DemLabs blog

Find and remind people who have just moved to register to vote.

Americans move regularly. Use tech innovation to find and remind those who've moved, to re-register to vote.

"Around one-in-five U.S. adults say they either changed their residence due to the pandemic or know someone who did." (Pew Research Center)

Many people forget to update their voter registration after they have moved, only to learn that they are ineligible to vote when they show up to the polls. Voting rights advocates help people to register to vote, but locating people who have moved is a challenge. They should use business services that report who has moved, and apps that make it easy to plan the best walking routes for volunteers to contact people who have just moved.

This blog explains step-by-step how we found people who had moved to Coconino county, Arizona in the last 60 days (April-May 2021) and create walking routes for volunteers to visit those people. This project took an hour to complete and cost 25 cents per address of a recent mover. The route planning software costs nonprofits $150/year. (Details of the addresses have been intentionally obfuscated in this blog for privacy).

Resources to find & remind voters

There is a huge industry helping people move, and helping them find services once they have moved. Businesses target people who have recently moved to find new customers. This includes cleaning services, restaurants, furniture stores, handymen, childcare services, dentists, doctors, gardeners. Voting rights groups can benefit from the same affordable services. This blog explains three commercial data services LeadsPlease, CoreLogic and ListSource.

FedEx and UPS deliver millions of packages daily. They use sophisticated software to plan delivery routes to deliver packages efficiently in the least time, for the least fuel and labor. Progressive groups should use similar business software to plan walking routes for their volunteers to contact people who have recently moved. Route planning apps like ArcGIS Online are proven, affordable ($150/year for non-profits) and can develop walking routes from any address list and not just the voter file.

Find and remind people who have recently moved to register to vote.

Finding people who've recently moved

Community organizers and voting rights advocates can also avail of these list broker services like LeadsPlease, CoreLogic and ListSource. The price per contact from LeadsPlease ranges from 10 - 25 cents/address based on the number of addresses ordered.

A New Mover Mailing List is a marketing list of people who have recently moved home including their name and their physical mailing address. The database is updated daily as new moves occur and addresses verified every 30 days with USPS approved address verification software. Lists of contacts can be filtered by location and how recently they have moved.

Use business services like LeadsPlease to find families who just moved to help them register to vote

Planning walk routes

Corporate America invests billions every year to improve their productivity. Progressives should adopt the best available technology, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel?

Innovative. Business software is continuously updated, regardless of the election cycle.
Tested. These applications are proven and used by thousands of customers.
Affordable. Many apps have free(mium) versions that has enough features for grassroots groups.
Durable. Apps provided by large software vendors that will outlast most political tech startups.
Broad support. There are many consultants available to support these apps given the large customer base.

We used ArcGIS Online from esri, a 50 year old, multi-billion dollar software firm for this project. The addresses for people who had recently moved into Coconino County, obtained from LeadsPlease were first mapped. We then used the PLAN ROUTES feature in ArcGIS Online to generate walking routes for canvassers. This prototype has only one canvasser, but the app easily handles multiple canvassers as well.

The walking routes generated can be downloaded to canvassers' phones so they can record the results of their meetings with Survey123 which is a part of ArcGIS Online. Canvassers can also use Survey123 in areas without cellular coverage. Their reports are saved on their phones or tablets and automatically uploaded when they have WiFi access. Canvassers can also chose to fill out their survey forms on paper, and submit a photo of their completed form through Survey123.

Use ArcGIS Online which costs $150/year for nonprofits to create better route plans and walking routes for canvassers.

How to plan canvassing routes to help people who recently moved to register to vote

Political tech innovation

Should progressives spend resources in re-creating solutions that have already been developed in the business sector and often available for free? How effectively is the donation you're making being used? A good analogy is the miles-per-gallon (MPG)? In deciding to buy a car, people consider which car will get them further on a gallon of gas. Consider what does it cost to find and help someone to register to vote? Can innovation help? Should you invest in developing new software, or use existing business apps?

"R&D can be exceedingly costly, time-consuming, and frustrating. When it is oriented to the creation of pure newness, it can involve an enormous commitment of manpower and money—with no assurance of reasonable pay-out. But when a company’s R & D effort is oriented largely toward trying to adapt to its industry or to its organization things that have already been done elsewhere, the character and costs of the commitment are quite different indeed. In the specific case of R & D oriented toward trying to develop for a company that which has already been done by an innovator, the situation is particularly special. There is usually a great premium on speed." - Theodore Levitt in Harvard Business Review

Democracy Labs

DemLabs mission is to apply tech and storytelling innovations to progressive causes and campaigns. We recommend existing business solutions and data providers with a strong preference for those that are either free or very affordable. We freely share how a problem can be solved and where to obtain the solution, with over 400 case studies on our website. DemLabs has no financial incentive in these apps which lets us recommend the best possible solution.

Republicans with their wealthy corporate donors, have a huge financial advantage over Democrats, especially over small grassroots groups with little money. Innovative technology can help progressives level the playing field. Help spread the word about free, DemLabs-tested solutions. Let us know if you are struggling with a problem where tech innovation might be able to help here. Let us know if you have specialized skills to volunteer here.

TakeAway: "When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!" - Yogi Berra.

Paraphrased. "When You Come to an Affordable Campaign Innovation, Use It!"


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DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.