • Results from a recent clinical trial showed a 96% reduction in HIV transmission by HIV-positive people who initiated antiretroviral therapy.
    • Newsworthy, scientific breakthrough
  • These results provide dramatic evidence that access to HIV treatment can play a significant role in reducing HIV infections in Iowa and nationwide.
    • Community impact
hivhealthreform org hivmedaccess

Again, use the handy dandy story worksheet to plan and to make it personal!

what is bird dogging
What is Bird-Dogging?
  • Bird-dogging is a tactic activists use to demand answers from politicians in a public setting.
  • Simply put, bird-dogging involves attending a public event and asking politicians questions.
  • This tactic can help bring media attention to your issue and inspire elected officials to commit to new policies.

You can learn about upcoming

events by getting on the party or

candidate’s email lists.

Once you find an event, ask the organizer for details—when the doors open, if you need tickets, and if there is a question period.


Bringing along a few friends

  • who share in your cause and are
  • willing to ask questions will
  • strengthen not only your efforts,
  • but also your confidence.
  • The more people, the more likely it is that at least one of your questions will get answered.

Write your questions in advance!

    • Make it personal by sharing your own story—what has inspired you to take on this cause?
    • Make a clear ask—if you have identified a problem, what is the solution and how can this person enact change?
    • Make it easy for them to say yes—it is a simple, moral obligation.
    • Practice your questions with a friend who will act as the politician or a devil’s advocate.

If you are in a group,

spread out—do not all sit


Arrive early so you can

try to get a seat near

the front.


First, Fast, High

As soon as there is an opportunity for questions, get your hand up first, fast and high!


Candidates often walk

  • through the crowd giving
  • handshakes. This provides additional opportunity to engage in conversation, so get in line!
  • When you shake hands, ask your question. You’ll only have a few seconds, so make it quick and to the point.
  • If you have the chance, get a picture or an autograph to spend more time talking with this politician.

Bird-dogging is not about attacking an elected official or candidate. You will not make you or your cause look good if you do that.

Before asking anything of a politician, make sure you research his or her stance on the issue.

All that being said, elected officials work for us, and it is our responsibility to ask for the change we want.

state and regional action planning to mobilize voters

State and Regional Action Planning to Mobilize Voters

Special thanks to Jessica Terlikowski and Charles Stephens of AIDS United for the slides.

tips for successful voter mobilization
Tips for Successful Voter Mobilization
  • Learn the rules
    • Go to your Secretary of State’s website
    • Voter registration deadlines
    • Submission requirements
    • Rules for people with criminal records
  • Make a plan with realistic and attainable goals including
    • Number of people you want to register, get to the polls
    • Number of partners you plan to engage
  • Assess internal/external resources:
    • Existing efforts
    • Staff & volunteers
    • Peer educators
    • Registration opportunities (intake, support groups, health fairs, etc.)
tips for successful voter mobilization1
Tips for Successful Voter Mobilization
  • Get the materials you need
    • Info on issues
    • Voter registration cards
    • Federal Election Commission
    • Your Secretary of State’s website
    • AIDS Vote http://www.c2ea.org/aidsvote
  • Identify your target universe of to register
    • Clients, staff, volunteers, residents, etc.
    • Who else?
  • Go to where the people they are, but start with your base
    • Your agency
    • Planning council meetings
    • Community events
tips for successful voter mobilization2
Tips for Successful Voter Mobilization
  • Make it fun and easy
    • Create a voter registration station at your agency
    • Work with staff to integrate registration into encounters with clients
    • Organize volunteers to register voters at agency/community events
    • Identify registration captains
  • Organize educational forums for staff, clients, board members, and volunteers about key issues
  • Notify your network of important dates through email, phone calls, and social media
    • Registration deadline and election day!
  • Attend candidate forums and raise HIV/AIDS issues
let s get out the vote
Let’s Get Out the Vote!
  • Organize carpools
    • Use agency vehicles
    • Collaborate with faith partners or other organizations that are organizing rides to the polls
  • Get the word out
    • Phone calls
    • Fliers
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
  • Cast YOUR vote!