Overnight, on the third Super Tuesday, body outlines appeared on sidewalks of Washington D.C. Each one holding a ballot to symbolize those who have lost their lives to gun violence.
The move kicked off the #GhostVote social campaign, from grassroots organizations, States United to Prevent Gun Violence Action Fund, Inc. (SUPGVAF) and the Newtown Action Alliance, asking people to make a symbolic gesture of their own and pledge to be “ghost voters,” using their vote on behalf of those who no longer can.
A website enables people to register their intention and asks them to select a victim of gun violence to whom they can dedicate their #GhostVote. Users can click on photos of victims and learn a little about them, and the manner of their death. Once this decision is made, the user can share an adapted picture and use it as a social profile pic. Social posts also target legislators in respective users’ states.
This is followed by an invitation to sign a MoveOn.org petition and agree to be contacted again nearer the election. The site also carries wider information about gun laws, and a reminder that 30,000 lives are lost each year to gun violence in the U.S., with a further 70,000 people shot and injured. A video, narrated by actor Kathryn Erbe (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), explains how the various elements work and how people can join in.
The aim of the push, created by agency Grey New York, is to put “common sense gun laws at the top of the agenda leading up to the elections.” The new campaign follows last year’s “Guns With History” video, also by Grey New York. The very striking film was set in a phony gun shop where unsuspecting prospective buyers were shocked to learn the back history of guns that had been used in violent crimes and made to think again about their intended purchases.
The campaign won numerous awards in 2015, including 14 Cannes Lions, and was widely covered in the media and shared extensively. Grey New York says there was a 3,000% increase in donations to SUPGVAF and a 1250% increase in signed petitions.