Targeting Local Voters

Time and people power are one of a campaigns greatest and most valuable resources which is why one does not want to waste either of them.


Identifying your most likely supporters and voters in your area is vitally important. There are several powerful tools available to help you do this and some are less well known than others.  We want to help introduce you to some of the basics in identifying and targeting your local voters and supporters for your campaign. Let's get started!

In this video Josh Wolf of the New Organizing Project describes the main concepts in identifying your local voters.



Visit the Candidate Project ( to get the contact information of your state's Secretary Of State and election board to get information about your areas voter file so you can target voters and win your campaign.


We want to create a clear picture of how we get to our campaigns "win number" ie the number of our voters we need to turn out to win our campaign.  In this great series of videos we can see any any campaign using grass roots methods can use public data to understand where their likely voters are and create a strategy for reaching them.




1. Identify voter history, party affiliation, history of voting off years, etc. Get file from county board of elections.


2. Setting up target structure.
Top tier: Registered democrats; those who voted in all elections, those who only voted in presidential year elections (just need to be persuaded to get out and vote – but already likely to vote for your candidate).
Second tier: nonpartisan voters convincing those who already vote in all elections to vote for your candidate, convincing those who only voted in presidential election years to both vote for your candidate and get out to vote.
Third tier: opposing party (danger zone)


3. Using the target structure. Find out number of voters total, then average turnout, predicted number of voters likely to turn out and finally, how many votes it would take to win.


4. Next sort your excel chart from county board of elections by precinct, party and years voted. Run counts to fill in targeting matrix. Label targets by creating a new target column. Sort by target and copy to a new sheet. Select all, go to data and choose sort, then sort by the categories we already listed in order of tiers listed above precinct, party, elections voted in (last three by year). Excel will then sort voters in the way requested.


5. Change font or background color by categories, like blue for democrats, green for non-partisans, red for republicans etc. Next run counts of when people vote. Look at which years democrats have an x to show they voted. Highlight those and see count down in the bottom corner of excel page, it will give you the number of those voters. That gives you the number of voters likely to turn out and vote for you. Mark that as the starting point for tier 1. Sort and label as such. Then go democratic voters who voted in two of the last three elections count and keep them in our tier 1 do the same with democrats who voted in only on, count them and add them to tier 1.  Those who haven’t voted recently leave off. Follow same process for non-partisans section creating tiers the same way starting them on tier 2. The rest of non-partisans go to tier 3.


6. Now go back to the number of voters you need to vote for you in order to win and compare that to your list of likely voters. That way you can see how many more voters you need to win. After that you decide how many you need to target in order to win… how many tier 3 voters we need to target.


7. Go back to select all and sort and sort voters by tiers.


8. Copy this and make a new spreadsheet. Label them tier 1, tier 2, and tier 2. These are the targets.


9. Create a chart of graph by tiers and numbers. For instance the number of people in tier one etc. The total of tiers one and two give you the total number of voters you target and an idea of how many on tier two you will have to convince. Hopefully there are enough in tier one and two to get you there, if not, you may have to also target the tier three list, which will be the most difficult to get.





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