Wired.com reported that the Democrats are using voter information files and a mobile canvassing application from a company called NGP VAN that is helping them more effectively target voters and get them to the polls for the 2018 midterm elections. In fact, rather than carrying huge paper files as they work their way through precincts, the volunteer canvassers are using the NGP VAN mobile canvassing app, called MiniVAN that tells the canvassers what doors to knock on and saves the responses from the voters contacted.
The use of the NGP VAN mobile canvassing app is documenting the fact that canvassers are likely reaching out to many more voters for this midterm election than they have in past election cycles. This is surprising because midterm elections usually get quite a bit less interest from volunteers and voters. NGP VAN’s mobile app has been in use since the 2012 election cycle and was used by about half of the canvassing volunteers. This year, the canvassing app has 60 percent use by volunteers. Log-in data is showing that use of the app is far exceeding any use in the past, even during the 2016 presidential election cycle.
According to Forbes.com, NGP VAN is also used to help volunteers work from home to call potential voters and get out the vote. For example, volunteers can utilize software provided by the company to call targeted voters across the nation from the Democratic party database that they maintain.
It is clear that the implications of this technology are very powerful and levels the playing field for grassroots campaigns. In fact, according to Wired.com, it is becoming more commonplace that the candidate with the largest campaign fund does not necessarily win the election. Such voter database and software services can help volunteers talk to voters and change the rhetoric away from the political ads. Also, such services can help volunteers text reminders on election day about the voter’s polling place and hours and send messages on social media that resonate with specific groups of voters as well as voters in certain regions of the country. Used in the hands of enlightened politicians, such technology can also allow for more democratic input of citizenry in the political process.