Canvass better to get out the vote and fight voter suppression.
It's hard when there are thousands of people to contact with a few volunteers in a short period of time with very little money. That's where smart, affordable tech makes a huge difference.
- Where are the people you're trying to contact?
- Which areas should your canvassers focus on to contact the most voters?
- How do you minimize the time your canvassers have to spend getting from one house to the next?
- How do you avoid canvassers contacting the same voter twice by mistake?
- How do you canvass with a fluctuating number of volunteers?
- Volunteers with different types of phones (Apple, Samsung, Google)?
- How can volunteers get going and start canvassing quickly?
This blog describes Charlie Kratovil's canvassing campaign for Mayor of New Brunswick, NJ. The canvassing operation to contact 20,000 voters with a handful of volunteers was launched in a few hours at s cost of under $100. The project uses ArcGIS Online, an app from esri which a 50 year old firm with thousands of users along with pro bono help from DemLabs volunteers. Grassroots groups can apply for pro bono assistance in using ArcGIS Online to increase voter participation here.
Better canvassing tech is a game changer
Information is more useful when it is up to date. Available when and where it is needed. From any device. Easy to look up and update. Even better when displayed on a map so you have a visual sense of where likely supporters are clustered and the areas left to be canvassed. Grassroots campaigns are well served by taking a page out of the playbook of corporations that use sophisticated software to improve their efficiency. The same software works just as well to protest democracy.
Grassroots campaigns have to rely on volunteers, many of whom have never canvassed before and may only have a few hours to spare. How can you make it easy of them to get started and assign them addresses to contact? Show the addresses to be canvassed on a map along with the questions to be asked. This lets them get started immediately with minimal need for andy training. Color code addresses to show where they should focus. Houses change color on the map once they have been canvassed. This helps other volunteers in the vicinity skip the houses that have already been canvassed.
Web based canvassing apps like ArcGIS Online let organizers track the progress and information being collected by volunteers. Organizers can also update volunteer instructions and the information to be collected at any time.
Canvassing makes the difference
Charlie Kratovil is running a grassroots campaign for Mayor of New Brunswick where has lived for the last 18 years. He graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in journalism and media studies and is currently the Editor of New Brunswick Today.
Charlie is a community organizer and advocates for progressive policies and community empowerment. In 2018, Charlie was named as a “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Champion For Justice” at the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards for Public Service. The Jefferson Award is considered America’s highest honor for public service and volunteerism.
Charlie is the only independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick and uses ArcGIS Online to power his volunteer driven canvassing campaign.
- GeoCod.io - Online service to geocode addresses
- Melissa Data - Commercial data list broker
- ArcGIS Online - Widely used mapping software solution
- Canvass better: Plan your routes with smart apps like FedEx does
- Assign canvassers to areas where they have more in common with residents with geotargeting
- How to Canvass in Areas without Cell Service: The Field Maps App
- Geotarget areas with more likely voters using cluster analysis to canvass smarter – not harder
- Fight voter suppression: Canvass smarter to register more voters and increase turnout.
TakeAway: Leave no voter behind. Canvass smarter with better tech to level the playing field.
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