VAN is the online voter file used by the Dallas County Democratic Party and Texas Democratic Party. The Texas Democratic Party maintains a high-quality online voter file that is updated throughout the year to ensure that Democrats have access to the most accurate information possible. Every election cycle, the TDP invests almost $300,000 to update the online voter file, which includes validating addresses with the United States Postal Service (USPS), obtaining phone numbers, appending voting history and adding new voters to the file.
Some of the advantages that VAN offers are:
To ensure that candidates and their campaigns can use VAN effectively, a series of user guides has been created that walk campaigns through how to use various features of the program and how they can best use the voter file to target voters. The TDP also offers a series of Voter File training classes both online, one-on-one, and bundled with other grassroot training programs.
Please note that access to the TDP's Online Voter File is limited to County Chairs, Democratic Candidates, Precinct Chairs, Texas Majority Builders and SDEC members as outlined in the TDP's Use and Access Policy.
The following documents and user request information are available on the TDP's VAN page: http://www.txdemocrats.org/act/van
1. Precinct Chair User Guide
2. Candidate Contribution Fee Schedule
Precinct Chairs and certain eligible Club representatives and DCDP committee members should request an account by sending an email request to psheller AT tx.rr.com including your basis for eligibility.
The Texas Democratic Party charges a nominal fee for Democratic Candidates wishing to obtain access to the Online Voter File. This fee helps offset the costs of maintaining VAN, and also acts as an in-kind contribution from the Texas Democratic Party for their campaign. The cost for VAN access is a set price based on the level of elected office a candidate is seeking. Please contact the Texas Democratic Party to obtain price information for how much VAN will cost for a particular office.
County Chairs, Precinct Chairs, Texas Majority Builders, and SDEC members are given free access to VAN based based on their district. County Chairs are given access to view voters for their entire county, which is to help their county's local Democratic Party reach out to voters and increase Democratic turnout. SDEC members are given access to the State Senate District they represent. Precinct Chairs and Texas Majority Builders are given access only to the precinct they are registered to vote in.
VAN combines a number of data sources that most other Voter File Applications do not contain or must be purchased separately. For example, the Texas County Election Departments do not track telephone numbers of voters. A candidate who does not use VAN must purchase the telephone numbers from a third-party vendor on top of whatever expenses they are paying for an online Voter File Application. For districts with large populations or candidates who cannot afford large campaign budgets, this additional expense can be prohibitive and may prevent a good candidate from being competitive against their opponent. The Texas Democratic Party has already gone to the expense to purchase publicly available phone numbers, and have this information made accessible to candidates who are using VAN for their campaigns.
Data within the Online Voter File is segregated and protected for each political campaign. This allows two Democratic Candidates running in the same Primary to both use VAN and not have each other's campaign see their canvassing activities, volunteers, or other confidential information. The only data that both campaigns share is basic registered voter information, such as voter name, address, phone number, and voting history. All data entered by a campaign is considered private and not accessible by others. A campaign does have the option to make certain data publically available, if they so choose. Republican candidates are not provided access to VAN.