The Myth of Karl versus 'Home Team'

By Matt Stoller, MyDD

Matt Stoller is a political consultant, blogger. and author, well-known for his activities during the 2004 U.S. Election. Stoller consults for the Sunlight Foundation on open government, for ActBlue, various Democratic campaigns, and for Working Assets, a progressive phone company. He is currently President of BlogPAC, which funds progressive blogs, and is Lead Strategist for Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, endorsed by 60 Democratic candidates and 50,000 citizens. A more detailed profile is available on Wikipedia. Stoller visited the John Hall campaign in 2006 and subsequently wrote about Popvox at MyDD.

Home Team

We can do it better, and in some places, we are doing it better. Take the New York 19th district, where John Hall is running hard against Sue Kelly in New York State. Tate Hausman is the architect of Hall's impressive field campaign called 'Home Team'. They have a thousand plus volunteers from all over the country that use a web-based Popvox call system to phone bank. I've used one of these in Connecticut, and they change the phone-banking experience dramatically. Traditionally, phone-banking consists of dialing a number, asking questions, and filling out paper to record the answers, which then must be rekeyed later with more volunteer work (and errors). The Popvox system works with your phone. You open the browser, and the program asks you for your phone number. About ten seconds later, the system calls you and places you on hold. A name, a script and a phone number appears on the browser, with several buttons that you can press. Once you press the call button on your browser, the system automatically dials the person's number on the screen, and you have the script laid out for you. If you get an answering machine, you can click a button and the system will automatically leave a pre-recorded message. When you're done talking, you classify them according to the script responses, click 'end' and a new script and person's name comes up on the screen.

Pow. Nice. Neat. Easy. It increased my phone banking efficiency by at least 50%, and phone-banking was more fun now that I didn't have to dial numbers and read scripts into answering machines. And it helps the campaign because they don't have to rekey information and can tailor phone-banking with a few administrative clicks instead of having to cut and recut lists. It's great.

The John Hall campaign in the 19th district is using this system, and training volunteers from all over the country. They are making thousands of contacts a night with aggressive and talented volunteers, and putting that data back into the system. Each volunteer can keep track of their progress and their goals, and the campaign can identify and reward the best volunteers. [...]

Each of us, with our individuals actions and behavior, have our own part to play. We can convince America to be better than its worst instincts. As Wesley Clark says, we can do it, because we are doing it. So volunteer for the terrific John Hall in New York's 19th. You can do it from anywhere.

Friday, October 27, 2006
Excerpt of article reprinted. See complete article at


Who is using Popvox?

Here are a few of the non-profit organizations and campaigns who have used Popvox:

  • California Nurses Association
  • Casa of Maryland
  • Citizen Services, Inc.
  • Connecticut Citizens Action Group
  • Connecticut SEIU 1199
  • John Hall for Congress (NY)
  • Ned Lamont for Senate (CT)
  • O'Malley Brown for MD (Governor)
  • Peter Bielenson for Congress (MD)
  • SEIU Maryland/DC
  • Shelley Mayer for State Assembly (NY)
  • US Action campaigns involving many local organizations


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