Technology has been creeping into the strategy employed by politicos to get elected since the 2008 Barack Obama campaign demonstrated how data analytics can be used to mobilize voters. Although technology in elections has been used for many years, the Obama campaign proved that voter data analytics mobilizes voters towards a candidate. The data modeling used by Obama and the Democrats in 2012 is credited with giving the Democrats the House back, before losing it again. The Democratic Party has been using a technology platform for voter engagement and analytics since NGP Software and Voter Activation Network merged in 2010.
The Democratic Party NGPvan platform is a holistic technology platform that leverages individual Democratic Party political candidates to keep the voter database updated each election cycle. Overtime, the NGPvan platform has grown stronger in voter engagement as the voter database was fed additional data points by each election. Today’s NGPvan platform allows political candidates to target their messaging to specific voters by selecting them via criteria of their likelihood to vote for the candidate.
The breach of 198 million voters earlier this year demonstrates the extent to which the GOP has also undertaken technology to heart. Although voter data is public information, the GOP data breach needled down data points to individual voters across the country that allowed GOP candidates to derive specific and detailed information about the target voter. Beyond the voter elections details, the GOP breach showed the GOP voters’ connected social media accounts and other sources of data for each voter, creating a profile for the voter that showed the issues that they cared the most about and their likely vote on Election Day.
This election cycle’s marquee election is the Congressional District 16 seat. Dori Fenenbock, Veronica Escobar, Norma Chavez, John Carrillo, Jerome Tighlman and Enrique Garcia (in ballot order) are running for the seat vacated by Beto O’Rourke. The top three candidates are generally accepted as Fenenbock, Escobar and Chavez with a runoff likely. The county judge’s race should be considered another marquee race, but the three candidates are lackluster, at best.
Of the top three 16th District contenders, Dori Fenenbock is using NGPvan as her voter database technology platform. Veronica Escobar is using Blue State Digital connected to ActBlue for fundraising and is likely using a NGPvan dataset as a backend source to drive her campaign. Norma Chavez announced her candidacy late and therefore it is difficult to see what, if any, technology platform she will leverage for her campaign. Early indications is that Chavez will target likely voters through targeted mailings and door-to-door voter canvassing.
The campaigns are gearing up to begin massive voter engagement campaigns early next week. It is difficult to tie technology directly to the success of the candidate, as many factors play a part on the election outcome. However, as the campaigns intensify their voter outreach, it will be interesting to note if it is technology driven, or if El Paso politicos will continue to rely on analog voter outreach for their candidacy.