Most campaigns don’t have the time, money, or staff to talk to every single eligible voter. This quick overview of how to effectively target your voters will get you started with the pivotal information you need to help determine which voters your campaign should communicate with.

Which voters should you target?

To begin targeting your voters, you want to focus on your persuasion universe, or infrequent base voters. These are voters who only show up for occasional elections, and have a history of voting for democrats on the ticket, but may also be swing voters.

How do you find voters?

You have a couple of options when it comes to finding your voters:

  • Voting history – based on whether and when they have previously voted
  • Demographically – based on key profile characteristics, such as age or race
  • Geographically – based on where they live (even when you use other types of targeting, you will likely also use geographic targeting for prioritization).

How do you collect target voter data?

In order to plan your field program and reach your persuasion universe, you’ll need data: who they are, where they live, their phone numbers, their party affiliation, and how often they vote.

When it comes to obtaining voter data, you have two main options: gain access to a voter file through a database like VoteBuilder, or obtain raw voter records from the election official. A database like VoteBuilder will offer you more comprehensive information, but the cost for this resource varies from state to state. If a database is not possible for your campaign, we recommend utilizing the U.S. Vote Foundation, which links to every state and county election official’s website.

Ready for more?

If this blog didn’t feel like enough information — good! There’s a lot of information that goes into targeting voters. Our Targeting Voters course provides specifics on obtaining voter data, how to figure out geographic hotspots for potential voters, and even learn about tailoring your campaign to voters through microtargeting.

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