It's the VAN, But Mini
BY Nancy Scola | Monday, February 22 2010
One step closer to the dream of canvassers everywhere to have a two-way, digital, portable voter file in their pocket is MiniVAN Touch, the just-released iPhone app version of the Voter Activation Network data program used to power a great deal of Democratic campaigns and the field organizing efforts of a wide range of progressive groups. The target audience: existing VAN clients, as it requires users to already have a way to log into the VAN.
"We definitely feel this has a broader audience than the Palm app it replaced," VAN new media director Mike Sager tells me, "because it is so easy to use and troubleshoot. We think lots of candidates themselves will carry the app when they go door to door."
Are we nearing the promise land of the paperless campaign? Perhaps not quite yet, but Sager says that the iPhone version of VAN can at least cut down on the vast amounts of time and effort that can get wasted during the course of a campaign's pounding of the pavement or working of a crowd. "The app is dramatically more efficient than walking with paper lists," says Sager, "as it eliminates all the follow up data entry -- press one button, and your contacts are recorded in VAN."