Calculating Your Vote Goal - National Democratic Training Committee

Calculating Your Vote Goal

By Kelly Dietrich
75 min

Course Outline

  • 3 Videos
  • 2 Quizzes
  • 3 Activities (2 hours)
What You Need
  • Vote totals for the office you’re running for (3+ elections worth)

What You’ll Learn

  • The mathematical calculations and terminology behind winning elections
    • How to estimate the number of votes needed to win
    • How to estimate the number of base voters that can be counted on to vote for you/the candidate
    • How to estimate the number of voters in a persuasion universe (the people to convince to vote for the campaign)
  • The importance of vote goal in driving a campaign’s decision-making and strategy

Why This is Important

The goal of your entire campaign is to earn the votes needed to win. So calculating the number of votes needed should be one of the very first steps. Everything else in the campaign stems from this one number — the vote goal.

Key Resources

  • Key Field Numbers Workbook
  • Precinct-Level Results Table
  • Sample Field Plan
  • Template Field Plan

Related Trainings

  • VoteBuilder 101 — Introduces the software Democratic campaigns across the country use to develop voter contact plans. Using this software helps organize field efforts to reach vote goals
  • Targeting Voters — Helps identify and reach the voters needed in order to win (best for campaigns that are not using VoteBuilder)
  • Field Tactics — Learn how to implement the best voter outreach practices. Getting people to vote for a campaign is not easy, but by using these strategies your team will be on its way to reaching their vote goal
  • Introduction to Volunteer Recruitment and Management — Learn to recruit, retain, and turn volunteers into volunteer leaders for a successful GOTV operation
  • Running a Persuasion Field Program — Before GOTV comes persuasion. In this course, learn to develop a layered approach to direct voter contact in a persuasion program and build a GOTV universe based on the campaign’s work during the persuasion phase
  • GOTV — The final phase of a campaign: this course walks through the GOTV phase and suggests best practices to mobilize supporters to get out and vote

Kelly Dietrich


As founder and CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC), Kelly Dietrich brings more than 20 years of experience on dozens of Democratic campaigns across the country.

Kelly started NDTC in 2016, where at the time it was a collection of videos covering an array of campaign topics, available to campaigns and their volunteers for free. Five years later, those videos grew into a fully fledged training program with hundreds of courses, videos, and articles about running effective campaigns. Kelly’s expertise in various areas — fundraising, staff training, sci-fi (maybe not as much) — have shaped NDTC into an industry leader in Democratic politics.

Originally from Missouri, Kelly lives in Chicago, IL with his wife, daughter, and dog, Tulip, who is allegedly part cat. Beyond work, Kelly is a diehard Kansas Jayhawk and an avid poker player. Kelly also serves on the board of directors at his local park, Sheil Park. This is where he “plays” basketball, which according to his wife can only be loosely considered a hobby. Even with all these interests, Kelly remains committed to making sure high quality tools and training are available to any Democrat who steps up to run for office, work on a campaign, or make their community better.