There had been talk of it for a while, and it’s good to see that the LP is finally taking some strategic cues from the DNC and GOP and has created a shared voter database —— that any campaign should easily tap into with very little effort and has successfully tested it in the wild with :
The Ballot Base had already received some attention before it was officially launched. A test run of the new political tool was performed in California’s 50th Congressional District, where Libertarian Paul King was running for the seat vacated by Duke Cunningham. King was opposed by Republican Brian Bilbray and Democrat Francine Busby. The LP’s new Ballot Base helped the Libertarian candidate to more than triple his number of votes.
Because of the disparity between his primary and his special election vote totals, a writer at the Web site Democratic Underground noted that something seemed amiss. The popular site Huffington Post ran an article suggesting a Diebold conspiracy was the reason that King received significantly more votes than Libertarian candidates in neighboring districts. In reality, it was Ballot Base.
If we’ve got tools powerful enough to get the opposition crying foul about conspiracy theories, we’re doing something right.
Austin Cassidy also covered this yesterday on Third Party Watch, but I just want to reiterate/clarify a comment I made over there:
This is one of those tools that may be ugly as sin, but will end up making the LP a contender in many races. Most casual observers don’t realize how important current databases of voter rolls, but believe me, the GOP and DNC are more than equiped in this arena (ever wonder why you get a crapload of mail right before an election? this is why).
It’ll be interesting to see how the sharing works and if state parties will actually jump into this (I have a race here in OH that I’d like to use this for, but LPO will have to buy the data from the SOS first).
I do stand by saying it’s ugly as sin… hopefully someone with design skills will send them a mockup of a better version to pique their interest. If the process for tapping in is as simple as signing up then this should be a boon for campaigns, but I’m hoping it doesn’t require state parties to commit a lot of extra money buying voter rolls, because I can imagine quite a few will balk at it simply out of resistance to anything new that requires effort.
Regardless, if you’ve ever wondered how you can help campaigns in your area, one way would be to go ahead and (well, if you can… it appears that functionality is totally borked, at least for Firefox users).