Long Distance Voter is now Vote.org
Last updated on April 28, 2018
But don’t worry: you can still get your absentee ballot.
Why the change?
- A small team of volunteers launched Long Distance Voter in 2008 with the goal of making it as easy as possible for anyone to vote by absentee ballot. We had $5000 in funding and no full time staff. We had our first 500,000 visitors within six months and decided to keep going.
- By 2010 we started to move beyond just absentee ballots. We added a voter registration tool, an early voting calendar, and a page to help people check their registration status. We were still an unfunded, volunteer-only group, but our reach was expanding.
- By 2012, we were one of the top hits in Google search for almost any query related to absentee ballots. At the same time, we were the top hit in Google for things like “early voting” and “voter ID.”
- In 2012, we decided to see if we could use the Long Distance Voter website to register voters. We could. We spent less than $3000 in 2012 on voter registration work, and still managed to register 105,000 voters. This was in addition to the 350,000+ voters we helped to get their absentee ballots.
- 129 million Americans voted in the 2012 election. 2 million of them visited Long Distance Voter first. Moreover, despite being unfunded, volunteer run, and “the absentee ballot group,” we were one of the most effective voter registration groups in America.
- By 2014 we knew that we were more than just the “absentee ballot experts,” but we weren’t looking to change our name or our brand. We did, however, start to raise some money that would allow us to build web technology that would increase voter turnout. We built our Absentee Ballot Tool and our Check Voter Status tool in 2014.
- In June 2014, Google asked us to to be the official data provider for their “How to Vote” project, which covered all aspects of voting from voter registration, to early voting, to absentee ballots. We agreed. This project was viewed by over 30 million Americans. This was also one of the first times that any openly acknowledged that we were experts on all aspects of voting, not just absentee ballots.
- Long Distance Voter had an excellent 2014: our Absentee Ballot and Check Status Tools were used tens of thousands of times. We had hundreds of thousands of visitors. And we registered 10s of thousands of voters.
- 2014, however, was a terrible year for Democracy: only 36% of Americans voted in the 2014 mid-term election, the lowest voter turnout in 72 years.
- Early in 2015, the Long Distance Voter team had a long discussion about what we could do as individuals to increase voter turnout. We were already recognized for our work as absentee ballot experts. We were building a reputation for being able to use online technologies to increase voter turnout. And we were still a volunteer run group.
- In 2015, we were selected as one of 20 winners (out of 1000+ applicants) for the Knight News Challenge on elections. This came with a generous amount of funding with which to explore the ways in which electronic signatures (think DocuSign) could be used to facilitate applying for your absentee ballot. This was a big moment for us: we finally had the money we needed to buy staff.
- We spent most of 2015 trying to think of a new name. We picked up a bunch of really fun domain names (mobilevoter.org is still the internal favorite).
- We honestly never thought we would be able to buy Vote.org. The man who owned it had purchased it in 1994. He’d turned down very generous offers from both major political parties over the years. And he’d surely want far more than we could ever pay for the domain name.
- On December 31, 2015, Long Distance Voter purchased Vote.org.
- On March 22, 2016, we legally changed our name from Long Distance Voter to Vote.org.
- On April 1, 2016 (no joke) we soft launched Vote.org
- On May 4, 2016, we publicly launched Vote.org.
- And on May 23, 2016, we said goodbye to Long Distance Voter and redirected all traffic to Vote.org
Everything that existed at Long Distance Voter is now at Vote.org
- We’ve migrated all of the content from Long Distance Voter to Vote.org. Nothing has gone missing.
- Not only that, but the tools we built for Long Distance Voter in 2014 have been upgraded for the 2016 election.
The Vote.org website is better than the Long Distance Voter website
- It’s faster, it’s optimized for mobile devices, and we think it’s prettier.
- It’s also more comprehensive than the Long Distance Voter website.
- Long Distance Voter had everything you needed to get your absentee ballot. VOTE.org has everything you need to vote.
We hope you like the new Vote.org website.
Questions, comments, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us anytime at help @ vote.org.