Every American should have the right to participate in its democracy by voting. The tech industry firmly believes that the right to vote is fundamental to a functioning democracy. Technology gives us the tools to make it easier for everyone to exercise that sacred civic duty. Technological advances are making voting easier, more accessible, and more secure. As this consequential conversation continues, we must look at how to expand use of existing technology tools that can bring legitimate improvements to election processes. Here are some examples:
Twilio provides a platform for organizations like Democracy Works, DoSomething.org, and VoteAmerica to help Americans register to vote and provide information on how to vote using a mail ballot. Among other things, organizations such as these have built apps powered by Twilio to help voters complete, sign, and submit requests for absentee ballots via a mobile device.
Google has also designed tools to help drive voter engagement and awareness. Using data, Google helps developers display information about where and how to vote for communities across the country.
With a focus on first-time voters, Snap, Inc. offers new features, in partnership with TurboVote and BallotReady, helping Snapchatters through every stage of the voting process: registering to vote, learning more about their options, making a plan to vote, and following through. Snap's 2020 engagement was planned well before the pandemic – but with COVID-19 disrupting many in-person voter engagement efforts that usually help young and first-time voters – these mobile-first tools became even more critical.
To help Americans access their voter information, such as polling place hours and location, registration status, and rules for voting in jurisdictions across the country, Facebook created the Voting Information Center. The center is a one-stop shop for customized information about federal, state, and local elections in more than 12 languages. One hundred forty million people visited the resource since it was launched in 2020, with 33 million visiting on Election Day 2020 alone.
And to help ensure the security of elections, Microsoft has created technology that protects peoples’ ability to secure and track their vote via their ElectionGuard technology, which is a free open-source software development kit from their Defending Democracy Program.
In addition to these ongoing efforts, many ITI member companies made tools, resources and technologies available ahead of the 2020 election to make sure that every American could exercise their civic duty.
No technology can, by itself, maintain trust in elections. Our industry remains committed to supporting and encouraging Americans’ civic engagement and making sure all tools empower all eligible Americans to exercise this sacred right without obstruction, fear, or limitation. We urge state and local officials to look to the technology industry as a partner, and a solution, to many of the challenges of running elections.