Grassroots innovation finds unregistered voters

7 mins read

Grassroots innovation finds unregistered voters

Grassroots groups have to think different to unregistered voters because they don't have much time, money or staff.

Arkansas was the worst state for voter registration and election participation in 2020″Get Loud Arkansas innovates to change that.

Get Loud Arkansas (GLA) uses data analysis and volunteer canvassers to find and engage unregistered voters in Arkansas. Their approach cuts costs and time needed by using existing business apps. This blog explains how GLA identified 102,000 potentially unregistered voters within a day at a cost of less than a cent each.

  1. Process to find unregistered voters
  2. How to create a map of the areas to canvass
  3. Preparing canvassing script
  4. Training canvassers
  5. Managing a broad volunteer driven canvassing campaign

Finding unregistered voters

Get Loud Arkansas (GLA) uses this formula to find unregistered voters. Start with the list of houses in an area (A) and subtract the known voters list (B) for that area which leaves you with a list (C) of all the houses without a registered voter. GLA bought a list of addresses in Arkansas from Melissa Data, a data broker for under $900.

The file of addresses (A) and existing voters (B) were compared with the Voter Locator program to produce a list (C) of 102,000 addresses which did not have a registered voter living at that address.

How to find unregistered voters by subtracting known voters from a list of the addresses in an area.

Mapping likely unregistered voters to canvass

The list of addresses to be canvassed was mapped with ArcGIS Online. Each house is shown as a dot with details on the person that the canvasser should contact there. The dot color changes when it has been canvassed, so other canvassers don’t contact it again by accident. Get Loud Arkansas canvassing managers monitor the progress of canvassing as more of the dots change from orange to black. Information from the canvassing system can be exported from ArcGIS to be used in other applications. For instance, voting guides could be sent out using a list management application with information collected by canvassers.

The canvassing app is shared as a link with volunteers who can use it immediately without having to install any software.

Grassroots groups use frugal innovation thinking to find unregistered voters
Map the addresses to be canvassed. Make it easier for volunteers to canvass.

Grassroots innovation is fast and frugal

Grassroots groups don’t have much money, time or staff which demands that they think differently and innovate. The Get Loud Arkansas project to find unregistered voters for instance, was completed in three days and cost less than $1,000 to find over 100,000 likely unregistered voters. What makes for frugal innovation?

  • Reuse rather than re-invent. This project used readily available software and data rather than try to develop new solutions. The Get Loud Arkansas system uses ArcGIS Online from esri which has thousands of users and costs about $30/month for nonprofits.
  • Practical. GLA uses volunteers many of whom have never canvassed before so their system includes the canvassing script and training resources such as a free teleprompter for them to practice canvassing.
  • Responsive. The system lets the canvassing script be changed quickly in response to local events.
  • Scale to include more volunteers. The system allows volunteers to share the canvassing solution with their friends so more people can help in the task of finding unregistered voters.
  • Fast. Results are collected and displayed immediately which avoids duplication of effort and lets organizers assign canvassers to areas where they are most needed.
  • Data driven. The information collected by canvassers is saved and can be exported to be used by other applications to help get potential voters the information they need.
We haven't got the money so we have to think
We haven’t got the money so we have to think – Ernest Rutherford

Get Loud Arkansas

Get Loud Arkansas is a nonprofit that works to register new voter, engage low propensity voters to use the power of their vote to sharp the future of Arkansas.

“Our systems have been corrupted by big money donors and powerful special interest groups. And even worse, our voices are now being silenced by a coordinated effort to restrict our access to voting. Every eligible Arkansan has the right to cast a ballot and to make their voice heard. Your voice matters. Your vote matters. If it didn’t, they wouldn’t work so hard to take it away. By guaranteeing everyone has the tools and resources to cast their ballot on election day, we can combat efforts to silence our voice. It’s time to get loud and do the work for a better Arkansas.” – Get Loud Arkansas

Support GET LOUD ARKANSAS

TakeAway: Think different to find unregistered voters. There’s no time, or money to waste.

Deepak
DemLabs

DISCLAIMER: ALTHOUGH THE DATA FOUND IN THIS BLOG AND INFOGRAPHIC HAS BEEN PRODUCED AND PROCESSED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED CAN BE MADE REGARDING THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, LEGALITY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY SUCH INFORMATION. THIS DISCLAIMER APPLIES TO ANY USES OF THE INFORMATION WHETHER ISOLATED OR AGGREGATE USES THEREOF.

Acknowledgement: Apple’s ‘Think Different’ ad campaign. “Think Different” was an advertising slogan for Apple Inc. created by advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day in 1997. 
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Reposted from Democracy Labs with permission.


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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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