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It’s finally happened — you’ve had enough of the status quo and are ready to run for office. After considering all the local offices you're eligible for, you've decided to run for school board.

But now what? You know there is a voter file that the state or county keeps track of, but can you get access to it? What kind of hoops will you have to jump through, and will it be user-friendly?

Lucky for you, we've done all the legwork to gather and clean that voter data so you can focus on running your campaign. Skip the board of elections, simply request the file from NationBuilder, and we'll sync it right into your nation.

Not everyone has the budget to spend hundreds of dollars per month housing a massive voter file in their nation. So, here are three tips for filtering your file down to a more strategically focused, budget-friendly universe of high-value targets.

1. Party Affiliation: 

Political party can be a useful way to target people who are likely to share your values and support your campaign. Depending on the type of election (e.g. if you need to win a party primary to get to the general election), trimming your database on political party can be a good first step to target your database.

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While this may seem like the most effective way to target voters, it will likely only reduce the database by 50% or less. And what do you do with independents?

2. Location:

You could consider using NationBuilder’s turf cutting tools to grab the 5,000 people closest to where you live. Ultimately, people who live in your neighborhood are pretty likely to share similar concerns, and if those concerns are what you are campaigning on, voters' location could be a good way to narrow your file down.

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Also, you are more likely to know your neighbors than people across town so it might be an easier task to cultivate a group of supporters/volunteers/donors from close by. 

3. Voting History:

This is probably the most effective and strategic way to really target voters. The voter file isn’t just a list of personal details, it also contains a record of which elections a voter did or did not participate in. In NationBuilder, these records are searchable, making it easy to search for anyone who voted in 4 out of the 6 previous elections or party primaries.

Screenshot_2017-08-09_17.14.01.png You can customize this to get to whatever database size works for your pricing. More importantly, weeding out folks who rarely vote will leave you with a database of the most civically engaged voters. If you can swing them your way, they are money in the bank. Maybe even literally — as those who vote most frequently are riper targets for fundraising appeals then the disengaged.  

Between party affiliation, location and voting history, you can create a universe of valuable targets to focus your time and efforts on. As a candidate, you have a better universe to work with, and as a customer, you can define a universe that fits your budget.

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