VoteBuilder is not a commercially available, mass marketed software
program. If it were the instructions would probably be of
much higher quality. But since it isn't we have to make do
with what we have.
The documents that I have - and that I can get to you are:
In all cases I will assume that you have signed in using your username
and password. You should be looking at the Main Menu screen.
This will appear in small letters at the upper left just below
the very dark blue VoteBuilder title box. Three columns should
appear, the left will be headed by "Welcome George" or whatever your
name is. The center will be headed by "Quick Look Up" and the
right with "Load Data". For the following questions you will only use
Quick Look Up or Create A New List followed by Go to My List from the
- Vote File User Manual - prepared by the Democratic Party of
Oregon - 32 pages. This is a fairly professional looking
document that covers many of the uses of the program. My only
criticism is that it seems to be aimed at Portland and the surrounding
suburbs. A noble goal but not really the questions that we
have here in North-Eastern Washington.
- VoteBuilder and the State Challenge - prepared by Jack
Miller - 19 pages. Jack, who ran for Congress in 2006 against
Kathy McMorris and was unfortunately not one of the Democrats elected,
put this together. It is designed to meet the State Challenge
put together by our State Chair, Dwight Pelz in 2007. It
covers the Eastern Washington counties in the 7th
Legislative District. It is not quite as professional looking
and it only covers one specific task, but it does it very well.
It should be possible to generalize from this start.
- I am in the process of putting together a series
of short instructions that will discuss specific tasks. I am not
going to insert all of the elegant screen shots so you will have to do
a little more guessing. I hope that it will remain relatively
clear. As with most computer software, there are almost always
several ways of accomplishing the same thing. I will try to
demonstrate several different methods, but only one at a time.
A. How do I find the information on a specific person (voter)?
Either click on the graphic or the words "Quick Look Up".
This will bring up the "Quick Look Up" page with two rows of
items with spaces for search criteria below the item. Since we
are in Ferry County (and don't want statewide data) always enter a
county. Either scroll down the county list or click in the box
and type an "f". When the word "Ferry" appears, push the
"Enter" or "Return" key. Or you could click on the word "Ferry".
If you were to click on "Search" or hit "return" it would complain,
"Too many results; please be more specific." Say you were trying
to look up my data. Most likely you know my last name but not too
much else, so just type in "bremner" under "Last Name" and Search.
You should come up with eleven registered voters with a last name of
"Bremner". If you want more information on any one of these, just
click on their name. Try it with my name, "Bremner, Bryan A"
This will bring up all of the data that the Democratic Party has on me;
name, address, phone, email, activist codes, etc. The
category names have little boxes with either a + or - in front of them.
Click on a + to get more information or click on a - to hide the
information. If you find yourself always using certain categories
of information - make sure they are visible and click on the "Save Page
Layout" at the bottom of the right column.
B. How do I find the voters in my precinct?
Click on the "Create A New List" text or graphic. The
window that will appear will have two columns of data categories.
Click on the "Location" category at the top of the left column -
the wide one. This will bring up a sub-window with types of
location data. The second item is "County", when you click on the
box it will bring up "Ferry", the only option. Make sure "Ferry"
is highlighted and wait a moment while the screen is updated.
This will bring up another category, "Precinct". Click in
this box any you will get an alphabetical list of precincts, select the
precinct which you are responsible for.
When you click on the "Search" box (upper right) a new screen will pop
up with the name, address, likely party, age, and phone number of all
of the registers voters in your precinct. There will probably be
several pages of voters. In my precinct (North Lake) there are
154 voters spread over 4 pages. To skip to a new page there is a
hi-lighted line at the bottom with the numbers of the individual pages
C. How do I find the names of the Democrats in my precinct? This
is very simple, use the same procedure as the above question but add
one more step. From the Main Menu select the "Create A New List",
then open up the "Location" category, select "Ferry" county and your
desired precinct. Then go over to the right side of the page and
click on "Likely Party". This will bring up nine options.
