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

  • How to project the number of votes you need to win
  • How to estimate the number of base voters whose votes you can count on
  • How to estimate the number of voters in your persuasion universe (the people you will try to convince to vote for you)

Why This is Important

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

Key Resources

  • Key Field Numbers Workbook — A step-by-step guide to calculating your vote goal
  • Precinct-Level Results Table — A worksheet to help you organize the data from past elections
  • Sample Field Plan

Related Trainings

  • VoteBuilder 101 — Introduces you to the software that Democratic campaigns across the country use to develop their voter contact plan. Using this software will help you organize your field efforts and reach your vote goal
  • Targeting Voters — Helps you identify and reach the voters that you’ll need to gain support from in order to win (best for campaigns that are not using VoteBuilder)
  • Field Tactics — You’ll learn how to implement the best voter outreach practices. Getting people to vote for you is not easy, but by using our strategies your team will be well on its way to reaching your vote goal

Kelly Dietrich


Kelly is the Founder and CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee.

He has worked on dozens of campaigns at every level across the country. Kelly's specialty is in new campaign creation, candidate and staff training, and fundraising.

In addition to working for 18+ years in Democratic politics, he teaches a class on political campaigns at DePaul University in Chicago, where he lives with his family and dog, a large hungry blue Weimaraner named Jack Bauer. Kelly started his career in 1998 with Rep. Dennis Moore in KS-03. He's an avid basketball and poker player, though never at the same time. His wife would point out that at no time in this biography was he described as "good" at either hobby. That was a conscious decision.