How to increase voter participation by grassroots canvassing

Democracy Labs
3 min readDec 22, 2021

Grassroots canvassing innovations increase voter participation.

Democracy works best when everyone’s voice is heard — not just a loud minority.

How can grassroots groups located unregistered voters to increase voter participation? How can canvassing campaigns span both registered and unregistered voters? How can volunteers conduct surveys? How can this be done quickly by underfunded and under-staffed groups?

Innovative, affordable solutions.

The best innovations come from frontline grassroots groups sharing their needs with technologists to convert them into solutions. Frugal innovation saves time and money by adapting existing technologies, rather than re-inventing the wheel. This blog highlights how grassroots groups led to innovations to:

  • Locate unregistered voters
  • Identify areas with the most likely supporters
  • Canvass people on any list of addresses (and not just a voter file)
  • Display the data to make it easier for organizers to adapt canvassing plans
  • Get real time updates canvassing updates to avoid contacting the same house twice
  • Enhance deep canvassing by making it to see notes from prior interactions
  • Export the data collected for use in other applications such as the VAN or mailing programs
  • Make canvassing affordable so more volunteers can be engaged
  • Streamline the allocation of houses for each volunteer to canvass (turf cutting)
  • Design better walking routes so canvassers can meet more people in less time

Frugal grassroots innovation

Grassroots groups face entrenched groups with more money and armies of consultants. How can grassroots groups use technology as a force for good, rather than a tool for spreading disinformation and gerrymandering?

Democracy Labs

Democracy Labs applies innovative, free or low cost, technological solutions to social justice, democracy and environmental causes and campaigns.