As a guess you will probably want to select "Strong Democrat",
"Likely Democrat" and "Ind-Dem". Since Washington does
not register voters by party affiliation the state party has to make a
guess. It bases this on party participation, donation to
political campaigns, and who knows what else - I don't. You may
or may not want to include Ind-Dem and Independent categories.
When I clicked on the "Search" option I was returned a list of 39
voters. You need to realize that this is probably not all of the
people who may vote for a Democratic candidate. The data on
strength of commitment to the Democratic Party is not perfect, there
are errors. There are also people with no data. They may be
strongly committed to a particular party but have never been recorded
as specifically supporting a party.
D. How can I find the names of the attendees of our County Precinct Caucuses?
This is data that is not maintained by the State. As such
the data is not as accurate as it could be. In the case of Ferry
County I entered the data. Some of the people who attended the
caucuses were not registered voters, perhaps some were too young, some
recently moved and had not changed their registration. In any
case they were not on the data base so I couldn't enter any data for
Again from the Main Menu select the "Create A New List",
then open up the "Location" category, select "Ferry" county.
Assuming you want all of the attendees, do not select a precinct.
Now go down to "Activist Codes" and select "Precinct Program:
Caucus 08 Voter (Public)". When I did this I got back 83 voters
spread over 3 pages.
I know that there were more delegates than this. I have not gone
back over the caucus data to update it. As PCO's you can do this.
If you know that someone attended the caucuses but there name is
not on the list, you may update the list. The easiest way is to
do a "Quick Look Up" and update their record.
E. Who were the elected delegates from the Precinct Caucuses? This is very similar to the above. Under "Activist Codes" select "Precinct Program: Caucus 08 Delegate (Public)". When I ran this search I got 31 voters.
F. Who are the PCO's (Precinct Committee Officers)? Again, very similar. Under "Activist Codes" select "Party
Officials: Appointed PCO (Public)". When I ran this search I got
14 voters. However this is only the Appointed PCO's, we still
need the elected PCO's. To get these also you have to go back to
the Main Menu window and click on the "Go to My List" option (it has a
sub-title of "View my current list of 14 voters"). When the "My
List" page comes up, near the top on the left there is a small box with
a large + sign and the words "Add Voters", click
on this text. This will bring up the "Add Voters To My List"
page. Again select "Ferry" county and open the "Activist Codes" section. Select as an Activist Code, "Party Officials: WA Official DEM PCO's (Public)".
When you click on the "Search" button the new My List window will
appear with the additional four PCO's that were elected in the 2006
election. The total list of PCO's is now 18.
G. How can I identify specific individuals who share a common feature?
The Jane Cody Womans Democratic Club has as one of its goals the
support of Democratic candidates. The members would appreciate
knowing of Democratic activities and events. I have made a note
of their membership in the data base. I did this by creating a
"Note" for each of their members with the text "Jane Cody". To
obtain a list of all of the members of this group again create a new
list, select "Ferry" county but here select the data category "Notes".
When the sub-window appears enter the text "Jane Cody".
When the "Search" button is clicked a list of 31 voters who are
members of Jane Cody appears.
H. How can I create a list of all those who share a common feature? The steps that I took to enter the members of the Jane Cody Club were as follows:
From the Main Menu go to the Quick Look Up page. Enter a last
name and the name of the County - Ferry. If you were looking at a
large county or a very common last name you might have to use a first
name, a street address, a city, or a Zip code to narrow the search
down. Taking myself as an example when I enter "Bremner" and
"Ferry" I am returned a list of 11 voters. I then click on my
name, Bryan A - I get my full data record.
I select the data category of "Notes" and when the sub-window opens I
type in the text "Jane Cody". The data is automatically saved
when I close the record (mine) and go on to the next record.
Z. Closing Once you
have sat down at your computer and tried some of these, it should
become somewhat clear. If you still have questions please get
back to me and perhaps we can write-up a better procedure which is more
If you have a specific task that may be applicable to others and you
thing you have a good explanation, please write it down and we can add
it to this document.