December 31, 2018 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Strikelist is a phone banking + GOTV tool that I built for the 2018 US elections, used by a handful of winning campaigns in Rhode Island this past fall. It's totally free, and it's exclusively for progressive candidates, focusing on local and state-level elections.

For the 2018 midterms, I really wanted to help flip some local and state-level seats in my home state of Rhode Island – a blue state with a surprisingly conservative State House. I spent a lot of time talking to different organizations and representatives in 2017, trying to find ways that better tech infrastructure could help smaller campaigns, and there were two issues that came up over and over again: (1) running phone banks more efficiently, and (2) coordinating efforts on election day itself.

So I built a free tool that helps with those two things! Upload a CSV of voter information, and Strikelist generates phone banking lists, canvassing lists, and strikelists, all easily shared with volunteers and synced in realtime. For example, if one volunteer sees a voter show up at the polls, they can strike off that person and they'll automatically be removed from all corresponding phone banking lists and canvassing lists. Campaign managers get a live overview of responses and turnout, so that they can reallocate volunteers as needed.

A small group of campaigns used Strikelist in Rhode Island in 2018 – state reps, state senators, city councilors. They seemed to find it useful (and 7 of them won, yay!), so now I'm trying to spread the word! 2019 is a sleepy year for elections in Rhode Island, but I know there's a lot going on elsewhere, and maybe Strikelist can help someone else out. Even outside of election season, Strikelist is pretty good if you just need a free phone banking or canvassing tool for progressive activism.


For anyone who's interested, here’s an example of how Strikelist works that you can play around with as a volunteer:

Password: liststrike

...and here's a basic PDF guide for volunteers as well.

If anyone here would like to try it out, just let me know! There's a signup form here, or you can email me at And if you have any feedback or other thoughts, I'd really appreciate those as well -- I'd love to keep improving this for 2020 and beyond. :)
Role: programmer, designer
posted by rofreg (2 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

This is fantastic!

I'm not sure what the current software people normally use for GOTV, but how does it improve on it? Is it mainly that it's a free alternative?

I get how open-sourcing it might make it accessible to non-progressive candidates, but any thoughts on opening it up to collaboration?
posted by loquacious crouton at 10:58 AM on January 2, 2019

From what I’ve seen, people use a really wide variety of tools for GOTV – everything from NGP VAN (a massive suite of campaign software for Democrats) to Excel. Compared to those options, I think the main advantages of Strikelist are:
  • It’s free. Most GOTV software costs significant $$, which is a big barrier to entry if you’re a newcomer and you want to run for office. I wanted to level the playing field as much as I could, especially for local candidates with limited resources.
  • It's simple. Most campaign software tries to do everything under the sun, but that can be really overwhelming, especially to people with less technical experience! For Strikelist, I tried to focus on a few key things: phone banking and election day turnout. You can even use Strikelist alongside your existing campaign software, as a more focused tool for contacting voters.
So in short, I’d say that Strikelist does less, but it does it better. I have a lot of consumer UI/UX experience from my work on Splitwise, and my hope is that Strikelist’s design helps solve many of the small irritations that drive organizers and volunteers crazy. I tried to do a lot of listening in 2017, and then distill all that data into something useful (while keeping it small enough to build by myself 🙂).

I’d definitely be interested in collaborators if Strikelist continues to grow! Though right now, the biggest obstacle is finding more people to use Strikelist in the first place – I wouldn’t want to make any more major changes until there are new people to try it out and give feedback. Ideally, some new people will start using it in 2019, they’ll share their thoughts and suggestions, and then Strikelist can incorporate those suggestions in time for 2020.
posted by rofreg at 2:07 PM on January 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

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