Getting started with VoterMapping. Learn how to connect data sources, create universes, filters and polygons. Covers basic search functionality.
Videos on Creating Data Sources:
- Creating A Universe
- Creating A New Universe by Combining Two or More Existing Universes
- Creating a new Universe from the Intersection of Two or More Existing Universes
- Creating a new Universe by Subtracting Two or More Universes from an Existing Universe
- Working with Polygons
The Search bar is at the top of the sidebar menu. It can be used to find a single voter, a family or all voters on a certain street. It can also be used in conjunction with other filters in the selection branches. For example, you may be looking for a single male voter between the ages of 25 and 40. You know that he lives on a certain street but you don’t remember his name.
The Search function can be used to find him by selecting for gender, age and, finally, street name. To use the Search Function, fill in a search field with a value. As you enter each additional letter or number you’ll see the total voter count on the map drop. When the count drops to fewer than 50 voters, the dots on the map will change to balloons so that you can see each selected voter. Names should be entered in the form with which the voter is likely to be registered. For example, “Bob” is likely registered with the first name “Robert”. In the “House
#” field enter only the house number. Do not enter apartment numbers or any words. In the “Street Name” field enter only the street name. Do not include directional indicators or street types. For example, the street name “NW Elm Street” should be entered only as “Elm” without the “NW” or the “Street” designators. Note that voters can be searched purely on the basis of address without entering a personal name. For example entering “House #” “22” and “Street Name” “Elm” will filter to all voters with the address “22 Elm” regardless of where they live in the state. If you wish to limit your search selection to a particular zip code, district, county, polygon or any other criteria such as party, gender, voting history, etc, make those selections in the selection branches below in combination with your search function. Your name/address search will then be limited by those other parameters.
Polygons can be created to define an area that cannot be defined by any traditional boundary selection such as congressional district, zip code, precinct, etc. A polygon is a “self-‐-‐-‐defined” district area. Once created, it can be recalled at any time and used to define and select the voters in a specific area. When used in combination with other demographic and commercial selections, it can define a very specialized neighborhood list that might be used for a mailing or a telephoning program or pushed out to canvassers’ phones in Ground Game.
Under Map Controls there is a branch named "Polygons". Click on the Map Controls section in the sidebar menu to expand that branch and display the branches within it. Click again on the word “Polygons” to reveal the options beneath it.
Name the polygon, overwriting the default name, and click the "New Polygon" button. This will create a blank polygon with a selected circle to the left of its name.
With your new polygon selected you will notice that the mouse cursor has changed from an arrow to a “+”sign when hovering over the map.
Click the location on the map where you want to place the first point of your polygon. A white box with a red outline will appear. This is your first corner point and all voter balloons or dots will disappear from the map since you have not yet defined an area.
Click on another spot on the map and another white box will appear with a line connecting the two. Move in a clockwise or counter-‐-‐-‐clockwise direction clicking on additional points to form the polygon. The boxes represent corners of your polygon, and you will be able to move them around to change the polygon’s shape.
If you wish to move a polygon's corner box, click, hold, and drag it to a new location on the map. If you wish to delete a polygon's corner box click on it once. If you wish to add a corner box between two existing corner boxes click on the red circle located at the midpoint of the connecting line.
Continue adding and adjusting points until you have created your desired polygon. [HINT: Leaving the map view on “Road” rather than “Automatic” or “Bird’s Eye” may make it easier to outline a neighborhood if you have zoomed in to a close-‐-‐-‐up view.] The red-‐-‐-‐shaded space between the lines is the area selected by your polygon. Remember that polygons are like self-‐-‐-‐defined districts. They simply define an area in the same way that a congressional district, state senate or state house district defines a geographical area and do not, by themselves create a universe.
Once your polygon has been created, try moving a corner point and watch all the numbers in the side panel update instantly. Your polygon will remain as an area selection until you delete it. It can be used in combination with any other selections within L2 VoterMapping. For example, you might wish to create a universe of all high frequency voting Non-Partisan voters in a particular neighborhood.
