Evangelicals Try Data Mining to Get More of Their Kind Out to Vote


When Bill Dallas first heard that 15 to 20 million Christians in the U.S. are not registered to vote, he couldn’t believe it.

“Initially, it surprised me. And then I thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not registered,’ Dallas says. “Why wasn’t I registered? Well, because I didn’t think my vote made a difference.”
Identifying Christians With Data Points
Dallas, an evangelical Christian, has since become a voter. He now runs United In Purpose, a nonprofit startup company that uses data mining to identify unregistered Christians.
The company persuaded wealthy Silicon Valley conservatives to help fund the creation of a database of as many adults in the U.S. as they can find. So far, UIP has added 180 million.
The company buys lists to build a profile of each citizen, and then assigns points for certain characteristics. You get points if you’re on an anti-abortion list or a traditional marriage list. You get a point if you regularly attend church or home-school your kids. You get points if you like NASCAR or fishing.
“If [your score] totaled over 600 points, then we realized you were very serious about your faith,” Dallas says. “Then we run that person against the voter registration database. … If they were not registered, that became one of the key people we were going to target to go after.”
Dallas hopes UIP will register 5 million conservative Christians in the next year — a number he believes could help decide the 2012 presidential race. He points out that in 2008, key states such as Florida, North Carolina and Missouri were won by very small margins — much smaller than the number of unregistered Christians in those states.
To that end, United In Purpose is working with volunteers from organizations such as the Family Research Council to make calls and knock on doors.
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