Hi all, 

With less than five weeks to go until election day, we wanted to change up our email format for this week. Below, you’ll find a variety of information that will be helpful in the last few weeks, and topics where we’ve been fielding a lot of questions recently. As always, feel free to email us at voterfile@dfl.org if you have further questions or concerns. 


  • Minnesota DFL VANual

  • New VBM Targets

  • Absentee Voting Records in VAN

  • New Vote Plan 2020 Survey Question

  • General Election Joint Scripts

  • ActionNetwork - update

  • Export Requests - How To

  • Final VAN and ActionNetwork Trainings

Minnesota DFL VANual

We are happy to announce the rollout of the new Minnesota DFL VANual! This article in our Knowledge Base is a comprehensive guide to VAN for new campaign staff and activists. It can also be used by current staff who are unsure about certain VAN functions. The table of contents links to our Knowledge Base articles on a variety of topics including Create a List, Editing Voter Records, Event Manager, and more. 

New VBM Targets

As you likely already know, many cities and towns outside the Twin Cities Metro Area conduct their elections entirely by mail. Due to COVID-19, more areas are doing this than in past election cycles. 

To find the people in your district who live in precincts that have opted to vote entirely by mail, we have a new target called Mail Ballot Precincts. You can find this under Targets in Create a List. The target will filter specifically those who live in VBM precincts so you can easily target them with relevant information as to how they will be voting. 

Absentee Voting Records in VAN

Now that early voting has started, we have started excluding voters who have already voted absentee from your lists by default. To change this, you can uncheck the box under Absentee Voting labeled “Exclude People Who Have Absentee Voted”

Each morning, Absentee Voting data from the previous day is loaded into VAN. This is completed by 8am. You may notice smaller uploads on Sundays and Mondays. This is because elections offices work shorter hours on the weekends, so there is a backlog that they get through early in the week. We will always get all the data we have to you when we have it. 

New Vote Plan 2020 Survey Question

As noted in last weekend’s email, we have changed the Vote Plan 2020 Questions for most committees. This means that, no matter which campaign records that data, it will be able to be viewed and searched by all committees in the same district. 

The responses are as follows:

  • VBM - App Requested: The voter has indicated they want to Vote By Mail, but have not requested the necessary paperwork to get an absentee ballot. 

  • VBM - App Collected: The voter has indicated that they have submitted the paperwork to receive an absentee ballot.

  • Polls On E-Day: The voter will be going to the polls on November 3rd.

  • Early In-Person: The voter will be voting early at their early voting location.

  • Not Voting

  • Already Voted: While we are loading in early voting data, there is a lag in getting that back from the Secretary of State’s Office. 

To deal with the lag in reporting early voting, we suggest that in your lists you use the Already Voted Response to remove anyone with that response in the last 4 days. That should cover the gap between when they voted and when that is reported in VAN. 

General Election Joint Scripts

A little more than a month ago, our team created general election scripts in each house district. This includes Survey IDs for:

  • Biden

  • Tina Smith

  • Your Congressional Candidate

  • Your State Senate Candidate

  • Your State House Candidate

Each State House and Senate Candidate should have these scripts in their committee. This should be useful for candidates looking to help other candidates also running in their district’s area. 

As always, if you need additional scripts, please email us and we can set them up. 

ActionNetwork - Update

Now that we’ve been using ActionNetwork for about a month and have a feel for how it’s working, we wanted to give you a few updates and clarify how the system works. 

First, many campaigns are wondering where this set of emails came from. The emails in ActionNetwork come from the database BigQuery, which is where most all data for Democratic campaigns is stored. VAN operates out of this system, but not all emails available in BigQuery are available in VAN. That is one reason why we chose to move over to ActionNetwork in the first place: to provide campaigns with an expanded universe of emails beyond what VAN offers. 

That said, it is important to note that VAN and ActionNetwork are separate tools. There is not a way to pull a list in VAN and then move that over directly. 

To make up for this, we can create tags based on information from My Campaign such as Activist Codes and Volunteer Activities. We ask that you fill out this form to provide us with the necessary information on what you need moved over. We review requests on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tags process overnight and you can expect to see them available for use the next day.

Second, we have oaded is the 2020 primary voters as atag titled “Vote History: Primary 2020 - Voted.” To filter out people who’ve already voted, simply use that tag on the right hand (Exclude) side of your targeting. We will keep this updated a few times each week. We are also in the process of loading in past vote history. Those tags will become available as we get them loaded into the system over the next week or so.

Lastly, if you took a training more than a week ago, we have begun training on Action Network's Drag & Drop feature. This feature allows users more features and flexibility than the general text editor. More information can be found here

Export Requests - How To

As campaigns ramp up mailers and voter contact, we’ve been getting an increased volume of export requests. We wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page regarding requests. 

First, instructions on how to request an export can be found here.

Second, please make sure that you are very specific regarding what you need from your exports and what you will be using them for. In your request, include all fields you would like in your export and indicate whether or not you need the list householded for mailers. 

Our policy going forward is that, unless we have follow up questions for you, we will approve all exports by 8pm the day they are requested. If you do not see your request approved by 8pm, make sure to check your “My Requests” tab to see if we need more information. The best way to make sure you get your export quickly is to be specific about what you need and how you plan to use the export.

As a reminder, we do not export emails under any circumstances, and we do not export phone numbers for text platforms that are not approved by our team. We are happy to offer an additional texting tool called Scale to Win, you can learn more about the tool here. The DNC and NGP VAN approved Scale to Win just this week. If you would like to use Scale to Win, please request an API key to get started in VAN. 

Finally, for exports with larger numbers of records, we may have to provide your file via email. Users are permissioned to have a limited number of records per export. Of course, this cycle we have seen exports be more important than ever. We are continually aware of larger export needs and remain vigilant to best support large exports.

Final VAN/ActionNetwork Trainings

Lastly, we wanted to give you an update regarding VAN and ActionNetwork trainings for the rest of the cycle. 

Given some issues with the DFL Training Hub, training sign ups will now be tracked in a Google Form. The VAN Training can be found here, and ActionNetwork can be found here. You will receive a zoom invitation the Monday before your desired training date.

The schedule for the rest of the cycle is as follows:


October 6, 13, 20                            6:30-8:30 PM Central Time


October 8, 22                                 4:30-5:30 PM Central Time

You can also read all our training materials on our Knowledge Base

Have a great week, and please reach out if you have any questions!