With landlines on decline, voter outreach turns to new technology

Thursday, March 08, 2018 02:15PM
As fewer people have landlines these days, technology is helping campaigns reach people more directly on their cell phones.


ELMHURST, Ill. - As fewer people have landlines these days, technology is helping campaigns reach people more directly on their cell phones.

The presses are running at full speed at Win Marketing in Addison. They work with about a dozen candidates, and with the primary election only a few weeks away, time is of the essence to reach voters.

Pete Dicianni said there is still a place for traditional robocalls and campaign strategies like printed materials, but fewer people have landline phones these days so other technology is taking that place.

"Typically, we're reaching out on cell phone," he said.

In fact text messages can not only draw voters to the polls, they can also recruit them to volunteer. Technology is now helping campaigns each out to potential voters and cater messages to their interests.

"What we're able to see is targeted messages to young people about the issues they care about," said Nick Kachiroubas of DePaul University.

"It has to be entertaining," said political analyst Thom Serafin. "If you get them to hit that like button or share it, then you're onto something pretty good."

Serafin said all the data at the fingertips of campaigns now makes it easier for them to reach younger voters than ever before, but you still have to engage them.

"They key is you still have to get them to vote," he said.

Experts say more than 90 percent of primary voters are over 45 years old and susceptible to traditional campaign marketing. But they are hoping technology will bring more young people to the polls.
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