30 April, 2021

Find unregistered voters with precision mapping

icon turnout,voter registration,voter suppression
Find unregistered voters with precision mapping

Fight voter suppression by leaving no eligible voter behind with easy-to-use precision mapping apps.

Find areas likely to have unregistered voters with the same precision mapping that business use to find customers. Narrow your search to areas where residents have characteristics you specify like income, education, race and ethnicity as well as the voter turnout % for the area. Use data services to obtain the addresses of residents in the selected area for canvassing and mailers. Precision mapping can help cut the cost and effort involved in finding unregistered voters.

This blog describes how the Voter PAC is applying precision mapping to register voters in California. The area includes CA-21 (David Valadao-R), CA-22 (Devin Nunes-R) and CA-23 (Kevin McCarthy-R).

Voter registration matters. David G. Valadao (R) defeated incumbent TJ Cox (D) in the general election for California's 21st Congressional District on November 3, 2020. The race was one of 56 U.S. House rematches from 2018. Valadao represented the district from 2013 to 2019. Cox defeated him in 2018 50.4% to 49.6%. The 2017 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was D+5, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district's results were 5 percentage points more Democratic than the national average. - Ballotpedia

Precision mapping process

Find areas with a high likelihood of having unregistered voters.
Voter PAC uses Community Analyst mapping software and help from DemLabs to find potentially unregistered voters in California's central valley.

Community Analyst

VoterPAC aims to register, rally, and empower the rising American Electorate – people of color and younger voters – in California’s Central Valley prior to the 2022 mid-term elections.. They wanted to focus their limited resources on areas which:
- Have a large minority population
- Low income
- Low voter turnout in recent elections

VoterPAC and DemLabs used Community Analyst for this project. It is a cloud based app with both mapping functionality and demographic targeting data. Community Analyst lets Voter PAC plan activities at the bloc, district, county, state or national level. An annual non-profit license for ArcGIS Online and Community Analyst starts around $150 making it affordable for even small groups. Contact Emily Swenson for details on esri's non-profit programs. ( A special thanks for Julia Bayer and John Wertman at esri for their technical guidance).

This pilot project searches for areas likely to have unregistered voter around Bakersfield using selected criteria. This includes filters for racial composition, income and recent voter turnout. The app has sliders to adjust the thresholds for the search. Lowering the voter turnout % for instance zeroes in on those blocs with the lowest voter turnout. Similarly, raising the minority population % shows the areas with more minorities.

Multiple search criteria can be applied simultaneously. In this example we zeroed in on those blocs with a high minority population AND low income AND a low voter turnout. This represents good areas for Voter PAC to focus its voter registration efforts.

This map can be overlaid with details on existing voters in the area obtained from the voter file. This step helps avoid contacting people who are already registered to vote. Learn more about how existing voters are overlaid on a map here.

Community Analyst allows for searches by several demographic criteria

Finding addresses in selected areas

Community Analyst is used to locate areas with the highest probability of finding unregistered voters. The addresses of residents (for about $0.15 - 0.30/address) are then obtained from data sources so that they can be canvassed or sent letters. Get the addresses for an area you select from a data service like CoreLogic.

Find addresses of potentially unregistered voters in selected areas with data services.


The California Central Valley lags far behind in voter registration and participation. Across California, voter registration averages almost 90% of eligible voters. In the Central Valley, the average is much less (70 – 80%). Kings, Tulare, and Kern counties are home to about 1.5 million people – represented by three Republican Congressmen (Reps. Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, and David Valadao), Republicans outnumber Democrats by only a few thousand voters. 

In the 2020 election, CA-21 voter turnout was a record at 170,000 voters. That’s the good news. The bad news is this was still the smallest turnout in California, where participation averaged 300,000 – 400,000 voters per congressional district. Here alone, there are tens of thousands of voters to be contacted, listened to, and motivated to vote. In the 2018 and 2020 elections, the Democratic candidate in CA-22 lost to the Republican incumbent (Devin Nunes) by approximately 25,000 votes. This is close to the margin of Republican versus Democrat voter registration in the district.

Voter PAC aims to register voters to fight voter suppression bills

TakeAway: Fight voter suppression. Use Community Analyst precision mapping to find unregistered voters.


Image credit: Bofu Shaw on Unsplash

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