Earlier this year, Code for America was connected with the organization Vote.org to identify possible ways that Code for America Brigade volunteers may be able to work with their organization and provide critical assistance to their work.
Vote.org provides voters across the country with accurate and up to date information on how to exercise their right to vote. They build and maintain the Vote.org website and the Vote.org toolset, which provides people with a voter registration tool, an absentee ballot tool, and tool that helps you verify your voter registration. They also reach out to low-propensity voters and encourage them to vote through peer-to-peer SMS outreach, online advertising, and other tactics.
Particularly in the midst of COVID-19, voting information is constantly changing, which can lead to ambiguity and missed opportunities for people to make their vote count. We saw an opportunity to aid Vote.org in ensuring all the links on their website were accurate and up to date with the changing times and new sources of information. We also wanted to help Vote.org in providing new sources of information to voters. In the spring of 2020, we put out a call for volunteers to join the Voter Information Research team to help with these opportunities.
Ten volunteers from across the country joined the Voter Information Team. Team members came from Code for Orlando, Code for Milwaukee, Code for Pittsburgh, Code for Sacramento, Code for Philly, Open Charlotte Brigade, Open Oakland, Code for Boston, and Code for San Jose. They met bi-weekly from May through July, and worked for several hours every week. Over their time on the team, they updated over 40 sources of information on Vote.org’s website. These updates largely fell in the following categories of information:
- State election centers (ex https://www.vote.org/state/california/)
- State-specific voter registration information (ex: https://www.vote.org/register-to-vote/oklahoma/)
- State-specific absentee ballot information (ex: https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/maryland/)
Since June 1, 2020 the pages that the Voter Information Research Team helped update had the following amount of page views:
- State election centers: 800k+
- State-specific voter registration pages: 756k+
- State-specific absentee ballot request pages: 1.67M +
As witnessed in the page views, the resources that the Voter Information Team kept up to date are critical sources of information for voters that millions of people use. Thanks to their hard and able work, many people were/are able to access information for this year’s election. Providing accurate and up to date voting information is key to our principles in furthering efforts of transparency and efficiency when it comes to access to civic information. The Voter Information Research team is another example of how Brigade volunteers can use their skills to contribute to efforts of partner organizations and provide major impact.
*Members of the 2020 Voter Information Team are: Michael Tadesse (Code for Orlando), Heather Klussendorf (Code for Milwaukee), Margeaux Bruner, Devin Golla (Code for Pittsburgh), Scott Clark (Code for Sacramento), Angel Mendoza (Code for Philly), Micah Stewart (Open Charlotte Brigade), Cindy Terdiman (Open Oakland), Benjamin Feifke (Code for Boston), and Andy Le (Code for San Jose)