by Dave Leichtman, VP, Services and Support
Back in November, I told you about our plans regarding how new legislative district data will be incorporated in Salsa. Throughout the course of 2012, most states will be engaging in "redistricting," whereby every 10 years they redraw their congressional and state legislative boundaries to account for the recent census. This will have the effect of "shuffling around" the representation for a lot of your supporters. The way it works in most states is that supporters will vote according to their new districts in November, but won't be represented by their new boundaries and legislators until January 2013. The exceptions are Virginia, Louisiana, and New Jersey which adjusted their state legislatures in January 2012, and Washington where new districts will take effect immediately after the election November 2012. This will have major ramifications for targeted legislative actions as well as GOTV efforts aimed at your supporters.
We haven't updated clients in a while as to this process - so now I'm back, with a new update and further plans!
We've recently inked a deal with a data vendor that will allow you to augment your supporter data with newly-drawn state and federal legislative districts. Some time around June 1, we'll be rolling this ability out to all clients. For the price of an integration subscription to said data service, you will be able to append supporters' new legislative districts to their records, along with a wealth of other data.
This won't change anything about the current append functionality in Salsa. We will still provide all of the current legislative district data to append to supporter records and to look up a supporter's district for advocacy purposes. The only difference is that for a premium, you will be able to augment supporter data with their not-yet-in-effect district data for the purposes of GOTV and electioneering targeting.
As stated previously, because the main function of our Advocacy package is to target current legislators, we won't be rolling the new district data into our main lookup tool until such time as the districts become official - January 2013 for most states, but November 2012 for some, and later for those who don't manage to pass redistricting legislation on time. At that time, we will also eliminate "old districts" from supporter data and return to the normal data append process, at no additional cost (at least for the next 10 years!).
Hopefully, this is welcome news to those of you who have asked Salsa Support about redistricting data. Come June 1, we should have as much as 80% of state and federal districts available to clients with more being introduced regularly. We want to help you and your mission with this temporary data bridge, even if it's only useful for six months - because quite a lot is happening in those six months!
If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to call or email Salsa Support. We're here to help!