At least $7 million and probably up to $9 million went down the drain when the Conservative Party of Canada pulled the plug on a multi-million dollar database created to track the party’s supporters and donors. The database, known as C-Vote, was used for about a year, but it drew so many complaints from users that it was scrapped early this week.
Because of a “strong demand from caucus, our ridings and volunteers” the Progressive Conservative party will be reverting to its old system the Constituent Information Management Systems (CIMS), according to a Dave Forrestell, senior adviser to the leader of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
C-Vote was developed largely with money raised through PC supporter contributions. It had advance features such as voter targeting, voter tracking and voter management tools. However, it was not “sufficiently user-friendly” for volunteers and workers used to the CIMS, according to the memo from Forrestell.
The old program will be rolled back to Tory members of parliament and riding associations in the next few months, according to a report broadcast on CBC. The report said that it would take at least 280,000 donations of $25 to cover the cost of the now junked C-Vote
It took five years to develop C-Vote. Volunteers and riding association workers and MPs started training with it during the party’s 2011 convention. But there were complains that it was full of glitches.
Users called back for the return of the CIMS.
The CIMs contained information on anyone who donated to the Conservative Party, took a lawn sign, showed up at a party event or filled out a comment card and mailed it back to their MP.
It assigned a score to each supporter. A high score meant that that supporter could be asked for more expensive donations or asked to donate more frequently. The database also helped identify people who could be asked for repeated small donations.