Voters Gain Better Access to Information as States Embrace Digital Tools

States across the country are using free tools from the Voting Information Project (VIP) to provide voters with timely, accurate election information. VIP’s tools—a Short Message Service (SMS) tool,* the embeddable voting information widget, and white-label iOS and Android apps—are in use in 44 states. These free resources can be customized by including a logo, official seal, preferred colors, and text, and they are designed to help states, cities, and civic-minded organizations make sure voters have the knowledge they need to cast their ballots.

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Michelle Shim
AT&T Helps Voters Get to the Polls

As Election Day approaches, companies across the U.S. are finding innovative ways to share nonpartisan voting information with their audiences by using data and resources from the Voting Information Project (VIP). Now, telecommunications giant AT&T is joining this group by embedding VIP’s Voting Information Tool on its state-specific “community” websites, which offer news targeted to consumers based on where they live.

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Michelle Shim
Voting Information Now Available in More Languages

The Voting Information Project (VIP) has updated its digital tool to provide official voting information in 17 languages: For the 2016 presidential election, the mobile-optimized tool supports Amharic, Chinese, English, Hmong, Hindi, Japanese, Karen, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese. The tool, which provides polling locations and ballot information based on users’ addresses, is free and can be embedded on websites and customized for any city, municipality, or state across a range of technology platforms.

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Michelle Shim
Early Voting, Now a Reality in Most States, Is Underway

Although candidates are still campaigning, some voters have already made their choices in this year’s general election. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow early voting before Nov. 8. By the end of October, voters in a third of the country will have had the opportunity to cast their ballots.

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Michelle Shim
Voting Information Project Tools Make Casting Ballots Easier Nationwide

In August, nearly 100,000 voters accessed Voting Information Project (VIP) resources to look up information for elections in 12 states—Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Over the past year, state and local governments, third-party organizations, and voters in 40 states have used VIP tools to support primaries, runoffs, and local and municipal races across the country.

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Michelle Shim
What's Next for the Voting Information Project?

In 2008, a group of us at The Pew Charitable Trusts and Google came together on what seemed like a far-fetched idea at the time—using the Internet to bring state and local election officials closer to their voters on key questions about the voting process: Where do I vote? What’s on my ballot? What are the rules and deadlines for casting my vote?

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Michelle Shim
2 More States Add Online Voter Registration

Rhode Island and Kentucky are the latest states to launch online voter registration systems, bringing to 32—plus the District of Columbia—the number of states that allow citizens to register to vote and upgrade their registrations entirely online. Online registration is more convenient and efficient for voters, consumes less time and resources of state and local officials, and results in fewer inaccuracies than handwritten paper forms.

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Michelle Shim
Voting Information Project Tool Helps Oregonians Find Ballot Drop-Off Locations

In advance of the May 17 presidential primary, the Oregon secretary of state’s office customized and embedded the Voting Information Project’s (VIP) Voting Information Tool to help voters find ballot drop box locations throughout the state. Elections in Oregon are conducted entirely by mail, but voters have the option to drop off their ballots at secure sites maintained by each county.

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Michelle Shim
Connecticut Upgrades Election Night Reporting to Provide Live Results

Connecticut Secretary of State Denise W. Merrill’s office recently completed development of a real-time election reporting system, which allows local officials to enter the returns for their jurisdictions online and makes those unofficial election results immediately available for public view. The system, developed by PCC Technology Group, a technology company based in Windsor, Connecticut, will be used by every city and town in the state during the November general election.

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Michelle Shim
Voters Get Needed Information for March Elections Thanks to VIP

In March, VIP’s election information was accessed nearly 2 million times. This year, Pew, in collaboration with the Internet Association, relaunched the Get to the Polls website, which provides another way to access VIP information. The site allows voters to enter their addresses and find the locations and hours of their polling places, as well as ballot and candidate information for supported statewide and municipal elections. Get to the Polls had approximately 1.5 million visitors in March.

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Michelle Shim