Liverpool City Region: reaching young voters and explaining the difference between elected and unelected mayors

Liverpool City Region is one of six new combined authorities that will hold mayoral elections on 4 May. In the first of a new a series, PRWeek looks at the election campaigns and how comms and PR are being used to raise awareness and turnout.

Liverpool City Region is trying to reach young voters with its comms campaign
Liverpool City Region is trying to reach young voters with its comms campaign
Liverpool City Region has pulled together the combined comms expertise of six local authorities: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral, to promote the elections.

It is also using the resources of the combined authority itself, the Local Enterprise Partnership, housing provider Registered Social Landlords, the Chamber of Commerce and Merseytravel, to raise awareness of the election, as well as the deadline of 13 April to register to vote.

One challenge for the region will be to help voters differentiate between the roles of Liverpool Council’s existing mayor, the civic mayor and the new elected mayor, with eight candidates standing for election to the job, including the main parties, UKIP, the Greens and smaller parties. 

The local campaign will be also be complemented by the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) national campaign ‘Our Mayor, Your Vote’, which includes digital, outdoor media and a radio campaign.

Multiple channels
Karen Christie, principle comms manager for Knowsley Council, told PRWeek that the campaign would use multiple channels to reach more than a million people eligible to vote in the coming election.

She said: "We will be using social media channels, websites, media engagement, information screens in ‘One Stop Shops’, residents’ magazines, business newsletters and community messaging, along with internal communication channels such as intranets, team briefings and blogs."

Liverpool City Region has also developed a website ahead of the election to raise awareness and answer frequently asked questions and it will use visitor numbers to the website, as well as comments received via social media and turnout figures on the day of the election, to measure the success of its campaign.

In its last election, for Police and Crime Commissioners last May, turnout was just over 31 per cent.

Reaching young voters
Along with the wider electorate, Liverpool is making a special effort to reach young people, both to register for voting and to take part in the poll, by targeting the region’s universities and colleges directly, said Christie.

She added: "In order to reach students, campaign materials and messaging has been shared with the Merseyside Colleges Association and Greater Merseyside Learning Provider Federation."

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