I’m originally from Texas and keep in touch with a lot of people that still call the state home. In the days leading up to the Texas Presidential primary, it seemed like everyone I knew reported receiving phone calls from Obama and Clinton supporters scrounging up votes for their candidate of choice. We’re talking three to four calls each. Everyone reported that the volume of calls was much higher than previous campaigns.

There are a lot of reasons for the increase in voter contacts I would think. The race was extremely competitive and Texas usually isn’t a primary player. Both campaigns are well funded. Overall interest is extremely high this year. But I think one key reason for the increase in contacts is the use of online call tools by both the Obama and Clinton campaigns. These tools allow the campaigns to crowd source voter contacts.

Essentially, both the Obama and Clinton websites allow registered users to make calls for the campaign to a state whose primary is approaching.   The first step in the process of making calls is to select the state you want to call.  After you select a state, you are assigned a voter (or list of voters) to call and given a script that includes some talking points and questions to ask such as “which candidate do you support?” and “what issues are most important to you?”.  After you finish talking to the voter, you report back to the campaign how the call went by filling out a simple form. This information is then stored in the campaign’s overall voter database (otherwise known as Customer Relationship Management database). The campaigns then use the information they collect via these tools to tailor get out the vote efforts, hone messages, customize donation appeals, etc.  These tools also provide the campaign with information about where they stand in each state.

These tools have been around since 2004, when both the Bush and Kerry campaigns had call systems built into their websites. The Fred Thompson (disclosure) and Mitt Romney campaigns had similar tools on their sites this cycle. However, I figured I’d take a closer look at the Obama and Clinton tools since they are still up and being used (look out Pennsylvania). Overall, I think both tools are excellent, although I found the Hillary tool a little easier to use.

Following are screen grabs of the call tools on both sites with my random notes. The phone numbers of the voters I was assigned have been blocked out to protect the innocent.

Click on images for full sized screen shots. Note I grabbed these a month ago intending to write a post about it.


(1) Tool Main Page

Very simple page with good instructions. Very usable page that isn’t needlessly flashy.

Hillary CLinton Call Tool Homepage

(2) Call Page

This is what I got after selecting Wisconsin. This will give a sense of what the scripts look like for these things.


(3) Reminder Email

One aspect of the Hillary tool that I don’t have a screen grab of is the registration process needed to get into the tool to begin. They ask you to pledge the days and times you will make calls. They then send you reminders like below, making sure you are making the calls.



(1) Tool Main Page

Very pretty page. Maps always look nice, but I think they are generally a terrible way to actually select a state.


(2) Obama Caller Select

I selected New York in this case. The Obama campaign gives assigns you a full list of names to call, as you’ll see below. You click the name to get the number.


(3) Input Screen

This is where you report back about your conversation with the voter.


(4) Sample Call Script

This is a sample of the call script the campaign encourages you to use.


About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.