FIRST EVER TEXT-TO-REGISTER VOTING CHAT BOT DEBUTS IN TIME FOR NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAYPosted 17:30 EDT on September 23, 2016
Jon Reinish, 202-999-0461 JReinish@skdknick.com
HelloVote Revolutionizes Voter Registration, Brings Millions of Tough-to-Reach Millennials, Minority Voters into the Political Process
New York, New York (September 21, 2016) – HelloVote, a first-of-its-kind voter registration chat bot that allows voters to register using SMS text or Facebook Messenger, debuts in the heat of the 2016 Presidential election - just in time for National Voter Registration Day and state-level registration deadlines. HelloVote has the potential to transform voter participation by bringing registration firmly into the digital era.
Census data reveals that as a whole 33% of eligible voters are not registered - and that two of this election cycle’s most valued groups, Latino voters and voters 18-24, are vastly under-registered by about 40%. Nearly 30% of self described liberals are not registered. Only about 50% of voters without a college degree are registered; and the less money you earn the more likely you are rely on your phone for internet access. HelloVote takes the registration process right to the voter – instead of the other way around, and may make millennials, immigrants and communities of color the decisive game changers in this closely contested election up and down the ballot by leveraging up to date technology and social media.
Voters can go to hello.vote, text 384-387 on their mobile device, or (go to m.me/hellovote in Facebook messenger) to prompt the registration process. Text messaging is quickly becoming the country’s preferred way of communicating, with a 98% open rate and an average 90 second response time.
Using HelloVote, the entire registration process takes under one minute – a key factor when nearly 20% of respondents tell Pew that registration takes too much time. The effort is being magnified through a diverse range of national and regional partners including MTV, SEIU CA, Genius, Twilio, HeadCount, General Assembly, Auttomatic (makers of WordPress), Mijente, the Shade Room, Latino Victory Project, TurboVote, Care2, West Elm, the Asian American Resource Center, Korean Resource Center, Presente.org, Daily Kos, the Bus Federation, 18 Million Rising, and New American Leaders Project as well as celebrity supporters. New partnerships will be announced on a rolling basis over the next several weeks.
“A full ninety-six percent of Americans have a mobile phone and now they can use it to register to vote – bringing voter registration to any smartphone or flip phone holder and transforming an archaic process,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, an expert in voter technology who is one of the five co-founders of HelloVote. “This election is probably the most-discussed in our lifetime, and HelloVote aims to turn talkers into voters. The reality is that today we work, play and shop on our phones. HelloVote is a revolution in democracy making and bringing voter registration out of the dark ages and into the current cycle, hopefully making the difference for people who may never have registered but can now by text.”
HelloVote’s technology works in compliance with voter registration regulation in all 50 states. Americans will be able to text-to-register up until their state’s registration deadlines.
“Democracy depends on participation, and technology has the power to significantly reduce barriers that have traditionally stopped people from voting,” said Twilio Vice President of Product Management, Patrick Malatack. “HelloVote is a great example of how communications can make any user experience more efficient. By making it easier for people to sign up from anywhere, on any mobile phone with no Internet required - HelloVote has streamlined the voter registration process. We are excited to see more people getting out and voting in 2016 as a result of this valuable service.”
“Whether it’s social media, video, podcasts, or simply news articles we’re bookmarking on our phones, information about this election has been omnipresent, both easy to access and interact with,” said Nat Guevara, head of communications for Genius. “Voter registration should be just as ubiquitous, convenient, and available to as many communities as possible. We’re partnering with HelloVote to make the registration process less daunting so that our audience can prioritize what’s actually important: informing themselves on the issues they care about and making it out to the polls.”
“We’re very excited to partner with Hello Vote on this cutting edge platform which uses text messaging and Facebook to register Latinos to vote,” said Cesar J. Blanco, Interim Director for Latino Victory Project. “The stakes are too high to sit this election out. Now more than ever, it’s paramount that organizations leverage new and exciting technology to find potential voters where they’re at, and get them to vote. This program represents the future of voter registration, and Latino Victory Project is ready to mobilize our communities around our issues and priorities.”
“General Assembly is a global community of learners 350,000 strong, and our students and alumni take part in our programs both on campus and online, said Liz Simon, Vice President of Legal and External Affairs at General Assembly. “Having the option to get registered via text – and get their friends registered – is the best way to engage our community here in the States. We’re excited that members of the GA network, no matter where they are or what their party affiliation, have this user-friendly way to get involved in the political process.“
"This is the kind of technology that truly can change the game. HelloVote makes voter registration as easy as sending a few texts, literally,” said Andy Bernstein, executive director, HeadCount. “HeadCount will be rolling HelloVote on National Voter Registration Day and organizing 200+ musicians to post on social media about it.”
“For the past several cycles, experts have been stumped on how to register Latino voters who remain under-activated and participate at lower levels than other demographic groups,” said Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Placing technology right in the hands of the voter is one solution we believe in and that’s why we look forward to bringing as many Latino voters into the political process as possible in partnership with HelloVote.”
“Our goal is to get as many Care2 members registered to vote as possible, and Hello!Vote is making that so much easier than any other tool we’ve found, said Emily Logan, Director of Acquisition and Retention at Care2. “That ease of use is so important to make sure the barriers for registration are low and that everyone is able to have their voice heard through voting.”
“We are employing every tool available to engage the people who’s lives have been hurt and whose votes have been previously suppressed to make sure that our communities move forward, not backwards, this election season,” said Marisa Franco, director of Mijente. “HelloVote will be a crucial addition to flex the power of the 200,000 new potential voters in the Phoenix area who have come of age since 2012.”
“Neighborhood by neighborhood, and cell phone by cell phone, we’ll fight for more Latinx community participation in voting. HelloVote raises the voices of everyday folks who would otherwise be discouraged from actively participating in our democracy,” said Statement from Matt Nelson, Executive Director, Presente.org. This kind of innovation moves us toward a more just, more democratic country that includes ALL of us—especially our families, friends, and neighbors who are heavily impacted by racial, economic, and gender injustice.”
“It is critical for democracy to get everyone involved in the upcoming election,” said Peter Slutsky of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. We are thrilled to work with HelloVote to help make it as easy as possible for U.S. voters to register and make their voices heard.”
HelloVote is the first chatbot-based tool that allows voters to register over text message or Facebook Messenger in under one minute. HelloVote dramatically improves the user experience of civic participation for millions of mobile-first Americans in collaboration with partners nationwide. Co-created by Tiffiniy Cheng, Jeff Lyon, Josh Levinger, Holmes Wilson, and Elana Berkowitz, HelloVote is a non-partisan 501c3 project of Fight for the Future and the Fight for the Future Education Fund.