Texas campaigns race for information in 2014

GOP Data Beacon, a Republican database, can be accessed on mobile apps as volunteers go door to door.
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AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may be surprised to learn the information campaigns are gathering on you to try to win your vote. As technology advances, information becomes more readily available.

“There’s just more tools that we can use, but the basic principles are always the same,” says Michele Samuelson, a volunteer with the Republican Party of Texas.

Since the early 2000s massive private database companies team up with marketing firms to collect stats like someone’s race or their job. Campaigns tap into that to target likely voters.

“Data entry can be fun,” said Mary Patrick who volunteers for Battleground Texas and spends a lot of her time inputting data. “It can be very tedious, but it can be absolutely essential.”

Where you live may make you a target for one party or the other.

“There’s a strategy to the block walks. It’s organized that way to hit the people that they feel are the most important to talk to,” Patrick said.  Her work inside helps Andrew Joseph outside, going door-to-door to get out the vote. This is the first election with Battleground Texas and all the volunteers that come with it.

“We have not really done a door-to-door ‘get out the vote’ effort like this at any time,” said Joseph.

“It saves us more time than I can count,” said Spencer Yeldell from the Republican Party of Texas. He says the technology gap between parties is closing. Especially since this year they use GOP Data Beacon and its mobile app.

“The database does tell us whether we think someone is a strong Republican, strong Democrat, or weak. So we know that going into every house. It says it right there on the phone,” he said.

In the app’s notes section, volunteers can keep track who they’ve visited, if they were home, even what car they drive. It’s all uploaded to the database and used in the hopes of winning elections.

Both parties invest millions of dollars into research and technology, hoping to gain whatever edge they can.

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