Monday, September 21, 2009

Your most important investment

What is the single most important investment you can make if you are a local candidate running for office?

Your website? Nope.

Your yard signs? Heck no!

Your palm card? You’re getting closer.

It’s your voter file.

Without a voter file, you’re just driving in the dark without your headlights.

In its cheapest, a voter file is just an excel spreadsheet of voters in your district that you got from the county.

In its best form, you actually go to a voter file vendor, including the VAN (Voter Activation Network), Catalist, or Political Data Systems and get a real database of voters that you can manipulate into a useful form and that has additional, value added data, like precinct level NCEC data or data modeling functions.

With a good voter file, you can make the best of your time going door to door, asking for your support.

Without a good voter file, not only are you not making the best use of your time, you are not able to craft a realistic campaign plan that leads you from point A to 50% + 1 votes.


At 10/09/2009 04:48:00 PM, Anonymous MRL said...

I got a demo on a really cool "voter mobilization" tool that's being built. It's part voter file and is suppose to work with systems like VAN, but it integrates a bunch of tools to make the ground program, paid canvas, and volunteers more effective.

One of my clients is part of a test group that's going to start using it in the new year. When it's up, I'll show it to you!

At 10/10/2009 04:57:00 PM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

Is it from Catalist or NGP or someone else entirely?

At 10/13/2009 08:51:00 PM, Anonymous DJR said...

The Florida Democrats have yet to back up VoteBuilder with accurate updates on VBMs for muni races in St. Pete. I get daily lists from SOE- but Vote Builder is not capturing who is requesting VBM or turning them in. ED is 3 weeks away.

It's pathetic- and we are charged to use this. What's most pathetic is getting people to understand that these lists are the most important thing to get right about the campaign now- not signwaving, not updating the website, and not going to forums. Our phone banks and canvasses are dependent on lists with good hygiene.

I feel like the Dems are missing a huge oppy to use our local campaigns to build lists and that they are clueless.

Thanks for hearing me rant, but wasting time and postage because powers that be don't get it or don't care really bothers me.

At 10/14/2009 08:40:00 AM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

This is probably because the local elections office is not making this information available in a readily uploadable form. I'm having the same trouble on another race and it's not the VAN's fault.

That said, you may just have to go to elections office and pick up a copy of the folks who been sent absentee ballots and who have already returned absentee ballots.

It's a pain, but worth it.


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