The Internet Association, Pew Team Up to Give Voters AND Election Offices Online Lookup Tools

GetToThePolls.jpeg

[Image courtesy of gettothepolls]

With Election Day one week away, the election team at The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Internet Association have teamed up on a suite of new online lookup tools collected under the URL gettothepolls.com. Here’s Pew’s release:

The Internet Association and The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Voting Information Project, in conjunction with the world’s leading technology companies, are launching “Get to the Polls” (www.gettothepolls.com) to help voters find all the information they need before voting Nov. 4.

Get to the Polls, powered by the Google Civic Information application programming interface, or API, will allow voters to find their official polling place, hours of operation, and full ballot summary based on their residential address.

“We joined forces with The Internet Association and technology powerhouses from across the Web to make official election information available where people look for it most–online and on mobile devices,” said Zach Markovits, who manages Pew’s Voting Information Project, a partnership of state election officials, Pew, and Google. “Thanks to our technology partners and election officials from across the country, voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will have this information at their fingertips, freely and easily available.”

The organizations taking part in Get to the Polls include:

“The Internet has transformed the way that people interact with each other, with businesses, and with their elected officials,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association. “Our partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Voting Information Project provides voters with the resources they need to have their voices heard.”

The Voting Information Project is working to connect voters with the election information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day.

The Google Civic Information application programming interface, or API, is an open, free data source created to provide useful civic information, including elections data powering Get to the Polls. To learn more, visit https://developers.google.com/civic-information.

Even better, Pew is making these tools and others available to election offices so that they can provide lookup tools to voters who visit official election information sites. Those tools include (from the Voting Information Project site):

  • Free white-label Android and iOS mobile apps that can be customized, branded, and released by state and local governments or third-party organizations. Download the iOS or Android app. These apps provide ballot and polling place information in multiple languages, as well as text-to-speech functionality. Kansas was the first state to brand and release a version of one of the apps–VoteKansas–as its own. A number of other states also plan to release branded versions of the apps ahead of the election.
  • A short messaging service (SMS) that provides voters with election information via text message. By texting “VOTE” or “VOTO” to 69520, voters can find polling places, contact information for local election officials, and registration URLs. The app is available in multiple languages. For information on the source code, visit VIP’s GitHub repository.
  • A mobile-optimized, white-label voting information tool that supplements the Google voter information tool and offers official polling place and ballot information, as well as other resources. The tool can be easily embedded on any website in multiple languages.
  • This two-track approach – help voters now but increase election offices’ capacity long-term – is a key hallmark of the ongoing Pew/VIP strategy. Kudos to the full VIP team and its partners for this effort … if you’re reading this blog check it out and share with your friends and followers!

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