Case Study

Every Voice, Every Vote coalition builds civic momentum ahead of Philadelphia elections

More than 70 media and community partners in Every Voice, Every Vote have facilitated in-person events, televised town hall meetings, and extensive issues-driven news coverage.

October 24, 2023

An illustration of hands raised against the Philadelphia skyline

As Philadelphians prepare to head to the polls to elect the city’s 100th mayor, the Every Voice, Every Vote coalition is committed to ensuring that all citizens have access to high-quality journalism, civics education, and the opportunity to engage with candidates and each other around important issues facing their communities.

The more than 70 media and community partners in Every Voice, Every Vote have facilitated in-person events, televised town hall meetings, and extensive issues-driven news coverage through the year, but activities are ramping up in the lead-up to the November 7 elections.

Every Voice, Every Vote is dedicated to providing access to high-quality information and tools to help all city residents harness their power and hold Philly’s elected officials accountable today, tomorrow, and beyond. Democracy can work how it should—for all of us—if we demand it together.

Recent Every Voice, Every Vote highlights include:

• On Monday, 6abc hosted “A New Chapter: The Philadelphia Mayoral Town Hall,” a televised town hall meeting with the Democratic and Republican nominees for mayor. The event was produced in partnership with Every Voice, Every Vote, which helped source questions from Philadelphia community members.

• The candidates engaged with dozens of Philadelphia students at the Children’s Mayoral Conversation at the Please Touch Museum. The Every Voice, Every Vote event gave students the opportunity to ask questions and get involved in the political process.

“I would describe it as a new experience, something that I can carry on for the rest of my life to inspire me,” said 4th Grader Samaj Williams told Fox29, which reported on the event.

• The Urban Affairs Coalition is hosting a mayoral forum Thursday night in North Philadelphia focusing on key issues affecting Philadelphians: gun violence, education and the arts, housing, jobs and the economy, public health, and city management and operations. The event will be live streamed by Every Voice, Every Vote partners WURD Radio and We Talk Weekly.

• Next week, WHYY is hosting a dialogue with business leaders from across Philadelphia to discuss the issues that matter most to them and help shape WHYY’s coverage of the race and the next administration.

Every Voice, Every Vote is a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from Comcast NBCUniversal, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Knight Foundation Donor-Advised Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, The Lenfest Institute, Peter and Judy Leone, Harriet and Larry Weiss, and the Wyncote Foundation, among others.

People over politics

Every Voice, Every Vote was designed to be an inclusive, citywide movement that prioritizes people over politics.

Every Voice, Every Vote partners include 34 media organizations, including community-based and neighborhood-specific publications, ethnic media, legacy media, and public media.

The initiative also engaged 45 community organizations, including nonprofits serving Philadelphia’s distinct communities and civic engagement organizations, and 57 social media influencers.

Every Voice, Every Vote began in spring 2023 in advance of the primary elections, and since then partners have produced more 230 projects to engage Philadelphians, including:

  • Solutions, service, and community-driven journalism
  • Translation services and multi-language activities in 14 languages
  • Public forums, debates, and community conversations
  • Voter education materials
  • Civics education activities and events

A key component of the project was a public opinion survey that Every Voice, Every Vote commissioned to inform partners on which issues matter most to Philadelphians to ensure reporting and community conversation centered on these issues and not horserace campaign coverage. The project’s community-centered model created natural feedback loops and allowed media partners to intentionally incorporate the voices of Philadelphians in reporting.


From December 2022 through July 2023, while it covered the primary election, Every Voice, Every Vote media partners collectively reached 15 million people, community partners reached 880,000 residents, and social media ambassadors reached 741,000 people — 70% of whom were ages 18-34 and 72% of whom were people of color.

Candidates have referred publicly and specifically to the results of the EVEV public opinion survey, and many media and community partners incorporated the results into their work. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote 12, page-one feature stories about the views of Philadelphians that emerged from the survey research, the candidate positions on each of the issues studied, and an array of prospective solutions. The Philadelphia Citizen and each of the major television stations referred overtly to the data from the survey and the five issues it highlighted during public debates, eliciting candidate views and policy proposals on each.

Both the media and community partners hosted several voter engagement events throughout the city, including debates, community listening sessions, and forums for candidates focused on specific issues, neighborhoods, and identities. These events helped create direct communication channels to and from Philadelphia residents that were both unprecedented and highly equitable, as each event was unfiltered by PAC funding, personal wealth, social media, or television advertising.

Every Voice, Every Vote also created space for collaboration among partners: Media partners engaged in a total of 169 partnerships during the primary season, while half of community partners reported engaging in a collaborative effort with another organization.

“Never in the city’s history have there been so many mayoral forums or so much news coverage on so many topics critical to the future of our city,” said Reverend Luis Cortés, CEO of Latino community organization Esperanza.

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