Use the best tool(s) available.
It's no different in campaigns. Enrich the Voter File with other data sources for better results. Smarter targeting and canvassing. Better results in fund raising and finding unregistered voters.
Over 15,000 data variables are available (some of it for free) including demographics, lifestyle and purchasing behavior. Savvy marketers, government agencies and non-profits all use geo-data and geographical information systems (GIS) already. But for some reason it isn't widely used by progressive campaigns and advocacy groups? Many groups are even unaware of this valuable resource that can be used with or without a voter file.
- We applied an 'age' layer to the city to see where residents of different ages were clustered. This was independent of the voter file and included all SF residents - both registered and unregistered voters.
- Zooming into the map showed the areas with high densities of young people. This information was then overlaid with the Voter File records to identify specific areas with young people but few registered voters.
- These results were used to create target list of addresses (with another app) for volunteers to canvas and encourage students to register to vote.
Here are more details on how the project was implemented:
Twenty of the 15,000 variables to choose from:
Age by: sex, race
Households by: poverty status and income
Education by: high school diploma, Bachelors
Households by race
Race by: diversity index, hispanic, minority
Place of birth
Marital Status by: married, divorced, never married
Households by: total, family size, age, family type,
Households by rent, mortgage status
Population by: total, rural, urban, density, sex, families, relationship
Health insurance coverage
Jobs by: employed civilians, unemployment rate
Language spoken at home
Poverty by: race, education, labor force
Transportation to work by: sex, carpool, walk, bicycle, alone
Spending on food, apparel, education and transportation
Crime Indices – total, assault, larceny, vehicle theft
Veteran and military service
Housing by: total, vacant, owner occupied
Business by: total employees and sales
The apps and geodata we used in this project are from esri, a global leader in geographic information systems (GIS) and geo-database solutions. esri is based in California and has over five thousand employees with billions in annual revenue.
Use all the tools in the tool box for better results in targeting, registering new voters, canvassing and getting-out-the-vote (GOTV). Learn more on applying GIS to support democracy here.
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