Create a polygon to define the neighborhood, make your voting history and party affiliation selections and then create your universe. To select different polygons, click on the check circle to the left of the name of the polygon you want to select. You can only select one polygon at a time.
To remove all polygons from the map, click the bubble to the left of the “None Selected “ option at the top of the polygon list. To delete a polygon you have created, click on the garbage can icon to the right of its name.
Making Selections (i.e. “Filtering”) Within Data Sources
Making selections inside L2 VoterMapping is as simple as clicking a selection box. To remove a selection just “uncheck” the box. To get started, go to the Data Sources section within L2 VoterMapping.
Note that L2 VoterMapping is organized in a tree structure. Anywhere you see a black arrow, the branch is expandable and there will be selection options or additional branches inside that branch. Click on the branch a second time to collapse it and hide the sub-branches.
Once you find a desired attribute to filter, click on the box to the left of its name to select it. This will select only voters who possess the selected attribute. Multiple attributes can be selected simultaneously within a single branch and any voters meeting any one of those conditions will be selected. Watch the dots on the map increase in number as you select first female voters and then add male voters by clicking that box as well. To remove a selection, simply “uncheck” the selection box.
It is important to understand that multiple selections within a single branch of the tree are added to each other. [HINT: Technically, multiple selections within a single branch are logically connected with an “OR” statement. In other words, all voters are selected who meet condition “A” OR condition “B” OR condition “C” etc.] Clicking on multiple selections within a single branch will INCREASE the number of voters selected.
Adding a selection in a different branch subtracts voters. [HINT: Technically, the selections in two different branches are logically connected by an “AND” statement. In other words, all voters must meet the condition(s) in branch “A” AND must ALSO meet the condition(s) in branch “B”.] Clicking on selections in multiple different branches will DECREASE the number of voters selected since you are requiring that each voter meet the conditions in every separate branch.
In the following example selections in two different branches have been made. All voters must meet both conditions. They must be married AND they must be between the ages of 30 and 40.
Note that most Demographics are selected using a check box next to their names, but some, like age, have filters in which you can set a range of values. To use a “range” selector, enter values in both boxes and then click anywhere outside the selection boxes. This will tell the system that you are finished entering your choices and the selection will be made. A third type of selection box is a date filter. When you click on a date filter field a calendar will appear. Choose the proper year and month then click on a “Day” to set the calendar.
Remember to click outside the selection boxes once you’ve finished so that L2 VoterMapping knows you have completed making your choices.
Filtering to make selections is the first step in downloading voter data from L2 VoterMapping. The second step is to create a “Universe” from the selection you have made. You may create as many universes as you wish at no cost. You will not pay for these records until you have placed the universe in your shopping cart and have then “checked out” to unlock those records.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON UNIVERSES: The universes you create and save are “snapshots” at any given time for the voter selection you wish to make. Since L2 VoterMapping files are being frequently updated it is possible that between the time you create a universe and the time you are ready to use it, changes may have occurred in the voter database. There may be newly-‐-‐-‐registered voters and others may have dropped off the file due to National Change of Address cleaning or death. It is always a good idea to create a universe at the time you plan to use it.
Once you have filtered all registered voters down to the specific group of voters in which you are interested, save this group of voters by creating a universe. Start by clicking on the “Universes” branch as shown below.
This will expand the branch and reveal the universe manipulation buttons. Hover over the buttons with your mouse arrow to learn their functions.
- The “Create New Universe” button at the far left will allow you to save your currently selected voters as a universe that you
- The “Combine Universes” button second from the left will allow you to create a new universe from the combination of multiple universes that you select from your list of existing
- The “Intersection” button third from the left will allow you to create a new universe from only those voters each of whom is found in each and every universe that you select from your list of existing
- The “Omit one universe from another” button, fourth from the left, will allow you to create a new universe by defining a starting universe and then selecting all additional universes you wish to omit from the starting
- The “Expand” button fifth from the left will allow you to create a new universe by defining a starting universe from your list of pre-‐-‐-‐existing universes and then “expanding” it by adding in every additional voter in the households of the voters initially selected. This is a useful function to include all household voter names on a mailing
- The “Contract” button sixth from the left will allow you to create a new universe by defining a starting universe from your list of pre-‐-‐-‐existing universes and then randomly selecting only one voter per
Each of these functions will be described in greater detail below.
