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Mary Mazzoni headshot

Inside TelevisaUnivision's Media Blitz to Drive Voter Registration

By Mary Mazzoni
TelevisaUnivision team Martes de Accion — the first voter registration event for Univision's Vota Conmigo campaign

The TelevisaUnivision team at the first Vota Conmigo event of 2024, held in New York City's Times Square last week. (Image courtesy of TelevisaUnivision)

Newscasters and on-air personalities lined the sidewalks of Times Square in New York City last week, broadcasting live to television, radio and digital audiences about the 2024 U.S. elections. Campaigners in matching T-shirts offered to help passersby register to vote and sign up for election updates. Overhead, billboards lit up with messaging for Vota Conmigo, a voter education campaign from the Mexican-American media company TelevisaUnivision and partners across the United States. 

Spanish for "Vote With Me," the Vota Conmigo campaign focuses on providing essential election information to Hispanic and Latino voters. The nonpartisan campaign reached 770 million media impressions and registered 1.3 million new voters ahead of the 2020 election. 

"It was a great success story," Teri Arvesu, SVP of social impact and sustainability at TelevisaUnivision, said of the 2020 effort. "That becomes the new benchmark — we have to get bigger and better from there." 

Civic engagement groups predict about 17.5 million Hispanic and Latino voters will cast a ballot in the November elections, a 6.5 percent increase over 2020. With voter registration through Vota Conmigo, TelevisaUnivision and its partners aim to increase Latino participation even further to 20 million at the polls. 

"This is about democracy," Arvesu said. "It doesn't matter who you vote for, I don't care. It's about showing up. And that means something fundamentally much deeper for our community when so many of our families came here from countries where they would not have been able to exercise that right to vote or to participate in a democratic society."

Teri Arvesu Daniel Garzar Jose Tomas Martes de Accion — the first voter registration event for Univisions Vota Conmigo campaign
Teri Arvesu, SVP of social impact and sustainability at TelevisaUnivision (left), attends the Times Square event with the leaders of Vota Conmigo nonprofit partners. (Image courtesy of TelevisaUnivision)

Breaking down barriers to voter registration in Hispanic and Latino communities 

Though they're a powerful voting bloc in the U.S., Hispanic and Latino Americans are less likely to be registered to vote compared to white Americans. A number of factors contribute to this, including a lack of voter education materials in Spanish and apprehension among new citizens about voting processes or their eligibility to vote. "Our community doesn't want to make a mistake," Arvesu explained. "Rather than making a mistake, they might prefer not to act." 

The Vota Conmigo campaign aims to break down some of these barriers and ensure more eligible Hispanic and Latino voters have their voices heard at the polls. 

"Compared to English, there's not enough [Spanish-language] content on voter education. There are fewer media companies in Spanish," Arvesu said. "Univision will always and has always filled that void for our community to the best of our ability." 

Univision is the largest Spanish-language media network in the United States for more than 30 years running, reaching millions of viewers annually with news broadcasts, sports, scripted series, telenovelas and other entertainment programming. It also serves local programs to 17 regional markets across the U.S. 

"The relationship of our audience to our brand goes so much further beyond the relationship that other communities may have with the English-language equivalent," Arvesu explained. "I’m a 200 percenter — 100 percent Hispanic and 100 percent American — and I have not found the equivalent of this in my American life. It is a phenomenon that exists in Spanish-language and through the immigrant experience. It is something emotional, it is nostalgic, and it's a lifeline." 

Because there are fewer trusted sources of election information in Spanish, Hispanic and Latino voters are often targeted with disinformation campaigns aimed at misleading them about their eligibility or even basic information like the date of Election Day and the time polls are open. 

Vota Conmigo leverages the brand's trusted relationship with audiences to provide essential election information like voter registration deadlines, vote-by-mail options and how to find local polling places, providing a powerful counter to disinformation efforts and drive voter registration.

