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Free Predictive Dialers Could Swing the 2012 Presidential Election

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September 06, 2012

Free Predictive Dialers Could Swing the 2012 Presidential Election

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

As rhetoric from both political parties crescendo in anticipation of November’s presidential election, the partisan phone calls are about to begin.

In a presidential race that is neck-and-neck, the efficiency of free predictive dialers could have a direct effect on who the next president of the United States is.

For its part, the Obama campaign is operating a number of volunteer-led dialer phone banks around the country in an effort to get the vote out.

“The campaign has launched a new, and highly effective tool to use to enable us to contact a greater number of voters in a shorter amount of time,” said a statement on the Obama/Biden website, which invited volunteers to predictive dialer training in California. “This is extremely important as we gear up for the last 100 days of this campaign. You need a laptop for this tool and ideally a headset.”

Obama volunteers gather in private homes and log into a hosted predictive dialer. The dialer then makes a set number of calls based on the number of people who actually answer.

This innovative technology also tracks the length of phone calls so that it can quickly deliver a new phone call as soon as the previous call wraps up.

Many predictive dialers allow users to upload scripts onto a screen for volunteers to use while speaking to potential voters. Depending on the call recipient’s history with the campaign, volunteers may have access to some demographic information about the voter within the predictive dialer platform.

Callers can also gather information about voters and enter it into fields on the predictive dialer screen. The offering even generates detailed reports in order to let campaign staff know about what the results were from the calls.

If no one answers the call, the predictive dialer can be programmed to leave a voicemail.

With predictive dialers, campaign volunteers can make calls without using up their precious cell phone minutes. Volunteers can also boost their contact rates so that they touch base with more people in battleground states.

For some Obama supporters, a stint with a phone bank turns into a more in-depth volunteering opportunity. Obama volunteer Noah Remnick decided to look for an Obama phone bank near his home in Brooklyn. Ten days later, he moved to Minneapolis to become an on-the-ground organizer.

“This summer I've had the opportunity to register new voters, talk with undecided voters and recruit first-time volunteers who had never turned their political beliefs into political action before,” Remnick wrote in a blog post.

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Edited by Braden Becker

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