Table of Contents

Before you import

First, you must enable voter features in your nation at Settings > Defaults > Basics. A voter file includes a list of people eligible to vote. Vote history is imported separately, after voters are added. Using a voter file import, it is possible to include many political fields not available in a one-time import, including voting districts. Once you've enabled voter features, start a voter file import from People > More > Imports > Voter file.

Detailed instructions are available on preparing for an import. Important highlights:

  1. If you already have data in your nation, take a snapshot before starting an import. The snapshot must finish before you begin the import.
  2. If you are certain that the appropriate political districts exist in your voter file, turn auto-districting off before you begin importing.
  3. Make sure your file includes unique identifiers.
  4. Understand how importing affects existing data.
  5. Mapping fields ensures data isn't lost or placed incorrectly. 
  6. Some fields only accept data in a particular format - pay attention to any restrictions indicated.

Auto-districting

Auto-districting is the process of locating a profile's voting districts automatically. When auto-districting is turned on, voting districts will be automatically placed in a profile based on primary address. These districts will be updated when the primary address changes and when new district maps become available to NationBuilder.

📌Note: If you are certain that the appropriate political districts exist in your voter file, turn auto-districting off before you begin importing a voter file.

Unique IDs

Every import must include unique identifiers. Please note that for state file ID to be considered a unique ID, it must be imported with registered state. Similarly, for county file ID to be considered a unique ID, it must be imported with registered county and registered state. Additional information is available on unique IDs and importing addresses.

U.S. voters

NationBuilder offers free access to the national voter file to U.S. organizations for political purposes. When making your request, check the "I would like to have the file imported into my nation" box to have the voters added directly to your nation.  

UK localization

Voting districts will display using local standards for nations based in the UK. A nation's location is determined by the address listed under your profile icon > Contacts and billing. While local district names will appear in the control panel, one database structure exists for all nations. Therefore, you must use the NationBuilder field name when importing voting districts.

If you are importing voting districts and are confident in the accuracy of your data, remember to turn off auto-districting before you begin the import. 

Canadian localization

Voting districts will display using local standards for nations based in Canada. A nation's location is determined by the address listed under your profile icon > Contacts and billing. While local district names will appear in the control panel, one database structure exists for all nations. Therefore, you must use the NationBuilder field name when importing voting districts. 

If you are importing voting districts and are confident in the accuracy of your data, remember to turn off auto-districting before you begin the import. 

Fields available in voter file import

Fields that can be imported are categorized. You can search for field names when mapping your fields, but not for the category names. Some fields exist within multiple categories, so take care to map the correct field to your data. If a field can only be imported using a particular importer, that is noted.

Most frequently used

This category includes the fields most frequently used when importing voter files. Other types of imports will list different fields in this category.

Signup

Within the code, a person or organization in your nation is referred to as a "signup." People in your database do not have to sign up on your website to be considered a signup. It is simply a way to distinguish a person from a webpage or another aspect of your nation. Most other field categories are actually sub-groupings of signup fields. The distinction between people and organizations is made using the signup type field. 

Address

The fields in this category will create a home address for the profile. Do not use these fields for an organization. An organization's address should be mapped to work address.

One of these fields must be included in the import for the address to be created: address1, city, or country code.

Mailing address

If you use the address1, address2, and address3 fields, the information will be parsed into the street name, street number, street prefix, street suffix, street type, and unit number fields. Therefore, either map address1, address2, and address3 fields or map street name, street number, street prefix, street suffix, street type, and unit number. Similarly, either map to the zip field for a mailing address postal code or map to zip4 and zip5. 

One of these fields must be included in the import for the mailing address to be created: address1, street name, city, zip5, or country code.

Media Market

Precinct

A precinct is the smallest unit of organization for a campaign. Each precinct is a defined as the unique combination of precinct_code and precinct_name. Precincts are never included in auto-districting.

Recruiter

The person who introduced your nation. A profile for the recruiter must already exist in your nation. All fields within this category refer to the recruiter. To ensure the correct person is credited with recruiting the person, try to use the recruiter's email address or NationBuilder ID. 

Registered address

The address where the person is registered to vote. You have the same options for this address as you do for mailing address - either map address1, address2, and address3 or map street name, street number, street prefix, street suffix, street type, and unit number. Similarly, either map to the zip field for a mailing address postal code or map to zip4 and zip5. 

One of these fields must be included in the import for the registered address to be created: address1, street name, city, zip5, or country code.

If you only map registered state or registered state and registered county fields, the registered address will not be updated. Those fields will be used with state file ID or county file ID to define a unique identifier in the import / match in your people database.

Signup profile

Voter

Work address

When importing organizations, always map physical location to these fields. 

One of these fields must be included in the import for the work address to be created: address1, street name, city, zip5, or country code.

Related HOWTOs

Prepare for an import
Take a snapshot before importing
Unique identifiers
How importing affects existing data
How to map fields
Primary address and importing addresses
How to migrate data from NGP VAN to NationBuilder

Did this answer your question?