25 September, 2020

Looking for the closest Voting Center in Texas? Call or text this friendly chatbot.

icon Audio chatbot,chatbot,early voting,text chatbot,Voting,voting centers

Vote centers are an alternative to traditional, neighborhood-based precincts. Voters can cast their ballots at any vote center in the jurisdiction, regardless of their address. - NCSL

Many voters don't know how Vote Centers work and have difficulty finding the closest one which creates long lines. Reclaim Our Vote's new chatbot let's voters call or text "VOTE" to (512) 359-9626 to find their closest vote center by providing their county and zip code.

Reclaim Our Vote

RECLAIM OUR VOTE (ROV) is a project of the Center for Common Ground of Virginia, a 501(c)3 organization. It helps under-served communities get a fair chance to vote as "eligible voters of color are being purged from voter rolls at a much higher rate than white voters.  People in minority communities were already struggling to reach the voting booth in voter-suppression states, due to the implementation of strict new voter ID laws, a reduction in polling places and/or early voting days, and many other tactics."  

ROV created this Texas Voting Center chatbot with help from DemLabs using Twilio software. The chatbot handles both text and voice calls. This helps rural voters without cellular coverage, the elderly who prefer to call rather than text, those with disabilities, poor eyesight to verbally get information on their closest voting center. The chatbot also saves details on callers so that Reclaim Our Vote can follow-up with them for additional voting related help if needed. ROV has sent over a million postcards to Texas encouraging the recipient to call the bot.

Reclaim Our Vote has sent over a million postcards to Texas voters offering them help in finding early voting centers.

Voters are prompted for their COUNTY and Zip code. The chatbot then uses this information to find the closest Vote Center and responds to the voter with the address and the hours when it is open. Reclaim Our Vote maintains the database of Vote Centers and can quickly update it as Vote Centers are moved, closed or the opening hours changed.

SMS Chatbot responds by Text

Reclaim Our Vote's chatbot  helps Texas voters find their closest Voting Center by text.
Reclaim Our Vote maintains a database of Voting Centers which the bot uses.

Audio chatbot responds verbally

Chatbots interface with people by both text messages and voice. Voters can choose whether to call or text the chatbot at (512) 359-9626 and the chatbot responds accordingly. This is how the chatbot deals with an audio call. Here is the voice recording and the transcript.

BOT: I can help find your closest voting location. What is your County.
VOTER: Brazoria.
BOT: Okay, what is your 5-digit zip code?
VOTER: 77541.
BOT: Okay. You said your County is Brazoria and your zip code is 77541. Is that correct? Please say yes or no.
BOT: Okay. You said your County is Brazoria and your zip code is 77541. Is that correct? Please say yes or no.
BOT: Please. Wait. I'm looking up. The information dot the first location is Freeport library and County Brazoria. The address is 4/10 Brazos sport Boulevard in city, Freeport, and zip code is 77541. It is open Monday through Friday from October 13th to October 30 at the end. Thank you for voting. Would you like me to repeat that, please say yes or no?
BOT: Okay. Thanks for calling goodbye.

Vote Centers

Voting Centers let citizens vote near their home, near work or school, or anywhere that is convenient. But often long lines result because people are not aware of the different centers in their vicinity and for several other reasons per the NCSL.
"Voter education — Vote centers can cause confusion if the switch isn't well publicized and explained to the public.
Tradition — The civic experience of voting with neighbors at a local school, church, or other polling place is changed.
Equipment — Vote centers must be able to produce the appropriate ballot for each voter; this requires either touchscreen machines that can be reset for each voter or "print-on-demand" equipment.
Technology — Many jurisdictions first convert to the use of "electronic poll books;" when a voter casts a ballot in one location, it is recorded at all locations via networked computers."

Takeaway: Use chatbot technology to provide voters the information they need - text or voice. Make sure your voter information systems are designed to cope with sudden, last minute changes to polling locations that can disenfranchise voters.


case study image
19 May’ 2024

President Biden’s Insulin Price Cuts: Mapping Where It’s Helping the Most People

The Cost of Insulin Takes Center Stage "President Biden’s policy was a godsend because it enshrines into law that Americans on Medicare, the federal health insurance...

case study image
18 May’ 2024

Why’s it so hard to get homeowner’s insurance? Follow the money!

There are none so blind, as those who will not see. Climate change causes weather disasters. Insurers cannot afford to write policies. Why do Republicans deny...

case study image
14 May’ 2024

NOT ON OUR WATCH: People powered news

‘A Lie Is Halfway Round the World Before the Truth Has Got Its Boots On’ How do you get the facts when much of the media...

case study image
7 May’ 2024

Reach more people with Gamification: Could you be a HANDMAID ENFORCER?

Don't just preach to the choir. Use gamification to reach and engage more people. How do you get your message to people who aren't necessarily interested...

case study image
29 Apr’ 2024

1873 zombie Comstock Act revived for nationwide abortion ban

Salesman turned postal inspector, Comstock restricted what Americans could send by mail in 1873. The Comstock Act is the zombie law that MAGA Christian extremists are...

case study image
25 Apr’ 2024

#JusticeCantWait : Don’t let the Supreme Court Shield Trump from accountability

DONALD TRUMP’S SUPREME COURT ALLIES ARE HELPING HIM RUN OUT THE CLOCK. The Supreme Court can move quickly when it wants to. It took the Supreme...