This election cycle was unlike anything we had ever witnessed, putting into focus the need for strong, competent leadership from the state house to the White House. Amid a raging global pandemic and renewed call for racial justice, we knew the stakes were high going into November 2020. Typical means of energizing supporters and turning out the vote — in-person voter registration, door-to-door canvassing, campaign rallies — had to be replaced with a virtual setting. Issues such as access to quality health care, protections against discrimination, an end to systemic racism and economic relief for the most vulnerable in our society were no longer just talking points, but reality for so many in such a tangible way. We went into the election cycle, and even beyond that, with one goal in mind: to unite for equality like never before and harness every community member and pro-LGBTQ voice we could find to usher in a new chapter in America's history.
We entered election season taking what we’d learned in our 40+ year history with the new environment we were operating in, utilizing our digital platforms and the more than 3 million HRC members, to ensure pro-equality candidates won up and down the ballot. Our strategy was built around three key goals:
Educate people on how to vote safely and securely, dispelling misinformation around mail voting and equipping people with information to stay safe amid COVID.
Spotlight the stakes of the election for LGBTQ people, highlighting the various policy positions and stark differences and stances between candidates.
Lift up the everyday voters, sharing stories of hope and inspiration that would compel others to make a difference in the election by participating in any way possible.
Over the course of more than eight months, we deployed the below tactics to achieve victory:
Election 2020 Hub: It was key to equip people with one central location for everything they needed to know about the election. Our campaign hub provided a one-stop place for information, resources and ways to get involved.
Protest + Vote = Change: Centering Black and specifically Black LGBTQ voices, we launched our Protest + Vote = Change campaign over the summer of 2020. This campaign put into focus how systemic racism was and is still a prevalent force and why proven, bold leadership was needed at every level of government to effect real, lasting change.
Mail Voting & Voter Registration Initiatives: We wanted every person to have the chance to vote safely and securely during election season. Our staff and volunteers held phone/text banking sessions and virtual rallies, dispersed yard signs and resources around voting and worked to dispel misinformation campaigns around mail voting.
Unite for Equality Virtual Event: In lieu of our typical national dinner held annually in September, we hosted the first-ever Uniter for Equality Live! National Event. The night featured candidates, celebrities, community leaders and HRC members discussing the historic importance of the election and why everyone needed to do everything in their power to make a difference.
Continual Election Coverage: If there was an update on the campaign trail, we were right there to cover it. We followed along with the DNC and RNC, rolled out more endorsements than ever before in our organization’s history and provided rapid response news updates that touched on the issues impacting LGBTQ people the most.
Georgia Runoff Campaign: We didn’t let the victory achieved in November prevent us from losing sight of the long-term goal. Without skipping a beat, we amplified our work in the Georgia runoff, shifting our digital focus to the runoff election, amplifying our paid ad spend, hosting virtual events and more.
We didn’t just achieve victory this election season – we broke barriers. Across our campaign, we accomplished:
Endorsed 650 pro-equality candidates — the most in our 40+ year history — up and down the ballot while hiring and deploying 139 staff members
Launched 31.6 million messages
Garnered more than 15 million social media impressions
Delivered 7.2 million SMS text messages
Sent more than 2.5 million pieces of mail
Rallied 5,800 volunteers and logged a collective 28,500 hours of service
Participated in more than 2,650 virtual events
Helped register more than 200,000 people via our voter dashboard
Our success went beyond just numbers. Alongside our members and supporters, we helped:
Elect transgender candidates in historic numbers, including Sarah McBride, the first-ever openly trans person to serve in a state senate
Expand the LGBTQ Equality Caucus in the House to its largest ever
Elect four pro-LGBTQ senators and achieve a pro-equality majority in the Senate