Women Attorneys at Venable (WAVe) recently held another thought-provoking event at our DC office, featuring Sarah Ullman, a filmmaker, gun safety advocate, and founder of the political action committee One Vote at a Time (One Vote). The lively discussion was led by Meredith McCoy, an associate in Venable's Political Law Practice and counsel to One Vote, who introduced Sarah as a catalyst for change and a disruptor in the political campaign space.
Sarah was motivated to inspire change following the mass shooting in Orlando in 2016. Because she "knew how to make videos that do well on the internet," she decided to set up a political action committee to help finance the production of campaign videos. Shortly afterward, One Vote was established. Since then, she has produced hundreds of ads for candidates advocating for social change. These ads have helped several political outsiders get elected to seats in state and local races, where races are won or lost on much smaller amounts of money than at the federal level. The key, she said, is to produce ads that connect the candidate to the political issue that is driving their campaign.
Showing a few viral campaign videos her PAC has produced, Sarah attributed One Vote's success to an efficient business model and her all-female crew. Aside from increasing the representation of female filmmakers in the production industry, Sarah explained that working with a group of very organized women makes it possible for One Vote to achieve a high impact with minimal resources (an average One Vote video costing as little as $2,700 can have a profound impact in a state race). "No one is doing anything like this in politics," she said. "We use our pennies wisely and we see the results, not only in the wins but in the investments our candidates make in their communities."
Sarah concluded the interview by sharing her plans to continue making waves in 2020, when she hopes to raise enough funds to work with over 260 candidates across at least 13 states.