DNC Announces New Voter File Model Increasing Texting Efficiency And Outreach

Today the Democratic National Committee released a new voter file model that increases the efficiency of texting outreach to voters on their cell phones — a critical component of Democrats’ organizing programs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new model predicts the quality of cell phones for text outreach, including the likelihood that a phone number will be a working number, that the number is assigned to the person organizers are expecting to contact, and that the person will respond positively to the text. It builds on the national cell phone purchase the DNC announced in January, which integrated millions of high-quality cell phone numbers into the voter file, with more added every month.

“In light of the ongoing pandemic, Democrats must adapt our tactics for how to engage voters across the nation,” said Nellwyn Thomas, DNC Chief Technology Officer. “This new model, building off of our previous technology efforts, increases the effectiveness of voter outreach by text message, and that increases our chances of winning. As we approach the election, it is more important than ever to make sure that Democrats use the best data and infrastructure to win races from the White House to state legislative seats to school boards.”

Over the past several months, Democrats’ organizing teams have texted millions of voters in battleground states like Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Maine with a particular emphasis on encouraging voting by mail.

This innovative data science model will be accessible to Democratic organizations and campaigns including Biden For President, state parties, and sister committees like the DCCC & DLCC, ensuring that as campaigns ramp up their voter outreach for voter registration, fundraising, and GOTV efforts, they are using data that could make it as many as four times more likely to result in a successful contact.

Additional information about the DNC’s technology efforts to prepare for the 2020 general election:

  • The DNC maintains a national voter file which includes data about every registered voter in America. This file is integrated with key datasets, like voter history, demographic information, and modeled scores to help optimize outreach.  The DNC is constantly updating and enhancing the voter file, and it is the central dataset used by all Democratic campaigns and committees. This all helps campaigns at every level reach the right voters they need to with the right message at the right time and the right place.

  • This new release follows other innovative releases from the DNC Tech team including: The National Record Linkage algorithm that de-duplicates millions of voter records and improves the efficiency of the voter file, Blueprint – a foundational set of datasets that make Democratic data easier to use, and the Voter Registration and Purge Tracker which helps voter protection teams monitor for voter purges and take action to re-register voters.

  • After 2016, the DNC overhauled its data infrastructure operating system to create a new, state-of-the-art, cloud-based data warehouse. This makes it easy and efficient for campaigns to access and utilize the voter file.

  • The DNC Tech team has tripled in size and brought top talent with technology experience in both the private sector and campaigns. Nellwyn Thomas, CTO, worked at the Clinton campaign and Facebook, and Bob Lord, Chief Security Officer, is a veteran of Twitter and Yahoo.