Extension of CiviCRM for Voter Canvassing

2009-12-28 11:14
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As an extension to our implementation of CiviCRM to support my work as a state representative, we have created a voter canvassing module. It has been tested under Drupal 6.14 and Civicrm 3.01 and summarily retested under Drupal 6.15 and CiviCRM 3.03.

It is available for download at a page on my website that includes installation instructions. Please feel free to contact me at willbrownsberger at gmail.com if you would like access to my testbed to check out the application.

This is a new package, but I am personally using it in my 2010 reelection campaign. It has already been carefully tested and will be carefully maintained over the months to come. I will endeavor to respond promptly to any inquiries or bug finds.

It is a Drupal package (fully dependent on the Drupal forms API and other services from the DRUPAL core) but designed to work within the CiviCRM database framework. The target universe for canvassing is a CiviCRM group and a batch process updates a custom field in CiviCRM with canvassing outcome reports. The target group and outcome reporting field (and outcome options), once created in CiviCRM can be chosen or changed through the appliation's user interface.

Other features of this module include:

  • Use of an audit trail as opposed to security. A campaign can make this available to any user who wishes to help without any screening or verification. Any accidental or deliberate defacing of the data can be rolled back. This supports an open approach to campaigning that contrasts with the traditional centralized phone bank or volunteer walk army model.
  • The system serves voters to volunteers based on the target choices of the campaign and the neighborhood choices of the volunteer. It prevents users from contacting the same voters inadvertently but allows recontact based on intervals controlled by the campaign.
  • The package includes a full suite of statistical reporting to allow a campaign to plan and monitor canvassing activity. Campaign administrators can see who is active (holding interview reservations), what their interview results are, how much of the canvassing target universe has been reached, etc., at any time. The package supplies a subset of the statistical reporting to the logged-in volunteer so that they can monitor their own progress.
  • The audit trail doubles as a cache, so that after reserving a collection of voters for interview, users get pretty fast response time as they save interview reports.
  • The install includes an address parsing utility and helper tables to populate the unpopulated postal address fields in the CiviCRM address database. This parser could be used without the rest of the functionality.
  • The next planned extension of the package will be an election day get-out-the-vote package which will coordinate real-time poll-checking with decentralized GOTV activities.

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