"The way our community figures out if something is mis- or dis-information is to turn on Univision to see if they're talking about it," Arvesu said. "We need to make this something that is demystified. We are building the confidence of our community to participate. They're not going to make a mistake. And the more we can illustrate that in walking them through the process, giving them the tools to be able to build that confidence, we have found that tends to have higher conversion rates at the polls."

The network also enlists its reach and marketing might for omni-channel takeovers for Vota Conmigo, with segments integrated into everything from news broadcasts to sports, animated shows and the network's iconic entertainment hits like "El Gordo y La Flaca." 

"It feels like it's in brand," Arvesu said. "It's meeting the viewer where they are to get them interested, and then get them to consume the educational content and tools we've created."

Times Square event kicks off Tuesdays of action until Election Day

The Times Square splash marked the first 2024 iteration of Martes de Acción (Action Tuesday) when every television, radio, digital and social media property across the TelevisaUnivision network features content related to voter registration and Vota Conmigo. The days of action will continue monthly through Election Day, with weeklong takeovers in September and October for National Voter Registration Day and Vote Early Day. 

The event last week featured prominent television personalities including news broadcaster Borja Voces, who recently became a U.S. citizen and will vote for the first time in 2024. A video series called "Mi Primera Vez" ("My First Time") also features on-air mainstays like newscaster Maity Interiano and presenter Roberto Hernández reflecting on what it means to cast their first ballots. 

"All our talent gets super excited," Arvesu said. "Then they start sharing it, and it's all over the place. That's how you see it come to life." 

Borja Voces ar the first voter registration event for Univisions Vota Conmigo campaign
News broadcaster Borja Voces of Noticiero Univision Edicion Digital, who will vote for the first time in the 2024 U.S. election, strikes a pose at the Vota Conmigo event in Times Square last week. (Image courtesy of TelevisaUnivision)

Enlisting partners and ambassadors to drive voter registration 

While Univision's reach is large, it doesn't include every eligible Latino voter. Latino and Hispanic voters are more likely than white voters to get their political information from word-of-mouth sources like social media, and those who primarily rely on social media for this material tend to be less informed and engaged around politics.

To go beyond its own sphere of influence, Vota Conmigo aims to enlist viewers as ambassadors for accurate election information through their social media channels and in conversations with friends and family. "No matter how big your digital footprint is as an individual, each of us are micro-influencers," Arvesu said. 

The campaign also engages TelevisaUnivision employees working in front of and behind the camera. "We need to make sure our employees are highly, highly educated in the topic so we can deliver on the promise to our community to get the best, most accurate content," Arvesu said. "You have to start at home with everything, so we are starting at home. In our campaign, we work with all parts of the company. It is truly an enterprise-wide cause and commitment."

And it doesn't stop at Univision. The Vota Conmigo campaign also includes Latino civic and nonprofit organization like Mi Familia en Acción, The Libre Institute, NALEO and Poder LatinX. For the first time in 2024, other Spanish-language and bilingual media companies are also getting involved. 

The Hispanic Get Out the Vote Coalition — which includes TelevisaUnivision, the National Association of Broadcasters and media companies like Telemundo — aims to bring the reach of Spanish-language and bilingual media together behind voter registration. The coalition and Vota Conmigo are still accepting new partners in the ramp-up to November, and Arvesu is encouraged that the engagement they've seen so far will result in record turnout for Latino voters in November.

"I’ve been in the business for quite a bit of time and I don’t think I have ever seen that level of unity amongst the media companies," Arvesu said. "It's going to be a little hard to ignore this community in this election when you see the way these communities are collaborating and working together. There is strength in numbers, even if we have different opinions politically, and I hope people are taking note of it."

Mary Mazzoni headshot

Mary has reported on sustainability and social impact for over a decade and now serves as executive editor of TriplePundit. She is also the general manager of TriplePundit's Brand Studio, which has worked with dozens of organizations on sustainability storytelling, and VP of content for TriplePundit's parent company 3BL. 

Read more stories by Mary Mazzoni