The idea is to get as many people as possible to the polls. Volunteers who sign up get access to a list of likely voters close to them; each volunteer chooses 25 names, and agrees to contact each person three times between now and November 4.
"We want to combine technology and grassroots organizing, so technology strengthens the grassroots," says NCDP chair Jerry Meek.
"This is part of our ground campaign," says NCDP communications director Kerra Bolton. "It will let us reach out to tens of thousands of voters across the state." Part of its value, she says, is to show that the party's message "comes not from ads, but from people."
Along the same lines, the NCDP is one of two state parties that I know of (CA is the other) with a text-messaging strategy.
Meek says technology will be "very important" to this election. Among the many variables that can influence a race, "it's one of the things we can control."
New ways of reaching voters are critical as older techniques may no longer work. For example, 1/3 of voters don't have landlines, he says, with even higher percentages among key Democratic constituencies such as young people, Hispanics, and African-Americans.
At a time when many people use digital video recorders to skip commercials and listen to iPods or satellite radio, alternative messaging is an imperative, says Meek. Even direct mail seems less effective as more people pay bills and communicate online. "Targeting people through their neighbors is a way of getting around these new obstacles," he says.
Voter turnout efforts are especially important to down-ballot candidates, such as those running for the Council of State, he said. "If you've got $300,000 to spend on a statewide race, you really depend on get-out-the-vote efforts."
Speaking on a rainy day in Raleigh and Greensboro, Meek said that bad weather was no longer the inhibitor to voting that it once was, as early voting could account for 40% of votes cast in this cycle.