Analysis

Voters Get Needed Information for March Elections Thanks to VIP

The Voting Information Project (VIP), an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, is a partnership with the states and Google to ensure that Americans have the official information they need to cast a ballot, such as where to vote and what’s on the ballot. During March, VIP provided information for 14 presidential primaries, four statewide primaries, and multiple local elections. Throughout 2016, VIP plans to support 80 elections, including presidential primaries in 31 states.

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.

VIP’s information is also available to voters through its free applications and tools, which the project provides to state and local governments, third-party organizations, voters, and any other interested parties:

  • VIP Voting Information Tool: An easily embeddable, mobile-optimized, customizable tool that provides polling place information, as well as ballot information where available. The tool offers state and local governments, media outlets, and third-party groups a way to provide official election information on their websites. The tool is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.
  • White-label iOS and Android applications: These mobile applications provide polling place information and ballots in English and Spanish. They can be customized, branded, and released by state and local governments, candidates, campaigns, or third-party organizations.
  • SMS tool: Voters can text “VOTE”—or, for Spanish speakers, “VOTO”—to GOVOTE (468-683) to receive polling place hours and locations, contact information for a local election official, and a link to check voter registration status.* The tool is available to all interested organizations at no charge, and voting information is provided in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese. 

* By sending a text message to Pew, you consent to receive voting information via texts from an automated system. This is a free service, but standard text message rates may apply. You may revoke consent by contacting Pew, including by texting STOP.

Amy Cohen is an officer and Bobby Hoffman is a senior associate for election initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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