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DNC gears up for 2020 with voter data overhaul

The DNC is already preparing for the next presidential election. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is changing the way it processes voter file data to make the Democratic Party more competitive in 2020, Raffi Krikorian, the group's chief technology officer, told Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are trying to fix what went wrong for them in 2016 by overhauling their entire tech operation, from data management to email strategies.

  • National Democrats admit the Republican Party was more effective in targeting voters and having smart conversations with them during the last presidential election. "There's a pretty amazing energy in the progressive tech industry right now," Krikorian said. "We want to make sure we have the best people aligned around the Democratic Party."

The gritty details: The DNC processes voter files from each Board of Elections or Secretary of State and currently uses a single vendor, TargetSmart, to get additional information about each voter, like a change of address or their consumer history.

  • Krikorian told Axios that having three vendors — one each for data hygiene, consumer data, and social data — would make the DNC more competitive in 2020.
  • "We have two years to perfect this new system," said Krikorian, adding that "we don't want to disrupt" the 2018 election.
  • Election security is at the top of the DNC's agenda in November. Kriokrian noted that, if one of its vendors were compromised, it would only be a part of the DNC's system, rather than the entire service handling voter data.

The bottom line: The Democratic Party is often criticized for not having a unified message, but the DNC is working years in advance to figure out the best way to have a conversation with voters — something they didn't perfect in 2016.