Create New Universe Button
To create a new universe from the currently selected filters, click the “Create New Universe” button.
Give the universe a name by entering it in the box then click the “Create” button. In less than a second the newly-‐-‐-‐named universe should appear in the list under “Your Universes” along with the count for the number of voters in that universe. Whenever a new universe is created the selection box next to it will automatically be “checked”. Uncheck the box if you wish to return to viewing all registered voters. Now click on the universe name. Like every other branch with a black arrow, the universe name branch will expand. Within the branch, you will be informed of the composition of the universe and the number of records in this particular universe that you already “own” and that do not need to be purchased again.
This function will create a new universe by combining two or more existing universes. As in the create function, first give the new universe a name. Now check the boxes for two or more existing universes you have previously created. The selected universes will be combined into a single new universe with no duplicate records as soon as you click the “Create” button.
EXAMPLE: You may previously have created multiple universes of special target groups. Now you want to do a single mailing to all of their households but you don’t want duplication in the mailing labels. Use this function to combine all of the other universes into a single new universe (which will have no duplicates) and then create a mailing label file from it.
Take the Intersection from Among Multiple Universes
This function creates a new universe that consists of the “overlap” or “intersection” among multiple existing universes. Give the new universe a name and then click two or more existing universes among those you have already created. On the map, you will see that only voters who are common to ALL of the specified universes will be selected. Voters who are in one of the universes but are missing from one or more of the other universe will not be included.
EXAMPLE: You previously created a universe of all voters within a certain neighborhood area you have defined with a polygon. You have another similar universe also created with a polygon in the same area and the neighborhood areas overlap each other on the map. Use this function to select only those voters who are in the part of the neighborhood where the two polygons overlap. In a second scenario, imagine that you have created ten different universes of different types of supporters. You now want to do a telemarketing call only to those supporters who are found in each of the ten different lists.
Perhaps these are your “super supporters”. Use the Intersection function to create a new universe that contains only those voters common to all ten universes.
Remove One or More Universes From a Single Starting Universe
This function allows you to take an existing universe and remove from it all voters found in ANY of the additional universes you specify. You will create a new universe by starting with one universe and “subtracting” others from it. Start by giving the universe a name. You will then select your “starting universe” from your list of pre-‐-‐-‐existing universes by checking its box. You will see the number “1” appear next to that starting universe name. Now select the universes that you wish to omit from this starting universe. Each additional universe you check will be given a number “2” or higher. Now click the “Create” button. A dialogue box will confirm for you that you are starting with universe “1” and are subtracting from it universes “2”, “3” etc. Click “Okay” and the new universe will appear under the “Your Universes” branch.
EXAMPLE: You’ve created universes and have done specialized “neighborhood” mailings to specific households in specific neighborhoods. You want to do a new mailing to all households in your district but you don’t want to include those voters you’ve just contacted in the first mailing. Use this function to take a universe of all voters in your district and then remove from it those voters you’ve already contacted.
[HINT FOR ADVANCED USERS: If you wish to remove from your new mailing the entire household of the voters you previously contacted then create a new universe from the previous universe using the “Expand” function. Omit this new “Expanded” version of your previous universe from the new universe you are creating. Because the “Expanded” version of that universe will include all voters in those households, then you will be certain of omitting those households entirely from your new mailing. If you do not created the expanded version of that previous universe you will be omitting only the individual voters in that universe and some other members of their household might still be included in your new mailing.]
Expand a Universe
This function allows you to create a new universe that consists of all of the voters in your starting universe PLUS any remaining members of their household regardless of whether they meet the selection criteria used to select the first voter in the household. For example, if you have a universe consisting of only male voters, you can expand that universe to create a universe that includes any other female or male voters living in that household with the first voter. To use this function, give the new universe a name, check the box for the pre-‐-‐-‐existing universe you want to “expand” and then click the “Create” button. Note that the household count for the expanded universe will be identical to the household count for the original universe but the number of individual voters in those households will have increased.
