Furthering VIP’s partnerships with states

I recently sat down with Wendy Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to discuss how technology and elections fit together. The Q&A, which was posted this week, is an online extra to NCSL’s broader article about Elections in the Digital World.

As you’d imagine, much of the article focuses on what technology can do to help states more efficiently conduct elections and serve voters: a topic on the mind of many legislators and staffers in states working to mitigate budget crises. As mentioned many times before, we believe VIP is a great way to help states save money by reducing last minute phone calls from voters who should be able to find answers to simple questions where they look most frequently: online, through social media, search engines, and smartphones.

As a result, most of our applications directly target voters: everything from embeddable gadgets that are placed on campaign and news outlets to the VIP iPhone application that you can launch on your way out the door on Election Day.

Underhill highlights an additional opportunity for VIP that has, as of yet, not been pursued: helping election officials monitor social media or conduct outreach themselves. Here is an excerpt from her conversation with a leader in bringing new technology to the elections sphere:

North Carolina’s Burris hopes to use Twitter to both receive and send information this year. On a trial basis, he plans to post quick response or QR codes, those black and white geometric icons that are showing up in newspapers, on billboards and on product packaging.

This idea isn’t a new one: my current home of Washington, DC uses Twitter to effectively to communicate with voters who are lost or have trouble casting a ballot.

That begs the question as to how VIP can help election officials use social media more effectively, if they so choose. What about an easy, user-friendly dashboard for monitoring various social media with the capability to respond to voters in real time with official information via VIP? Do you have other ideas for how VIP can help election officials?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or shoot us a tweet @VotingInfo.

Michelle Shim