Vote.org is a digital voting initiative brought to you by the Long Distance Voter team.Our digital voting project is designed in response to what we’ve learned from groups that work with the Rising American Electorate (young voters, unmarried women, and people of color): The requirement of printing paper voting forms impedes participation for these demographics, which embrace mobile technology and expect to be able to use it when interacting with the government.
Civic engagement organizations are eager to move away from paper forms and towards digital solutions. Americans are eager to adopt digital voting solutions. Vote.org will build the digital technology that removes barriers to voting and increases voter turnout.
The 2016 Plan
Education: Provide a national, nonpartisan, online center of easy-to-use voter information tools. We expect at least 3 million visitors to the Vote.org domain.
Infrastructure: Reach millions of voters nationwide by providing get-out-the-vote technology to constituent-specific nonprofits. Our Partner Portal won “Best New Feature” at the Netroots Nation New Tools Shootout in 2015, and over two dozen organizations have already signed up, including Rock the Vote, HeadCount, Voto Latino, League of Conservation Voters, and Communication Workers of America. We will add dozens of additional partners in 2016.
Innovation: Apply established technologies in innovative ways to radically increase voter turnout, starting with our “e-sign” project. We won a 2015 Knight News Challenge grant to build e-sign technology that allows citizens to complete, sign, and mail their vote-by-mail applications directly from their smartphones. We will build a similar tool for voter registration.
Vote.org's Value Proposition
- Reduced Costs: The civic engagement landscape is littered with “abandon-ware” (technology that was built for a specific election and then abandoned). Instead of several groups building and mediocre technology, Vote.org will build, maintain, and optimize technology for the entire civic engagement community. We will also provide equal opportunity to use LDV’s civic engagement technology to all campaigns, reaching millions more voters with a low-cost, tiered-pricing system for local, state, and federal campaigns.
- Properly Processed Ballots:The majority of handwritten vote-by-mail and voter registration forms come in right before the application deadline and are often illegible. The Harvard University Department of Government released a report in 2010 showing that as many as 1 in 25 voter records contains a faulty mailing address due to illegible handwriting and data entry mistakes. LDV’s digital sign-up technology will alleviate the administrative burden on local election officials by providing them with cleanly typed and legible forms, thereby reducing the number and nature of data entry mistakes and incorrectly processed or rejected forms.
- Wide Impact:Vote.org will be a national, nonpartisan, online voting center, offering tools that citizens need to register and cast their ballots. We’ll launch with simple tools that help citizens prepare their applications and will expand into other languages and more advanced tools: such as multilingual software and proactive SMS election reminders. The Vote.org will be highly optimized for search engines, allowing us to reach hundreds of thousands of users without actively marketing our products. We anticipate at least 3 million Vote.org visitors in 2016 alone. This increased reach will magnify the impact of our mobile technology.
We need your help to do this work.
Since 2008, our team made a measurable impact on civic engagement as an organization run almost entirely by volunteers, funded by small donations and reliant on outdated technology. But now these limitations prevent us from keeping up with the increased demand from citizens who want help voting—and from the nonprofit groups that want us to help them reach potential voters. By supporting permanent, full-time staff and acquiring technology that can increase our capacity, LDV will be able to embark on our most ambitious endeavor yet: a digital voting hub for citizens in every state. We are working to raise 1.2 million dollars in 2016 to support our work. Every dollar you contribute will go directly to increasing voter turnout.
About Long Distance Voter
Long Distance Voter (LDV) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping Americans vote. Founded in 2008, LDV has quickly become a trusted source for accurate information and innovative tools that make voting easier for everyone.
We have served more than 4.7 million people since we were founded in 2008, engaging 1.6% of all voters who turned out for the 2012 election. We partnered with Google on their 2014 “How to Vote” project to provide voting information for more than 30 million searches. In 2015 we designed a tool that allows citizens to complete, sign, and mail their vote-by-mail applications directly from their smartphones, earning us a Knight News Challenge award.