EXAMPLE: You have selected your particular voter target and wish to create walking lists to go door‐to‐door. However, when you approach a household with your list you cannot be certain who might appear at the door and you would like to be ready by having the names of all voters in that household on your printed list. Use this function to take your universe of targeted voters and then expand it by including all other members of their households so that you’ll have all voters in that household listed when you approach the door.
“Shrink” or “Contract” a Universe
This function creates a new universe with only one voter per household. The opposite of Expand, Contract picks one random voter in each household to include in the data. Give the new universe a name, select the existing universe you wish to “shrink” or “contract” and then click the “Create” button. Note that in the newly-‐-‐-‐created universe, the individual voter count is identical to the household count.
EXAMPLE: This can be a valuable tool for saving money. Since you unlock records individually in L2 VoterMapping and pay for each, you can save money when generating mailing labels by just randomly selecting one voter per household. By doing so, you’ll be paying for and “unlocking” far fewer records than if you had purchased all voters in each household.
Recalling Filters and Editing Universe Names
Recalling Filters is a useful tool for reminding yourself of the particular selections that had been used to create a universe AND for creating a new universe utilizing some part of the area or demographic selections used to create the first universe. Imagine, for example, that you had selected a very large number of individual precincts defining your “swing” targets. You had then created, for the purposes of a mailing, a universe from within these swing precincts by selecting female voters with a certain voting history. Now you want to do a second mailing with a different message to the male voters within those same targeted precincts. Rather than having to recheck all of the precinct boxes for your list of swing precincts, you can simply return to the original universe of targeted female voters and “recall” the filters. This will “recheck” all of the boxes used in that original selection so that you do not have to redo that work. You can then modify those selections and create a new universe. You might, for example, keep the area selection the same but alter the demographic selection or you might keep the demographic selection the same and alter the area to which it is being applied.
NOTE: It’s important to remember that recalling filters can ONLY be done with universes that are not the result of other manipulation functions such as “combine”, “intersect”, “omit overlap”, “expand” or “contract”. When those functions are used to create a new universe, you will be shown a warning message that you will not be able to “recall filters” from the newly-‐-‐-‐ created universe.
To recall filters, start by “Clearing All Selections” with the button at the top of the side panel. You should now be viewing all registered voters on the map. Now click on the name of the universe from which you wish to recall a set of filters. Beneath the universe name, click on the “funnel” button that appears as the second icon. Immediately, the count of voters at the bottom of the map will equal the count shown for that universe and you will notice that selection boxes are now “checked” in the branches of the tree down below. These are the same selection boxes that had been checked to create the original universe. [NOTE: The counts may be different if the voter file has been updated since the time you created the previous universe. For example, since the time you previously created the universe, the underlying voter data for a particular county may have been updated and there are now more voters. When you recall the filters from that universe, you may see that the voter count is higher than the old universe count even when the selection is theoretically the same.]
You will also notice that the tree branches will have turned red indicating that a selection has been made in that branch. You can now alter those selections as you wish and save the changes as a new universe.
Notice that a variation of this function appears in the “funnel” icon with a “plus” sign over it. If you start by filtering for any particular set of criteria, you can then “add” the filters from an existing universe by using this function. Note that if the filters from the universe you are “adding” are inconsistent with the filters currently set in the application, you will get zero voters. For example, if you have selected all voters who are between the ages of 18 and 30
and you then add the filters from a universe that required each voter to be between the ages of 40 and 50, the two sets of filters are incompatible and zero voters will be selected. In other words, no single voter can simultaneously meet both the condition that his age is between “18 and 30” AND the condition that his age is between “40 and 50”.
Editing Universe Names and Descriptions
If you wish to change the name or description of an existing universe, click on the “pencil” icon beneath the universe name.
This will reopen the name and description boxes. Give the universe a new name and/or new description and click “Save” to save your changes.