Get out the vote with geotargeted reminders

8 mins read

Get out the vote with geotargeted reminders

Get out the vote with geotargeted reminders to your best supporters

Every vote matters – especially in a tight race. How does a grassroots campaign make sure its most likely supporters get out to vote? Geotargeted reminders.

We haven’t got the money, so we’ve got to think – Ernest Rutherford

And so it is with underdog campaigns with limited funds. How do you remind your best supporters to vote in a short period of time with limited funds? This blog explains how Sherman Hardy uses geotargeted reminders in his campaign to become Prince George’s County Executive. He’s a community activist and veteran of the US Air Force running on social-economic, safety and food justice issues so his campaign has a special focus on:

  • Geography: people living in specific zip codes and his county
    Age: people between the ages of 18 and 44
    Phone: people for whom phone records are available
    Veterans: people who have served in the armed forces like he did
    Demographics: other characteristics like age, gender and income

In this project he used a commercial data broker for a list of the people to remind and not the voter file.

Geotarget to get out the vote

Get out the vote with smarter geotargeting


Geotargeting uses data to run a smarter campaign. It lets you focus your resources on your most likely voters. Sherman first chose the areas where most of his supporters lived – by both zip code and within Prince George’s County, Maryland. He then filtered this list of names by age (18-44) and veterans. He then filtered this further to only people for which phone details were available. It took ten minutes to get this list for a cost of $50.

In addition to Sherman’s basic selections, commercial list brokers provide a wide range of other criteria to choose from. This lets you precisely refine your outreach. Commercial list brokers sell data to businesses and campaigns so they have to keep their lists constantly updated. Learn more about list brokers here.

In addition to Sherman's basic selections, commercial list brokers provide a wide range of other criteria to choose from. This lets you precisely refine your outreach. Commercial list brokers sell data to businesses and campaigns so they have to keep their lists constantly updated.

Do Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaigns work?

Get Out the Vote (GOTV) or Voter turnout, describes a campaign strategy for candidates or organizations to get eligible voters to head to the polls or return their ballots by Election Day,  GOTV is an essential part of any campaign strategy and can make the difference between winning and losing an election. – Campaign Workshop

“GOTV is often most effective when potential voters are told to do so “because others will ask.” Voters will then go to the polls as a means of fulfilling perceived societal expectations. Which get out the vote tactics are effective, when, and on which types of voters? This research has revolutionized how campaigns conceive of their get out the vote efforts. A well-organized effort can gain a candidate as much as nine percentage points in campaigns. Studies have found that door-to-door canvassing increases turnout among the contacted households with approximately 4.3%. Many that targeted low propensity voters found turnout increased by 2–3%. Personal canvassing produced far higher voter turnout rates, such as 9.8–12.8%.” – Wikipedia

How is this data collected? Who are data brokers?

“A data broker is a company that gathers information about people from different parts of the country by themselves or with the help of others. To get it themselves, they often crawl through different parts of the internet, legally (or along the borders of the law), and pick up bits and pieces of information. To get it from other people, the common practice is to buy it from people who have access to the data that they need. More often than not, they get data from public social media profiles and credit card companies, among others. Other sources include your web, purchase history and government records.

Data brokers combine these sources into rich profiles of consumers, bundle those into segments and then sell those to other companies commercially. Data brokers taking data from the left side and turning it into segments on the right side — and then selling those segments to anyone that wants to buy them.” – Privacy Bee

How much do they know about you?

Data brokers and the business of selling information on people is an unfortunate part of life. Business uses it regularly to sell their products and services. The same tools can also be used for political and advocacy campaigns.

Data brokers collect and sell information about you. This data can also be used in political campaigns

Sherman Hardy

Sherman’s running to reimagine Prince George’s to become the first Smart County; so that it works for everyone. We all deserve safe & healthy communities with affordable housing, robust entertainment through smart development and a superb education system. His platform is based on:

  • Fully elect a school board that selects their leadership
  • Employ enhanced focused deterrence policing and strengthening violent crime laws
  • End the usage of pretextual traffic stops
  • Reduce property tax to align with  regional neighbors 
  • Promote funding for affordable housing and pathway to ending homelessness
  • Investigate County’s poor air, soil, and water supplies and call for means to remediate
  • Increase the county’s number of unionized project labor agreements 
  • Encourage targeted hiring of people living within the county boundaries

Donate to Sherman Hardy

More resources on geotargeting

TakeAway: Remind your best supporters to vote with geotargeted reminders.


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Reposted from Democracy Labs with permission.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

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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