Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Voter Access Network on the iPhone

VAN (Voter Access Network) was the center piece of my life for many months. Anyone who has worked in the Field Office for a democratic political campaign has probably used it. It is a powerful tool that enables very detailed and large scale outreach of various types along with very granular targeting. However, many of the processes around the VAN in a Field campaign create extra work. Creating lists, printing them, using those paper lists for voter contact, doing the data entry, and then properly disposing of the lists is one of the most time consuming aspect of Field effort. If this digital solution to that process existed then it might have been able to save me 2-3 hours each day (that is a lot when you are only getting 3-5 hours of sleep per day). It would probably have saved my volunteer team about 10-15 total hours each day as well.

Obama taught an army of followers how to talk to their neighbors, how to tell their stories, and how to take control of the election process. We were able to do this through sheer numbers and brute force, but as tools like this one make it easier to conduct meaningful outreach that is well tracked and targetted I hope we will see even more political engagement at the neighborhood level. I am sure there is a learning curve, but I am hopeful.

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