Triage voters for better results

3 mins read
Photo by Online Marketing on Unsplash.

Doctors triage patients. They divide pateints into those who don’t need treatment, those beyond hope and those they should focus on.

Campaigns should triage voters and focus limited resources on persuadable voters.

Geri Ventura, an organizer with several local Indivisible groups and Josephine County Democrats uses this approach to encourage Non-Affiliated Voters (NAV) to register their party affiliation in order to vote in the primaries. She used free software to create a canvassing app and a video to encourage voters to register their party preference.


Non-Affiliated Voters (NAV) are a key group. They may want to vote in the primaries but cannot without registering their party preference. Voters are directed to the Oregon Secretary of State website. Geri believes that persuading NAV voters to register their party preference is the first step in engaging them to vote.

Josephine County in Oregon has a closed primary where only registered voters of a political party can vote for candidates of that party. Twelve states have closed or semi-closed primaries including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, District of Columbia, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

Canvassing app creation

Geri first filtered the voter file to identify Non-Affiliated Voters (NAV). She desigend a mobile app with help from DemLabs using Glide, a free app. Canvassers use the app to contact voters and record their comments which are automatically saved in a Google Sheet.

Filtered voter file to identify Non-Affiliated Voters (NAV)
Mobile Canavassing desgined with the free GLIDE app

Creating an outreach video

Geri wanted to reach as many Non-Affiliated Voters as possible, but had no budget. She created a 35 sec video with a little guiance from DemLabs using the free Lumen5 app. Her video encourages NAV voters to record their party affiliation and was shared on Facebook and Twitter.


Triage voters to focus on those who can be persuaded. Use free apps like Glide and Lumen5 to organize canvassing efforts and reach and persuade more voters.

Co-Founder, DemLabs

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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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