Creating lists for phone banking, door knocking, or events is one of the core functions of VAN. This article will explain the various search criteria in the Create A List tool, so you can make the most effective lists possible.
To understand the logic steps in Create A List, check out our article Building a List - Types of Steps
If you do not see certain fields, it is likely because your access is restricted based on your VAN user profile. Contact your committee admin to request upgraded permissions.
Home Districts is the most useful search criteria in VAN, which is why it is at the top of this list (to set it to the top of your Create A List page, click the star next to the Home Districts tab). This should always be your first step when creating a list.
Home Districts allows you to narrow by county, congressional, and state legislative and special districts. Selecting a county will also allow you to select precincts or cities within that county.
To select multiple home districts in one search, click on any area that is highlighted in blue. This will then take you to a page where you can check as many districts as needed for your search.
Again, this should always be the first step in your search. This means you'll avoid calling voters outside your specific race.
Absentee Voting allows you to select people who requested or returned an absentee ballot. You can select a date range or check the box for all people who fit your criteria.
Activist Codes are a series of tags that indicate specific things voters have done in current and past elections. Some examples include campaign donors, caucus attendees, and party officials.
To select multiple activist codes, click the blue Activist Codes button and you can check as many as needed.
Addresses allows you to fine-tune your list to specific cities and even streets.
One useful tool in this field is "Walkable Houses" which, when checked, will exclude larger buildings so you can canvass more easily. "USPS Verified Only" is also useful to check when building a mailing list to minimize address errors.
Age and Registration Date allows you to target a specific age group or target voters who registered in a given date range.
API Saved Lists
API Saved Lists works with tools integrated with VAN to build lists across multiple platforms. Please check in with the data team if you want to learn more about this tool.
As of this writing, we are not supporting the Blast Email tool.
Canvass Status allows you to select people who you've spoken with before. You can select specific responses they gave and you can also select who canvassed them, when they were canvassed, or how many times you've contacted them.
Custom Contact Fields
We are not currently support this search criteria.
Email allows to you select specific domain names (ex: ends in @gmail.com) or when their email was added to the voter file.
Household Party Counts
Household Party Counts allows you to select people who live in a house with a certain number of members of a specific political party.
Household Sex Counts
Household Sex Counts allows you to select people who live in a house with a certain number of people of a specific sex. It also includes "people" which counts everyone living at that address.
Likely Ethnic Subgroup
Likely Ethnic Subgroup allows you to find people of a certain ethnic group such as Chinese, Mexican, or West Indian. This is useful for specific constituency events.
Note: "Likely" means that this has been modeled, not actually reported. You may find discrepancies between a voter's actual ethnicity and VAN. This is why each subgroup has a "high" and "low"- it indicated the confidence in VAN's modeling.
Likely Ethnic Group
Likely Ethnic Group allows you to find people of a certain ethnic group. It is basically a cruder version of Likely Ethnic Subgroup
Note: "Likely" means that this has been modeled, not actually reported. You may find discrepancies between a voter's actual ethnicity and VAN.
Likely Party allows you to find people of a certain political party. This gives the options of Strong/Lean/Independent Leaning for both parties.
Note: "Likely" means that this has been modeled, not actually reported. You may find discrepancies between a voter's party registration and VAN. This is based on Party Points (article forthcoming)
Likely Religion allows you to find people of a certain religious group.
Note: "Likely" means that this has been modeled, not actually reported. You may find discrepancies between a voter's actual religion and VAN.
My Campaign Record
My Campaign record allows you to select whether or not you want to include people who have a myCampaign profile or not.
My Saved Lists
My Saved Lists allows you to insert or filter by a list that you have already created. For example, if you have a saved list of people who you don't want to call, you can use a remove step and use that list. VAN will take out all matching records between the current list and the saved list.
Name allows you to select people with a specific name.
Notes allows you to select people who have a note in their profile. You can specify specific notes to search for, or you can select someone who has any note applied regardless of what it contains.
Organizing Turfs is another way to break up people by geographic locations, much like Home Districts. Individual campaigns can set up turfs. Check with your field director to see if this applies to your campaign.
We no not currently support this field.
Phones allows you to select various fields such as phone type (home, cell, work, etc), where the phone data came from (the voter file, added manually in VAN, or a vendor), and whether or not the phone is a cell (important for texting).
Precinct-Level NCEC Data
Precinct-Level NCEC Data is a category of scores (see scores below) relating to turnout, persuasion, and Democratic leanings. These range from 0 to 100, with 100 being more likely to turnout, be able to be persuaded, etc.
Further documentation will be provided on this search criteria.
Relationships allows you to use relational organizing to build your lists. In a voter's VAN profile, you can connect them to other profiles by "relationships" (ex: you can tag two voters as neighbors). In the Relationships field, you can leverage those connections to build your list based on an individual's connections to others.
VAN has the ability to setup RoboCall campaigns to voters. This field allows you to build lists based on past RoboCall campaigns. Please contact the data team for more info on RoboCalls in VAN.
Scores are modeling criteria from a variety of organizations, including the DNC, DCCC, Civis, Clarity, and TargetSmart. These can model general Democratic support, specific Candidate support, positions on specific issues, and a variety of other topics.
Many scores are based on a scale from 1 to 100 (100 indicating more support, higher turnout, etc), but some use pother scales. You can see the scale in the Scores field.
To use scores, simply enter the lower and upper bounds of your search in a specific score. Always be sure to preview your list for size and adjust the scores as needed to fit your list requirements.
Self-Reported Demographics allows you to build a list by ethnicity and preferred language, as reported by the voter themselves.
Sex allows you to select by the voter's sex as listed in the SOS Voterfile.
The Suppressions field allows you to include or exclude common types of issues in your list, including those who are deceased or bad addresses.
VAN automatically includes some Suppressions in the initial list step. Those are listed below. You can change these if you would like, but be careful to ensure your list is clean.
Survey Questions is where you can select your survey responses from phones and canvasses.
To select multiple survey questions, click the blue Question button and you can check as many as needed.
Tags are similar to Activist Codes, used to mark certain kinds of voters. If you have tags in your committee, you can search for them in the Tags field.
Targets are lists created based on a variety of factors including scores, volunteer history, etc. Similar to Saved Searches, checking a target box limits your list to individuals inside that target.
Some campaigns always build lists in target. If you're not sure if you should be using Targets, talk to your supervisor/field director.
Voter Status and Voter Registration
Voter Status and Registration is a deep dive into a voter's registration details, including whether they are active or inactive, when they were added, and why they updated their registration with the SOS.
Voting History allows you to build your list based on whether or not people voted in previous elections, and whether they voted absentee or at the polls.
While who they voted for in those elections is private, whether and how they voted is searchable information in this field.