Getting Started with VoteBuilder
October 1, 2018
Need access to voter data for your campaign or local party? VoteBuilder can help.
We’ve all heard about the data revolution of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. But, do you know how all those folks canvassing and phone banking figured out which voters to contact?
VoteBuilder is a powerful tool for targeting voters and helping you contact them. VoteBuilder, also known as VAN, supports the work of Democratic campaigns and state and local Democratic Parties of all sizes across the country.
However, there are several options out there to get you the data you need to figure out which voters to talk to. If you talk to elected officials, other candidates, and Democratic party leaders in your area, evaluate your options, and then decide that VoteBuilder is the right software to facilitate your campaign’s voter contact efforts, your first step will be setting up an account. To make that setup and then login process as easy as possible, we’ve compiled step-by-step instructions.
If you want to learn more about how to use VoteBuilder, take NDTC’s FREE VoteBuilder Course! Use the video below to preview course contents and see what the training has to offer.
Getting Access to VoteBuilder
If you want to set up your organization (or “committee” in VoteBuilder speak) with VoteBuilder for the first time, your State Democratic Party’s Voter File Manager is usually the best one to contact. They can give you a price quote, share a user agreement for your signature, and will tell you the other information they need to get your committee started.
To save you some time, we’ve compiled the best contact info for each state HERE.
Creating a Personal Account within a Committee
If you’re working with an organization that already has a VoteBuilder account, you need a personal account within that committee (as VoteBuilder calls it). So, contact your committee’s VoteBuilder administrator to request an account. Since people often wear many hats, the person who can authorize new accounts varies on every campaign and within every local party. This might be the data manager, the field director, the campaign manager, or even the candidate.
In some cases, this person will be able to create your account for you. In others, they will have to ask your state’s Voter File Manager to do so.
However, before you make this request (or create an account for someone requesting one), consider whether you really need one. Remember, not every volunteer needs VoteBuilder access. In fact, most do not! People can canvass with MiniVAN and make calls in a virtual phone bank without VoteBuilder accounts. The folks on your team who do need VoteBuilder access are those who are:
- Creating your targeting strategy around which voters your campaign will reach out to;
- Managing or parsing out your data for any vendors or setting things up for voter contact;
- Splitting up (or cutting) the turf that each volunteer group will canvass;
- Preparing the printed packets for canvassing or phone banking;
- Managing any canvasses using MiniVAN or virtual phone banks that you’re hosting; and/or
- Entering your data after those voter contact efforts.
If You Already Have a VoteBuilder Account…
And you haven’t set it up yet, the process is 4 steps. Note that an email address is required to create a VoteBuilder account.
- Open the Email.
You should have received an invitation email. Open this and follow the prompts right away. The link in the email expires 48 hours after it’s sent to you.
Tip: If you should have received this email but don’t see it, check your Promotions tab (if you use Gmail) and your Spam folder.
- Create an Action ID.
Your ActionID allows you to log in to VoteBuilder for any campaign or committee you have access to with the same information, rather than creating separate usernames and passwords for each one. Remember – your Action ID is yours for life, so we recommend using a personal email address when you create it.
Tip: You may want to write down your ActionID email address and a hint that would help you (and only you) remember your password.
- Set Up Two-Factor Authentication.
You may be prompted — or even required — to set up two-factor authentication along with your Action ID. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security. It requires a second piece of information during the login process that only you should have access to. Typically, you will set this up to text your cell phone a code when you try to log in from a new device or once it’s been 30 days since the last time you entered an authentication code. You would then have to enter that code on a screen like the one shown here.
Note: For most people, this requires you to have access to a cell phone at the time you’re trying to log in and be able to receive text messages to it.
Tip: After setting up two-factor authentication, you should be prompted to “View Backup Codes”. Download and save, or print, these backup codes. If you change phone numbers or lose access to the device they’re sent to, the ones in this file will allow you to regain VoteBuilder access.
- You’re ready to log in!
Move onto the next section to log into VoteBuilder for the first time!
Tip: Bookmark or write down the URL you will use to log in: votebuilder.com
How Do You Log In to VoteBuilder?
You’re not alone in needing some help. In order to protect our data and ensure voters’ privacy is respected, VoteBuilder takes security very seriously. So there are a few steps to log in, and they’re not all typical for other websites.
- Go to Votebuilder.com.
- Select Log in with Action ID.
- Enter Your Action ID. Enter the email address and password you used when you set up your Action ID. Select Log In.
- Request and Enter Your Two-Factor Authentication Code (if requested on screen).
If you are logging into your account from a new device or browser or if it’s been 30 days since you were prompted for your authentication code, you will request and then be texted a code to your phone. Then, you will enter that code on the screen and select “Verify.”
- Enter Your PIN. Finally, for security purposes, the first time you log in, you may need to create a PIN that you will use every time you log into VoteBuilder. Once prompted, type the letters that correspond with the numbers on the screen. If you wanted to create the PIN 1234 (do not use 1234 — it is very easy to guess), you would type ZVSE in the PIN box. If your account already has a PIN associated with it, once prompted, enter the 4-letter sequence that corresponds to your numerical PIN.
Tip: Remember the NUMBERS you use, not the letters. The letters are going to change every time you log in.
To learn more about how to use VoteBuilder, take NDTC’s FREE course on VoteBuilder.
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