The ads state phrases like, ‘Jobs and education, not jails and incarceration,’ ‘Demand Medicaid expansion,’ and ‘The rent is too damn high.’

Operation Blackout, a vote-by-mail mobilization project spearheaded by state Sen. Shevrin Jones, has launched a five-figure ad buy in non-urban communities across the state to encourage Floridians to cast their ballot.

The May ad buy kicks off the organization’s new monthly ad buy campaign that will continue until Election Day. The organization expects the campaign to result in more than 40,000 vote-by-mail registrations from voters of color amid the state’s increasingly restrictive voting laws.

Operation Blackout expects to top six figures in spending for digital vote-by-mail ads by the time of the state Primary Election.

An example of an Operation Blackout May ad. Image via Operation Blackout.

“Florida is at a pivotal point in our history and it’s imperative we come together to ensure every single Floridian voice is heard,” Jones said in a statement. “For too long, voices have been suppressed, voters have been intimidated and hundreds of thousands of black and brown voices have been ignored, because they don’t fit the traditional ‘super-voter’ profile. That’s why this November and beyond, I’m committed, alongside our great partners, to make the case for progressive values and policies to Black and brown voters, to enroll them into vote-by-mail and then to fight tooth and nail to ensure that they have easy access to the ballot box.”

An example of an Operation Blackout May ad. Image via Operation Blackout.

The ads will be targeted to voters of color who are under 40, those who live in non-urban areas and who are not regular voters in midterm elections. Ads will run on social media platforms.

The ads highlight topics and policies important to Floridians of color to encourage voter participation. Ads state phrases like, “Jobs and education, not jails and incarceration,” “Demand Medicaid expansion,” “Vote by mail to keep bans off of our bodies,” and “The rent is too damn high.”

With Democrats trailing Republicans among active Florida voters for the first time in modern history, many party officials and activists believe something needs to be done to reengage progressives in the Sunshine State. However, the goal of Operation Blackout is to get already registered voters of color to turnout to vote. Between 2018 and 2020, Black voters enrolled in vote-by-mail ended up voting at a much higher rate than those who voted in person, according to Operation Blackout.

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