Soccer moms in a minivan will be approaching you with a MiniVAN on their cell phone. This may seem like a terrible play on words, and it is a horrible pun. Even though it is a horrible pun, it is still true. The Democratic party has started to move away from pen and paper canvassing when it is not necessary. Campaign volunteers are using a cell phone app that connects to the NGP VAN database used by the Democratic party.
The NGP VAN database contains records of who voted for Democratic party candidates in previous elections and who is most likely to do so again. Targeting voters who have voted the way the campaign volunteers would like them to have voted in the past save work and helps canvassers target people who are likely to get out to vote again. As useful as the program may be, it often over targets independent voters who may not be likely to vote the same way in any given election.
Technology is likely to play an increasing role in campaigns, and it may make it easier to get out the vote. While making it easier to get out the vote is good, there are negative aspects to using technology as well. Using cell phone technology may disproportionately impact rural voters. Rural voters do not always live in areas where cell phone data can be accessed. Some areas may have limited access at slower speeds.
This may not cause a problem for Democratic party pollsters as long as they continue to use the old-fashioned pen and paper methods where they are appropriate. The Republicans have not forgotten where most of their core voters live. Perhaps technology may be better used to solve the gerrymandering problem many people seem to have with the current system. Some people believe that gerrymandering gave the United States its current president.